An Open Letter to Craig S. Mullins

In a blog post, you made the following assertion:

Informix, which was purchased by IBM, is still being maintained and marketed, but DB2 is obviously IBM's primary DBMS so I personally would not choose it for new work.

Craig, I have to disagree with your choice and correct you about "IBM's obvious primary DBMS". IBM has a different database strategy than you are portraying. It is no longer the strategy to lead with DB2 wherever possible, it is now the strategy to find which of IBM's database offerings best matches the customer's requirements.

Informix is not only being enhanced dramatically (for example with MACH11) and actively marketed, but new customers are choosing Informix for its incredible scalibility, performance and low maintenance every day. Over 200 new ISV's have signed up with Informix this year along with hundreds of significant new customers. Revenue growth has been eye-watering for the last 11 quarters.

This by no means denigrates DB2, which is an excellent database with a loyal and active user community and great sales; but to dismiss Informix out of hand for such a cursroy and invalid reason could prevent someone from making a business decision that could save them serious money while providing major competitive technology advantages.

Have a look at how long it takes to set up a 4-way SDS cluster and then compare it with how long it takes to set up something similar from another vendor. Compare the ease of maintaining these and coding for them.

Have a look at achieving the same transaction throughput on SMP as a popular alternative on half the hardware with half the energy costs.

Now tell me that you wouldn't consider Informix seriously.

Re: An Open Letter to Craig S. Mullins


thank you for bringing this up on The Informix Zone and your substantive answers on this issue.
I wrote a comment to Craig's blog that describes my view on this:



please bring yourself up to date regarding IBM's database strategy. There is no primary or flagship DBMS anymore. DB2 and IDS (Informix Dynamic Server) are ranked equally and IBM recommends the one or the other depending on the customer needs.

Please read the open letter to you which has been published on The Informix Zone:

I won't repeat everything here what is already said there. Just a few notes on your statements:

"For Unix and Linux installations, your choices are Oracle and DB2. Oracle is the market leader on those platforms, though IBM has a nice presence there, too."

Yes, IBM has a nice presence in the Unix/Linux market. But guess why IBM has this presence ? IDS is the engine of growth in IBM's distributed database business and consecutively achieved very high growth rates during the last three years. If IBM would publish separate numbers for DB2 LUW and IDS, you would probably be surprised. But they don't publish separate numbers. Probably not without reason :-)

"For your very high availability needs go with the mainframe if you have one. After that, it is Linux and Unix... then Windows."

I agree with you regarding the mainframe. But you (should) know that DB2 (z/OS) isn't DB2 (LUW). If high availability is a requirement, IDS and the MACH11 technology is far ahead of what DB2 LUW offers. The DB2 LUW HADR concept has been taken over from Informix which has has this technology (Informix HDR) build into the engine since 1994 (IDS 6.0). And with IDS you can even use your secondary to offload complex SQL queries and reports from your primary instance. But IDS MACH11 goes far beyond this with multiple cluster nodes that could maintain their own synchronized copy or share the data with the primary thru a shared disk environment. All nodes could be used for read and write access and a connection manager performs load balancing and automatic failover.
So if you have very high availability needs, IDS is IBM's database of choice.
You can read more about the MACH11 technology here:

"Look at the total cost of ownership of the DBMS. TCO should be calculated as a combination of the license cost of the DBMS, the license cost of any required supporting software (and hardware), the cost of database professionals to program, support and administer the DBMS, and the cost of the computing resources required to operate the DBMS."

IDS is well known for it's exceptional low TCO. You might have already heard of this very very large retailer that run's about 12.000 distributed IDS instances with only 6 DBA's. There are many more examples where IDS has proved it's very low TCO as well as it's extremely efficient use of computing resources due to it's superior multithreading technology.

"Also, try to factor in the reliability of the total package in terms of downtime - and factor in expected losses due to downtime if at all possible."

Please read what real DBA's - not any sponsored analysts - have to say about the reliability of IDS:

And last not least IDS has achieved the highest customer satisfaction in a recent survey:

I don't know what others think, but I would strongly consider IBM Informix Dynamic Server for new work.