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Highlights: Conference survey results
Welcome to the International Informix Users Group (IIUG) Insider! Designed for IIUG members and Informix user group leaders, this publication contains timely and relevant information for the IBM Informix community.
I will be brief. Not that I have nothing to say but heavy workload in my real job left me very little time. It is 2 AM in Israel and I have just finalized the Insider and am ready to send it out. I do hope you will find this newsletter useful. The none US readers will probably find very little time with the world cup finals going on. But if possible, when you watch the games try to remember the RFID data of the games is stored in an Informix database.
The Conference survey results
Many thanks to those who participated in the Conference Survey run last month. We have a whopping 486 responses. That's a fantastic response rate. I personally appreciate the effort 486 of you made.
The purpose of the survey was to:
We ran the survey from the 26th of May to the 25th of June. It was advertised once in the "Insider" and we also did two email reminders.
A full report on the survey will be available at http://www.iiug.org/survey/results/conference.html. However I have summarized the key points below.
The demographics of the respondents
58% of respondents describe themselves as being Programmers and or DBAs. 11% have executive responsibilities. 18% have IS management roles.
About 30% work for companies which employee between 100 and 999 people. 36% work for companies employing over 1000 people. 15% work for companies employing between 10 and 99 emp0loyees with 13% working for companies employing less that 10 people. The balance either work for IBM or do "other".
61% of respondents consider themselves as Informix end users.
About the Tampa Informix conference
60 respondents said that they attended the Tampa conference. 426 did not.
When asked about the intellectual value of the conference, 21 said that they got great value, 28 thought the conference was good value, 1 thought it was OK and a further 3 were a bit disappointed.
When asked about value for money, 7 said it was cheap considering the benefit they got, 30 thought the conference value was fair, 13 felt it was a bit expensive and 3 thought it was very expensive for the benefit they got.
Respondents who did not attend the conference were asked for the main reason for their non-attendance. The reasons are:
Respondents who said that the date was unsuitable were asked for an alternative month. There were no clear winners (October and July being the favorites) and no obvious correlation with their physical work location. Even so, if the dates are more suitable it does not mean that the respondents will definitely turn up to a conference.
Respondents who said that the location was unsuitable (96) were asked for alternatives. There was a very strong correlation between physical working location and preferred conference location. 55 respondents selected Europe. However, even if the conference is held in the right location 54% still feel that the conference fee is a deterrent followed by 16% who feel that their company will still not pay for them to attend.
Unsurprisingly, 75% of the 57 respondents who were deterred by the conference fee, selected the range of $500 - $999 as a reasonable price for a 4 day technical event. 19% selected between $1000 and $1299 for such an event. However, even if the conference is priced at their selection, only 14% would still go. Most respondents are still restricted by lack of financial support by their company and the conference location.
For conference planners there is a very clear message that technical training sessions are the most popular event at an Informix conference. When asked to choose the most important. 56% also selected the technical sessions. The full list is as follows:
If you go to the next Informix conference please check all the events that you believe you would personally attend.
Respondents were asked to check their interest in a list of non-Informix topics. "The Linux operating system" was selected by 52% of respondents with "Operating Informix in a highly heterogeneous platform environment" coming second with 39% of the vote. The full list is as follows
A few questions about IIUG
Respondents were asked to check which of the IIUG programs listed below, they use.
When questioning specifically about the Insider, 44% said it is very useful but 32% do not know what the "Insider" is. Helloooo???
Finally, 188 of you supplied your email address so that the IIUG Conference planning team could bounce ideas of you in the future. Thank you very much. Prepare to be bounced. :).
This summary of the conference survey is not complete. In particular we asked for, and got, many written comments about the Tampa conference (and yes... the food wasn't that great), lots of feedback on why you do/may/can not attend conferences and suggestions for conference topics.
Where to now? This survey will be used by Cindy Lichtenauer, Paul Watson and Gary Ben Israel. These three are primarily involved in managing the IIUG conference planning activities in Europe and North America. Your feedback on why you did and didn't attend the Tampa conference is invaluable. Cindy is also keen to review the data to help LUG's better plan topics that are relevant to our members.
However the survey should also have a wider use. This survey reflects some of the very real concerns that members have about Informix, and it's relevance to them as individuals operating in the Information Technology sector. You should think hard about the value of conferences and they role they play in instructing, advising and developing your future.
Please feel free to ask me questions about the results. I will reply, as best I can, to your email and also post the response in the http://www.iiug.org/forums/informix-forum/
IDUG/IIUG Europe Conference Vienna, October 2-6, 2006
Due to circumstances beyond IIUG's control, IDUG 2006 - Europe will now take place 2-6 October at the Hilton Vienna in Vienna, Austria. IIUG regrets any inconvenience this relocation may cause, and looks forward to delivering an exceptional conference and attendee experience in Vienna this fall. Continue to visit the IDUG Web site for the latest program information as it is determined.
Win a Free IDUG 2006 - Europe Registration!
Win a FREE full registration to attend IDUG 2006 Europe which will be held in Vienna, Austria from 2-6 October - an estimated value of nearly EUR 1500 (note: travel and accommodation costs are the responsibility of the winner). This prize is transferable to a colleague if the winner is unable to attend. Fill out the online form by 7 September or click here for complete rules and regulations.
Just Announced! The schedule grid for IDUG 2006 - Europe is now available.
Use the schedule grid to view the complete conference schedule and to review session abstracts. Customize your personal itinerary by choosing the topics and sessions that best fit your needs.
Visit the IDUG 2006 - Europe blog for continued conversation and feedback on this exceptional event.
Mark your calendars. This is a conference you must attend.
Cheers, Paul Watson and Gary Ben-Israel IIUG Europe Conference Planning Committee IIUG Board of DirectorsConference Revisited - Ask The Experts
By June Hunt & Kate Tomchik
One of the most popular sessions at any Informix content conference is the "Ask The Experts" session. What other opportunity does one have to ask an Informix Technical or Marketing question to the people who can really give you the true scoop! Of course, there were a few questions where the Experts weren't allowed to say (such as what new features are going in the next release) but in general the information was great as always.
Here is the meeting documented for your information. If you find something was recorded incorrectly, or that is missing, we apologize! We would like to thank David Fraser and Paul Watson of the IIUG BOD for running the session.
Question about the development cycle to Jonathan Leffler. How can one influence new features to get into the product?
Jonathan Leffler responds:
Madison Pruet adds:
Tell us about regression tests on new features.
Art Kagel & Jonathan Leffler:
How can we get tech support to escalate issues that don't seem to be handled "fast enough"?
John Miller III:
My sales representative never calls - what should I do about it?
Group Question: What v10 features do you like?
What's in v10.5?
How can I best take advantage of extensibility?
Is there any other way to alarm the DBA via email or page about dropping a view or table without turning on the very resource-costly audit feature?
Jacques Roy and Jonathan Leffler:
John Miller III:
Madison Pruet: (question to audience) How many people would be able to take advantage of a log analyzer?
Many hands showed.
Why shouldn't we move to another database?
Art Kagel: performance (Informix always works and gets the job done.)
Madison Pruet: cool stuff coming out
John Miller III: availability
Jonathan Leffler: platforms, history (stability)
Jacques Roy: easy to manage and extensibility
Carlton Doe: stability and flexibility
Art Kagel: Those of you who work with other databases, how many prefer the others? (no hands went up)
Question regarding the 710 error occurrences, features that are available on-line will show this error, i.e. sysprocplan lock. What is being done about this?
John Miller III:
Which onstat is the best to use to provide transaction counts?
John Miller III - & Art Kagel:
Future enhancement - why can't we have multiple buffer pools of the same size?
John Miller III: Explain why this feature would be needed or how it could be used?
Are there examples of performance gains using increased page sizes or chunks?
John Miller: Has anyone seen gains in a real-world example?
From the floor:
Why is the size of the installs so large? If we delete the parts we don't need, will it still be supported?
There were a number of new features requested during this presentation. The IIUG BOD would like to have a survey later this year to get the users feedback on which new features are the most important. If you have any recommendations for new features, add them to the vNext feature list mentioned that is available on the web site, or email your requests to email@example.com.Just MOMENTS left to save $400 on the Information on Demand 2006 Global Conference!
Time is running out for you to take advantage of the deepest discount available on the upcoming IBM Information on Demand 2006 Global Conference. The URL below is set to expire at the end of June. Enter Promotion Code "DKU23" under the "Company Information" section of the enrollment form and receive $400 off! IBM is planning over 75 Informix technical sessions, including several customer-led presentations on Informix success stories. You won't want to miss this event! Register now!
Handy hints for SIG users
Want to avoid getting lots of emails every day from the forums you have subscribed to? The answer is simple. Just log in to the Member Area at http://www.iiug.org.
Then click on "Subscribe to Email Lists" and check the box titled "Digest". Now you will only get one email per day for each forum you are subscribed to. This email will list all the traffic in the forum for the past 24 hours. Simple, but effective.
BTW. Have you used the IIUG RSS feeds to track the discussions in the SIG's. This is very cool. To set up an RSS feed just point you RSS reader to http://www.iiug.org/rss/
Also... Have you been into the Informix-forum lately? If not, then go and have a quick look. The link is http://www.iiug.org/forums/informix-forum/. There has been some spirited debate recently about possible new features for Informix IDS. Are you interested in, or hate the idea of, unstructured native XML support in Informix???? Then register your support or abhorrence.
Have your say about what you think is really important or just plain dumb with our list of Informix new features. This list has been gleaned by Kate Tomchik from David William's list, Eric Hubers list, and some other places (which I am too delicate to mention).
The survey lists the suggestions and asks you to rank them. You can even add further suggestions. It is really simple and will take you less than 3 minutes.
The survey will only be open for a short time, so don't mess around. DO THE SURVEY NOW. CLICK HERE
Chat with the Lab
Informix Chat with the Labs for July -- IDS in an SOA environment
Wondering how to use Informix as a data service and make your IDS applications work within a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) environment? Join us on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 to find out! Learn how to use IDS in a successful SOA deployment, as a service provider and consumer, as well as how to convert a 4GL application for web services. Our speakers are Jerry Keesee, DIrector of the Informix Lab and Alexander Koerner, Informix and Informix/SOA Integration. You may RSVP for this event and listen to replays of prior chats at the URL below:NEW! Informix Chat with the Labs Live for Asia Pacific! IDS 10
Have you heard the latest?
The Informix Chat with the Labs series is expanding to serve our customers and IBM Business Partners in Asia Pacific! Dial in for the first event on July 6, 2006 to learn from our senior developers about the latest features delivered in xC1-xC5 since the initial release of IDS 10, including the performance features implemented to support the successful Baan benchmark. Join this chat to learn about these capabilities as well as to review the steps to migrate your applications to IDS 10. To register and download the charts, please visit:International EGL User Conference
Register today for the 2006 International EGL User Conference - August 1-2
The 2006 International EGL User Conference will be held August 1 - 2 at the beautiful campus of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill - Kenan Flagler Business School. This year's conference offers a variety of technical product sessions, customer testimonials, product demonstrations and much more to show the breadth and depth of this powerful technology. Seating is limited so please register early! The conference web site with full details and registration can be found at:
IBM and Zend partner to deliver certified PHP support for IDS
IDS 10 is now enabled to support PHP, the fastest growing technology for building dynamic Web applications. IBM has partnered with Zend to deliver Zend Core for IBM, the first and only certified PHP development and production environment that includes tight integration with Informix Dynamic Server (IDS). Visit the new PHP page on the Informix website for more information about this offering and for links to key IDS/PHP resources on the Web.Fuzzy Checkpoints and V10
The fuzzy checkpoint feature of IDS can help reduce checkpoint duration, but may also increase the time required for fast recovery should fast recovery be required. In IDS v10.00, two new configuration parameters were added to help reduce effect of fuzzy checkpoint feature on the time required for fast recovery.
The FAST_RESTART_PHYSLOG and the FAST_RESTART_CKPT_FUZZYLOG parameters can be used together, or independently when using fuzzy checkpoints. One or both parameters can be enabled by setting them to 1 in the onconfig file. Enabling either of the parameters only takes effect when the database server is started and reaches online mode, affecting any subsequent fast recovery.
The parameters do not affect behaviour when fuzzy checkpoints are not enabled.
Fast recovery involves two phases: physical recovery and logical recovery. During physical recovery, pages are read from the physical log file into the buffer pool using large block sequential I/O. During logical recovery, log records are read from the logical log files and applied to pages in the buffer pool. If a page is not already in the buffer pool, the logical recovery stalls waiting for the page to be read from disk using random I/O.
The FAST_RESTART_PHYSLOG parameter enables physical logging on fuzzy operations (insert, update, and delete), so that before-images are stored in physical log. During fast recovery, these pages are loaded into the buffer pool with large block, sequential I/O during the physical recovery phase. When the database server replays the log records that modify these pages, if the pages are still cached in the buffer pool, and random I/O to read in the pages is avoided.
During a fuzzy checkpoint, the fuzzy dirty pages still remain un-flushed, so checkpoint duration is still reduced. There is, however, a run-time overhead of the extra physical logging.
All pages modified by non-fuzzy operations are flushed to disk during a fuzzy checkpoint. So for non-fuzzy operations, the logical phase of fast recovery need only start replaying log records after the last checkpoint record in the logical log files.
Pages modified by fuzzy operations (insert, update, delete to data pages in logged databases) are NOT flushed to disk during a fuzzy checkpoint. So for fuzzy operations, the logical phase of fast recovery may need to start replaying log records from before the last checkpoint record.
The database server keeps track of where fast recovery should start (the oldest log record for a non-flushed fuzzy page) and records the information on the checkpoint pages of the root dbspace reserved pages.
The FAST_RESTART_CKPT_FUZZYLOG parameter enables saving all unflushed fuzzy dirty pages into the physical log file at the end of a checkpoint, after the logical clearing of the physical log file. Flushing the pages to the physical log (using large block sequential I/O) is faster than flushing the pages back to their disk location, so checkpoint duration is still less than for a full checkpoint. If the total number of unflushed, fuzzy dirty pages exceeds 20 percent of the total physical log space, the pages will not be written to the physical log and no improvement in fast recovery time would be achieved.
During the physical phase of fast recovery, these dirty pages are loaded into the buffer pool using large block sequential I/O, avoiding random I/O to read the pages in. In addition, the logical recovery phase can now start replaying log records after the last checkpoint record in the logical logs for both non-fuzzy AND fuzzy operations. This means that recovering log records from before the last fuzzy checkpoint is avoided during the fast recovery.
Note: Only use the FAST_RESTART_PHYSLOG parameter if the buffer pool is at least 25 percent larger than the physical buffer size. The buffer pool must be large enough to hold the physical log, log pages, and other pages read during recovery. If the buffer pool is not configured correctly, fast recovery performance is compromised. The extra physical logging that occurs when the database server uses the FAST_RESTART_PHYSLOG parameter affects runtime performance.
If you do not want to sacrifice runtime performance or if you do not want to increase the buffer size, use the FAST_RESTART_CKPT_FUZZYLOG parameter to reduce some recovery time.IDS on Windows Series: Installing IDS on XP
The following article, we will review the installation process of Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) v10.00, v9.40 and v9.30 on Windows XP.
In response to your input, we have created a page on the IIUG web site containing all the links we used to include. Please find it at: http://www.iiug.org/quicklinks.html
The International Informix Users Group (IIUG) is an organization designed to enhance communications between its worldwide user community and IBM. IIUG's membership database now exceeds 25,000 entries and enjoys the support and commitment of IBM's Data Management division. Key programs include local user groups and special interest groups, which we promote and assist from launch through growth.
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