Informix gears up to extend data management capabilities

Database vendor Informix is gearing up to extend its data management capabilities to a range of databases from rival vendors.

Informix' Australian and New Zealand technical director, John MacLeod said the vendor was beta-testing the extended version of a tool designed to allow relational online analytical processing (ROLAP) against a database, to include support for recent Oracle database offerings.

The extension to the existing Metacube ROLAP tool, currently in beta-test worldwide, is due to be made available globally from December.

MacLeod said support would be extended to other databases. He declined to comment on which. However, likely candidates are key rivals to the Informix core database offerings, such as Sybase Adaptive Server and Microsoft SQL Server.

MacLeod said the move would deliver to Informix access to the Oracle client base in Australia.

"The approach for Oracle, if you perform OLAP analysis, is to use the Oracle Express Engine.

"The Metacube tool allows direct OLAP analysis against the core Informix or Oracle database engine.

"The Oracle Express Engine has limited scalability when compared to the Oracle database engine or the Informix database engine and Metacube allows you to exploit the scalability of these."

"The world is not totally Informix so, pragmatically, we have some skills that can be applied to other database offerings and we understand data management.

"Data management is broader than simply a database engine and this illustrates Informix applying its data management skills to encompass competing databases."

His comments preceded the formal local launch of the Informix Decision Frontier Solution Suite last Thursday.

The solution incorporates the Informix database engine, the InfoMover extraction, transformation and loading tool, the Metacube tool and the Seagate Crystal Info reporting tool.

"Part of the problem in data warehousing is the requirement [by clients] to go to a number of suppliers to get the tools they need," MacLeod said.

"We offer complete packaging - the complete end-to-end components for data warehousing."

He said Ardent Software's recent launch of a package to integrate the meta data from each of the components of the solution delivered a single unified view of the meta data to the data warehouse user. "This meta data information is coming from a variety of sources, in different formats and the Ardent initiative is to integrate these sources."

The final component of the suite is a four-to-five week Fast Start program, which allows companies to kick-start their data warehousing projects.

MacLeod conceded that while Informix' mindshare in data warehousing was good at the high end of the enterprise market space - "where people look at highly scalable solutions on open systems" - it needed to improve "in terms of visibility in the medium-to-low end".

He also said that, on completion of the anticipated acquisition of data warehousing specialist Red Brick systems, "we'll be integrating their tools and technology into the Frontier Suite.

"We're also looking to use their considerable skills in data warehousing implementations to increase our presence in the data warehousing market."

The Informix Decision Frontier Solution Suite is available now.

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