IBM Adds Informix Data Warehouse Feature to Bolster Database Software

IBM is offering its Informix customers new capabilities to ease the design and deployment of Informix in the data warehouse with visual modeling. While IBM competes in the data warehousing space against companies such as Microsoft, Oracle and Sybase, this move is seen more as an enhancement for existing Informix customers, many of which are already using Informix to meet their data warehousing needs.

IBM is looking to enhance the data warehousing capabilities of Informix Dynamic Server with a new feature aimed at easing design and deployment.

The Informix Warehouse Feature, available now for Informix Dynamic Server 11.5 (IDS), represents an attempt by IBM to address customer concerns around automated tooling for their IDS data warehouses. At the heart of the feature is an integrated warehouse tool that simplifies data warehousing with visual modeling.

"With their operational data already on IDS, the new tools allow [customers] to transform their data into Star Schema for efficient warehouse workloads," said Kevin Brown, IBM Lead Architect for Informix Database. "With this offering, we are providing the necessary tools to make their jobs that much easier."

In the past, Informix customers building warehouse schemas had to create manual scripts and triggers. The new capabilities, however, provide a visual representation of the user's current database design and can be used to transform their data into a star schema without them writing a single line of code.

"This can save weeks of effort into just a few hours," Brown said. "In addition, customers often did without information because of the cost of effort to get the information. The lost opportunity cost savings is harder to quantify, but can be significant once they use their warehouse platform for smarter decision-making."

IBM competes in the data warehousing space with a variety of companies, including rival database vendors Oracle, Microsoft and Teradata. Still, this has less to do with the competition and more with serving their existing IDS customer base, an estimated 40 percent of which uses Informix for data warehousing, Forrester Research analyst James Kobielus said.

"They don't want to distract from their core data warehousing story and solution portfolio, which of course is the InfoSphere portfolio, with the appliances and DB2 at the heart," he said. "I asked them specifically, -is this going to be an InfoSphere balanced warehouse appliance with Informix at the core?' [They said]' no, no, no, it's not like that.'"

While many customers use IDS for their OLTP environment and DB2 as their warehouse, the Informix Warehouse Feature is targeted to customers who prefer to have one DBMS to manage all of their data needs for online transaction processing and warehouse workloads, Brown said.

"Over 40 percent of the Informix customer install base already use their IDS operational data as a warehouse for business decision-making, and many already use IDS for large warehouse workloads," he said. "With the Informix Warehouse Feature, customers can now more easily design and deploy a data warehouse that leverages their existing Informix investment."