Best of breed for critical production environments, and IOT infras from top to bottom
March 13, 2018

Best of breed for critical production environments, and IOT infras from top to bottom

Eric Vercelletto | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with IBM Informix

I assist several companies using Informix, which are in different sectors. Some use exclusively Informix, others use Informix for their most critical applications. Most appreciated characteristics of Informix are: robustness or near zero downtime, capacity to scale horizontally and vertically, simplicity and low cost of administration, and ultimately the capacity to handle on the same engine structured SQL data with unstructured NoSQL data, MongoDB style.

  • Informix is very stable. It has stayed up and running for years. The only downtimes we had were due to planned power outages. This is a mandatory quality required in a industrial environment.
  • Informix has a very rich and extended replication system that allows many useful functionalities:
  • High Availability
  • Tables or part of tables replication, both ways
  • Replication patterns like 1 to many servers and sharing storage between 2 servers
  • All these replication techniques can be combined together and we love the simplicity of their set up.
  • Informix has been featuring NoSQL datatype ( JSON/BSON) for almost 5 years now, including the NoSQL MongoDB style language.
  • Once you have loaded your MongoDBdata into Informix, you can run any application compatible with the MongoDB 3.0 stack
  • The biggest advantage of this solution is that you can execute joins with SQL Structured tables and NoSQL collections alltogether, either in SQL language or in NoSQL language.
  • I heard recently that Informix is available on AWS, with a very wide range of configurations from very small to very big. This is something we would like to look at
  • Informix runs on gateway devices, like for instance Raspberry PI / Arm based nano computer or Intel Quark based. This is the same product that works on bigger platforms, including the replication architecture that makes IOT applications much easier to develop and maintain.
  • Informix is also directly accessible thru the REST protocol, with is a great asset for IOT applications, based on Node JS, Python, running on nanocomputers. This makes those applications much tinier in terms of resource comsumption, as well as efficient.
  • The name of Informix is almost invisible on the market, which is very frustrating. This give the feeling that IBM is not interested in Informix without providing any reasons for why IBM makes no effort to sell Informix.
  • The pricing policy is very complex
  • Although I do not own nor have visibility on my company's figures:
  • Informix generates consistent savings on DBA staffing, no need for many DBAs as other DBMS require.
  • The replication architecture allowed consistent savings in the infrastructure as well as developments and maintenance, the job is already done, no need to develop complex and costly solutions, it's just a matter of configuring it.
  • The advantages of hybrid development (i.e mixing SQL and NoSQL in the same database) is not just a marketing hype: it allowed us to solve with a brilliant solution, in one afternoon of coding, a functional problem we have been having for more than 10 years!
  • The biggest drawback is that IBM pricing may be constraining, it has too important gaps between the mid range and highrange in terms of pricing
  • Informix vs. Oracle: although both products are real enterprise-class DBMS, satisfying robustness and scalability criteria, Informix is much more easy and simple to admin. It requires much fewer resources in terms of DBA staffing for an equivalent infrastructure on Oracle. Also, we have noticed that Informix consumes noticeably less hardware resource than Oracle for an identical level of performance. This is probably due to the Informix real-multithread architecture.
  • Informix vs. MS SQL Server: we do not consider Microsoft as a reliable platform for a database server, at least for critical service
  • Informix vs. PostgreSQL: PostgreSQL is a great product: it seems to scale nicely, very rich in terms of SQL language, has a nice implementation of NoSQL too. Nonetheless, we have doubts about the ease of version upgrading, an operation that generally takes less than 2 minutes with Informix, even on production systems. Also, it seems that the replication architecture is not as clear nor complete as Informix' replication, probably due to the fact of not having a unique software architect. We like to have a unique contact for the product maintenance and not a community.
Those criteria [helped] us to keep Informix as the preferred DBMS, despite many people around totally ignore it. What a waste!
Great for:
  • demanding industrial automation processing
  • infrastructures required complex replication schemas, with servers located on different places/regions/countries
  • Applications intensively using timestamp and or geospatial
  • Simplifying DBMS by using at the same time SQL and NoSQL, needless to use separately RDBMS and NoSQL DBMS
  • Amazingly low requirements for DBA staff, in general, Informix is good for companies who like simplicity and efficiency
Less appropriate for:
  • Informix being a pay-for solution, it may not be recommended for companies who do not want to spend money for a DBMS,
  • Also Informix is not good for companies who refuse to consider anything than the top 5