Feeling Your Informix OATs: Part 1

Explore the web-based OpenAdmin Tool (OAT) for making configuration changes not previously considered

Consulting with a variety of organizations running IBM® Informix® database systems requires handling many different Informix versions, environments, and setups. Oftentimes, these versions and environments have been in place for years, humming along soundly with a series of comfortable scripts set up by the talented database administrators (DBAs) overseeing their operation. In general, everything just works in these organizations, so why change anything?

Even if that description fits your organization or client organizations you service, there is a robust, graphical user interface (GUI)–based environment for DBAs that offers a great opportunity to assess whether some well-considered changes may bolster the system’s efficiency. Specifically, DBAs can use the IBM OpenAdmin Tool (OAT), which provides an open source, web-based management environment introduced in the Informix 11.1 database software (see Figure 1). The tool has been upgraded and enhanced steadily since that version to handle new features and advanced replication environments, security, and plug-in support. It is shipped with most of the Informix Client Software Development Kit (CSDK) packages and most engines.

Feeling Your Informix OATs – Part 1: Figure 1

Figure 1. Getting started with the Informix OAT environment home page

The OAT environment is available as a complimentary download in a stand-alone set of PHP scripts.1 All that is required for access is a browser—with Adobe Flash player support—that can reach the OAT web server. And the tool can be up and running quickly.2

When first accessing the Login screen, DBAs can manually enter the connection information of an Informix instance or, if previously defined, select from one already listed and then directly log into the management of that environment. Many DBAs set up the home page as a dashboard (see Figure 2). It provides a brief performance overview of the instance, and the home page can also be set to almost any other page available in the OAT system.

Feeling Your Informix OATs – Part 1: Figure 2

Figure 2. Displaying a customized overview in an OAT environment dashboard

The main menu on the left side clearly labels each section containing the OAT environment tools. The Health Center section, for example, provides an Alerts option for displaying the last set of server alerts and notices (see Figure 3). Health Advisor is a new option in this section that scans the configuration and offers some suggested adjustments to it based on the current load that is running.

Feeling Your Informix OATs – Part 1: Figure 3
Figure 3. Viewing recent server alerts and notifications in the OAT Health Center section

The Admin Command in the Logs section lists any recent administratively run commands. The ON-Bar Activity option displays status for those commands that use the on-bar tool to offer a good idea of what has been run recently. Online Messages provides a copy of the online log, which can be very handy as an alternative for using the command line.

The Task Scheduler section provides options for completing new internal tasks in Informix, beginning with Version 11.1. These options can be used to automatically run any number of scheduled routines against an instance. Quite a few DBAs are moving to the Task Scheduler from cron for their database maintenance needs because of enhanced management options available entirely through Informix. It also enables easily disabling the automatic jobs that Informix runs by default. For newly upgraded installations, referring to this list is recommended to make sure work already being performed by scheduled scripts is not being duplicated.

Part 2 of this Informix DBA column installment continues this overview of the OAT environment and lists some of its advanced tools that DBAs can use for effective administration. Please share any thoughts or questions in the comments.

1 The process for the complimentary download of the IBM OAT environment for Informix begins at the OpenAdmin Tool site. Note that an IBM ID is required to complete the download process.
2 For more details about getting the OAT environment running on a variety of platforms, see the February 11, 2014 webcast, “Learning About Informix and the OpenAdmin Tool.”

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