Friday, October 31, 2008

11.50.xC3: another pack of features...

IBM has just made available IDS 11.50.xC3. Traditionally, fix packs include bug fixes and eventually some minor improvements. I believe the concept of "minor" may have to be revised when it comes to IDS fix packs. Let's see what the good fellows of R&D decided to put into this release:

  • MAX OS X improvements:
    • Silent installation
    • Ability to create Data Source Names (DSN)
  • Enterprise Replication improvements:
    • Dynamically change Enterprise Replication (ER) configuration parameters in the Onconfig file
      We can now do this using commands like cdr add onconfig, cdr change onconfig, and cdr remove onconfig
    • Improved Consistency Reporting after Enterprise Replication Repair Operations
      The repair jobs have an option that forces the retrying if inconsistencies are found at the end of the jobs
    • Administering and Monitoring Enterprise Replication with SQL Admin API
      The SQL admin now allows us to run cdr commands through SQL
  • Ability to change ONCONFIG parameters with SQL Admin API
    SET ONCONFIG for session change and SET ONCONFIG PERMANENT for Onconfig and session change (session here means the current instance configuration and not client session)
  • Three new dynamically changeable ONCONFIG parameters:
  • Improved SQL Tracing with the SQL Admin API
    From now on we can define which databases, sessions and users will be traced. This gives higher control on the SQL tracing facility. We can also suspend and resume the SQL tracing (without loosing previously set specifications)
  • Changing the Size definition of the First Extent of a Table
    Now we can establish a new definition for the first extent size of a table. Note that this will not change it's physical layout. It will be used if you extract the table schema, rebuild the table (by specifying a new fragmentation clause) or if you truncate the table with the reuse clause
  • Implementation of SAVEPOINTs
    SAVEPOINTS are an SQL standard that allows the programmer to establish some points after the begin of a transaction to where he can ROLLBACK. Imagine that you're running a batch file, processing several customers in a FOREACH cycle. You may want to do all the customers as a unit, so you would COMMIT at the end. But also consider you want to do several DML operations for each customer and that you accept that you can skip a customer, but not one or more operations within a customer. To put it simpler, if one operation on a customer fails you want to skip it, but continue with the transaction. With this feature it's possible. You just have to set a SAVEPOINT after each customer. If something goes wrong in the next customer, you can ROLLBACK WORK TO SAVEPOINT and continue with the next customer (maintaining your main transaction open).
  • Basic Text Search DataBlade Module Supports High-Availability Clusters
    In previous versions, the indexes created by the BTS needed to be created in external dbapces. This would mean that you couldn't use BTS searches on secondary nodes unless you used some (officially unsupported) external way of synchronizing these external spaces within the cluster hosts. Now, you can create these indexes in smart blob spaces, which can be logged, and thus can be replicated to all the cluster nodes
  • Querying XML Attributes with the Basic Text DataBlade Module
    BTS now supports another index creation parameter that specifies that the XML attributes (on XML tags) should be indexed (and thus become available for searches)
  • Setting the Frequency of Error Checking for Smart Large Object Transmission
    A new environment variable called IFX_LOB_XFERSIZE was introduced to specify the interval (in bytes) that will trigger error checking for SLOBs. After this amount of bytes the data will be checked for transmission error (between client and the database server). If it finds any errors it aborts with an error. Without this variable the checking is made only after the end of the transmission
A final note to the IDS Information Center. It now contains three new features:
  • An RSS feed with updates to the Information Center
  • Search engine add-ons for browsers, so that you can directly search on IBM Informix Information Center for your specific version
  • An extended section with links for community sites. This includes forums, general sites, wikis and blogs about Informix. The Informix-Techonology blog is one of the additions to this list. I face this as an honor and a great responsibility. It's also a great incentive to keep the work that I started more than one year ago.
I keep repeating myself about this idea: The IBM Informix team (management, architects, developers etc.) is doing a terrific job improving IDS while maintaining the ease of administration, reliability and performance we all know and love! With new features come some complexity increase, but that doesn't mean the product has to be slower, harder to manage or more unstable.
I look forward to the next release/fix pack which I bet will bring some more great improvements!

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