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Feeling Your Informix OATs: Part 2

Apply the OpenAdmin Tool (OAT) environment to advanced Informix database administration

Part 1 of this series introduced the IBM® OpenAdmin Tool (OAT) environment and its graphical user interface (GUI) available in IBM Informix® software for making changes to Informix database systems. This concluding installment takes a look at some of the advanced sets of tools available in the OAT environment.

Arguably, the tools available in the Space Administration section of the OAT environment are the options used most often by Informix database administrators (DBAs) for advanced database administration (see Figure 4). These tools offer graphical views of the size of dbspaces and show how they are placed on disk. The screen also shows the Backup tool that enables using the OAT environment for scheduled backups. In addition, the Recovery Logs option enables DBAs to see information from onstat -l and onstat -g ckp outputs. And the Admin tab allows DBAs to run many of the onparams commands directly from their web browsers.

 
Feeling Your Informix OATs – Part 2: Figure 4

Figure 4. Accessing often-used tools in the OAT environment’s Space Administration section

 
Although fairly complex, the Replication section provides tools that support both enterprise replication (ER) and high-availability replication (HDR) data replication types, and it offers extensive information and some control over replicated environments. More information on replication can be found in OAT white papers.

The Server Administration section can be very useful for running classic onmode commands from the OAT GUI (see Figure 5). The System Validation option provides access to the oncheck commands as well. Be aware that just like using the command line, DBAs need to ensure they are not unduly impacting performance by running oncheck commands on an active system. The Server Administration section also includes options to manage user privileges and the Informix Warehouse Accelerator, as well as the Auto Update Statistics feature. Using the Server Administration tools in the OAT environment for these tasks can be significantly easier than using command-line utilities for these same tasks.

 
Feeling Your Informix OATs – Part 2: Figure 5

Figure 5. Utilizing Server Administration tools to help simplify tasks typically run on the command line

 
Options in the Performance Analysis section display information on system status. Performance History, in particular, offers a graphical view of current system status, and SQL Explorer—with sql tracing on—shows currently running statements, which can be very useful for working with a slow query. Session Explorer works like advanced onstat -g sql and onstat -g ses commands. A list of selectable system reports helps with monitoring the health of the system and assessing how it is performing. In addition, the onstat Utility enables running onstat commands directly from a web browser.

DBAs can use the SQL ToolBox section to directly drill down into the data that is stored in the database (see Figure 6). The Schema Manager and Databases options allow DBAs to see the schema of databases and add and modify databases, tables, and indexes. In short, these options are highly useful for managing the overall structure of the system. In addition, SQL Editor provides the capability to run SQL directly against the database. As an alternative to SQL Editor, Query By Example offers assistance to professionals who may not have extensive experience with SQL. In addition, Schema Browser can be helpful for drilling down into a particular table if necessary to see columns, indexes, attributes, and other information.

 
Feeling Your Informix OATs – Part 2: Figure 6

Figure 6. Drilling down into the database with SQL ToolBox options

 
The treasure trove of graphical tools in the OAT environment enables DBAs to get immediate status information for the health of a system while also giving them the option of using traditional, familiar command-line tools. While using a GUI may never replace the control that a command line offers, it does provide some advantages for DBAs who want to work with it to further streamline an Informix database system’s performance.

For DBAs administering systems running Informix Version 11 or later, the OAT environment offers a visual alternative for investigating whether changes that may not have been considered previously can make an Informix database run with enhanced efficiency. Download it and check it out—note that an IBM ID is required to complete the download process. It may provide new insight into the Informix database system under your administration. Please share any thoughts or questions in the comments.

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