Informix Warehouse Accelerator - Speed is everything

IBM announced the new Informix Warehouse Accelerator today. The product holds the data in a compressed column format in main memory and achieves query response times that are much faster then those of traditional data warehouses. Beta customers have reported query speedups from 30x through 1000x depending on the data and the type of query.

But the best thing is: IWA is absolutely transparent to the application. There are no application changes needed to leverage the new technology. As before the application connects to IDS and the IDS query optimizer decides if the query is executed traditionally by IDS or delegated to the IWA. The only thing needed is a special environment setting:

SET ENVIRONMENT use_dwa '1';

This could be done for example in the sysdbopen() procedure which is triggered automatically by IDS as soon as a connection to this database is made. So the application code does not need to be touched.

Beside the enormous speed improvements, IWA does also deliver enormous cost savings in terms of adminstration:

  • NO index maintenance
  • NO time consuming statistics maintenance
  • NO storage allocation
  • NO partitioning strategy
  • NO cubes or summary tables

I've been part of the IWA beta program and tested the software in the Amazon Cloud. The great thing from my point of view about IWA is:

It doesn't depend on dedicated hardware components !

All that is needed is a 64-Bit-Linux machine (with a big RAM) where the IWA is running on. You could buy such a machine or simply rent one in the cloud. The IDS instance could be on the same machine or on another 64-Bit Linux, AIX, Solaris or HP/UX machine.

The consequent focusing on software-based solutions in Informix as with HDR, ER, MACH11, Flexible Grid and now IWA makes Informix the perfect database choice in the cloud. With the new IWA you could run both - OLTP and Data Warehousing - in a single databaseserver. There is no other mature database on the market that offers the same flexibility as Informix. For example you can't build an Oracle RAC or a DB2 pureScale architecture in the Amazon Cloud as they rely on expensive hardware componentes (Infiniband Switches). With Informix it is possible because - with the exception of SDS (Shared Disk Secondaries) - HDR, ER, MACH11, Flexible Grid and IWA could be fully utilized in the Cloud and combined together to build a scalable, fail-safe hybrid database architecure for OLTP and Data Warehousing.

This is a great advantage for Informix. Paired with the easy administration, the great scalability and reliability it makes Informix IBM's flagship database offering for the future of IT: Cloud Computing !

Back to IWA. There is a new product bundle called the Informix Ultimated Warehouse Edition. It includes IDS 11.70, the Informix Warehouse Accelerator and the Storage Optimization Feature (aka "Compression). So you don't have to pay for "Compression" separately as with the traditional Informix Ultimate Edition.

Below you'll find links to more information about the new IWA: