Putting Database Administrator Skills to the Test

Tune online transaction and batch processing on the same server in the Fastest Informix DBA Contest

The sixth-annual Advanced DataTools Fastest Informix DBA Contest for database administrators (DBAs) and users who manage IBM® Informix® databases brings a new twist to this year’s event. In the past, the contest was held at the International Informix User Group (IIUG) Conference. This year, the contest is being held over the web so that anyone, anywhere in the world can participate between July 9 and July 31, 2013.

The challenge is a combination of online transaction processing (OLTP) and batch processing applications. The winner will be the DBA who can get the most transactions per minute in an OLTP benchmark and at the same time run a batch billing job and generate the most bills in a 10-minute run.

How it works, and what’s at stake

This year, the contest combines the OLTP benchmark from last year’s contest with a new batch billing process. The OLTP benchmark uses the Open Source BenchmarkSQL Java program to generate 1,000 sessions comprising inserts, updates, and deletes within the Informix database. The Open Source BenchmarkSQL is a Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) benchmark that closely resembles the Transaction Processing Performance Council Benchmark C (TPC-C) standard for OLTP.

The goal is to get the most transactions per minute in a 10-minute period. The batch billing process provides an SQL script to generate the billings, and the aim is to get the most bills inserted into a table in a 10-minute period. The primary challenge is to see if you can take an Informix server running 1,000 OLTP users, simultaneously run a batch job on it, and tune it.

The grand prize is an Apple iPad for the DBA who gets the best OLTP and batch processing combination in a 10-minute run. To qualify for the grand prize, entrants must be an Informix DBA, must not be employed by IBM or Advanced DataTools, and must be employed by an organization that uses Informix internally. There are also 10 honorary prize categories, as follows, which are open to anyone:

  • Fastest DBA – OLTP
  • Fastest DBA – batch processing
  • Fastest DBA who made the fewest changes
  • Fastest professional consultant DBA
  • Fastest IBM developer – IBM employee
  • Fastest senior-level DBA – 50 years or older
  • Fastest middle-aged DBA – 30 to 50 years old
  • Fastest young DBA – 30 years or younger
  • Fastest DBA with the least Informix experience
  • Fastest DBA with the most Informix experience

The return of the benchmark server

The server being used in the contest is the same model Apple Mac Mini server that was used in last year’s contest, with the added benefit that the dbspaces are stored on a solid-state drive (SSD). This server can scream! Last year’s winner, Andrew Ford, achieved over 55,000 transactions per minute on this same server but without the SSD installed. The server will be running the IBM Informix 11.70 database and is equipped with the following components:

  • Mac OS X 10.7.31 server OS
  • Intel Core i7 2 GHz processor with four cores
  • 8 GB memory – Note: The BenchmarkSQL transaction manager and OS need approximately 2.5–3 GB memory to run.
  • One SSD

Look for an upcoming article about the results of the contest in the coming months. This contest is a great opportunity for DBAs to learn more and apply their skills as an Informix DBA. For additional information about the contest and to participate, please visit the Advanced DataTools web site. And be sure to read the article on last year’s contest that includes the grand and honorary prize winners.

If you have any questions or thoughts about this year’s contest, please share them in the comments.

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