The Basal Stone.
Andrés Repossi | TrustRadius Reviewer
Updated March 14, 2018

The Basal Stone.

Score 10 out of 10
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Overall Satisfaction with IBM Informix

I used Informix in my past job. I was the Informix company's referent within the company. Informix was the main engine, and at the time I had started working there in 2004, it was one of the largest Informix DBs in the UK.

Informix was very stable, robust, reliable and with great performance, this is why it was the main platform. In the DB farm, Informix had the highest uptime, with the lowest outages, even planned ones were very short. In addition to Informix we were using Oracle/SQLSvr and MySQL. It had the least number of technical issues, and never had to be patched due to the quarterly received vulnerability patching report (Please check this Patching Vulnerability Analysis in my Blog, it is in Spanish, but nowadays can be easily translated to any language.

In terms of business problems, Informix always suffered from the lack of and emptiness of marketing and very bad management, to the point, to make many people think that Informix was a dead or became an old engine! Now with the latest agreement between IBM and HCL, we hope this could change for better and improve in the following years.
  • Informix since its conception has a distinct multi-threading architecture no other engine has, it is unique of its kind. This is precisely how the engine is able to scale up like no other, with the lowest footprint, without killing the host and profiting each bit of the hardware. The threads are sub-proceses like any other one, but the difference is that they are are not controlled by the OS process dispatcher. This is why you will never be able to see these threads running at OS level. Informix is an OS itself, on top of the OS.
  • Informix has the best replication techniques. Not many ppl know that MongoDB (the NoSQL engine) scales out because of its data sharding replication technology, and Informix is able to store Mongo BSON documents using the same data partitioning as MongoDB does. This way Informix extends the SQL or structured data with the unstructured data natively, together within the same data repository. This means that it is not only able to store JSON/BSON documents, but the engine is able to behave as it would be the MongoDB engine itself. Any application using MongoDB can be redirected to the Informix Mongo wire listener transparently. What´s more, it also improves the NoSQL (BASE) characteristic, making it ACID by allowing transactions to the CRUD operations. This last is something MongoDB is working on, promised to be delivered next year.
  • As described previously, MongoDB's sharding concept relies on data partitioning, this is how it scales out, and as I also described previously Informix scales up given the described multithreading unique architecture! It implements the data sharding with one of its best replication technologies called Enterprise Replication. This is an Active-Active replication technology that allows replicating even between different platforms. This is actually how I managed to migrate the whole Informix platform from Solaris to Linux, with just a DNS change. There was almost ZERO downtime nor application change - this was really amazing!.
  • It is very difficult to find a missing functionality in Informix, technically is great. I will again criticize the business side and how it has been managed over the past, I hope this could be improved with HCL's help. I know they are working hard, but we need to start letting the world know and revert their concept about its existence and that it is one of the best competitors within the data treatment, in the market. We need to start telling the world about success cases and stories showing this and backing up its strong technology.
  • As I have explained earlier, Informix has had along the past 15 years, the lowest number of vulnerability defects reported in NVD. Informix allows you to disregard the vulnerability defects, and spend your time building and growing your business instead of wasting it in patching and fixing every quarter! This to me is the best example I can empirically prove that Informix is definitely one of the best return of investment and so that any CDO or CIO should pay attention at the time to consider what platform to chose, to build on top!
  • The other return of investment any CDO or CIO should pay attention to, is the number of DBAs a DB platform should be required to support it! Informix with the SELF-everything, is getting chosen by companies as the best suited engine given its low footprint and little maintenance to get it embedded in their hardware.
  • Given its uptime and minimum planned outages Informix allows you to have, it is yet another reason Informix is not means an investment and not a money waste!
As a DB Team Leader I have been looking after other platforms (SQLSvr, MySQL, Oracle and PostgreSQL), supporting application changes, and driving their platforms enhancements through lots of projects over many years. The more I have learnt from other platforms, the more I found Informix as the easiest and most convenient platform to administer and implement.
I never had the chance to decide over the DB platform, but if I had to, no doubt I would seriously consider it. After all I have explained about its characteristics, I can definitely say that Informix has the lowest cost ownership, and it is the best one suited and prepared for the current and future challenges.
Informix is very well suited for either OLTP and OLAP transaction processing. This means that it has the best technology, concentrating both business requirements: transactional and analytical processing at the same time, as well as being able to store and process structured and unstructured data at the same time as well, and able to scale up and out if needed or required.

This is why Informix is able to adapt to almost any sort of environment and satisfy almost any sort of requirement, even if the requirement is to be embedded in hardware! This last is possible because it it requires zero support and maintenance, as it can be self tuned and self healed. One of the main scenarios which is nowadays getting promoted for is the IoT one. Starting from mid 90's Informix incorporated the extensibility concept through the datablades it had brought from Illustra. This is why it is pioneer in the TimeSeries and GeoSpatial (tracking moving objects) technology, with the fastest and best storing TimeSeries techniques and GeoSpatial functionalities. The Wire Listener is one of the best features Informix has introduced to its suit of functionalities, can work in three different scenarios API types: MQTT, REST and MONGO, supporting IoT, MongoDB (an application using MongoDB can be redirected as it is to Informix-Mongo without changes) and able to understand HTTP functions (POST, GET, PUT, etc).