Why Do I Use Informix?

The answer isn’t what you think

A few weeks ago, an old friend who used to be an IBM® Informix® database user called me on the phone. His company’s current database system had crashed a few times recently, and he asked me, “What is the appeal of Informix? Why do you continue to use it after all these years?”

At first I just sat silently, trying to figure out how to answer the question properly. I think he was waiting for me to start naming the numerous features added to the product in recent years. But after a good 30 seconds I replied, “It’s the same reason that I’ve had for the last 20 years. I SLEEP WELL.”

It is that simple. Since my friend’s company left Informix—their choice, not his—they have used Sybase; DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows; and Oracle. I won’t tell you which they currently use, but according to my friend, none of them were as reliable as Informix was in 2001. He has spent many nights and weekends answering his cell phone and participating in numerous conference calls over the past nine years, fighting fires that he never fought during his Informix days.

About two years ago, IBM created a video titled The Truth Mobile Investigates Informix (available at An actor goes looking for Informix, finds it is everywhere, and learns that the most important job of an Informix DBA is to leave work early and head to the golf course.

Well, we all might not be able to leave work early and head to the golf course, but when was the last time your Informix database crashed and it was the fault of the database software? When was the last time you had to reboot the Informix database on the server?

So yes, my old friend. We don’t need to reboot the database weekly, monthly, or even annually. It is just always on. I sleep well using Informix, because it just runs with no need for even planned downtime. After we got off the telephone, I sent my friend a quick follow-up e-mail that included the link to The Truth Mobile Investigates Informix video. I also included a few more links, such as how he can read all about moving that Oracle database to Informix and of course migrating from Microsoft SQL Server to Informix, so he can sleep as well as I do and have his database system incur almost no planned or unplanned downtime.

If you want to learn how to sleep well, leave work early, and find out just where else Informix is running, the date has been set for the 2011 IIUG Informix Conference. It will kick off on May 15, 2011, at the Marriott Overland Park in Kansas City, Kansas. Why do we stay at the same location year after year? Because we can be close to the Informix development and support staff, and holding the event at the same place keeps the costs down.

For most attendees from the U.S., their total airfare, hotel, and conference registration is less than the cost of just registering for other major conferences. So mark your calendar, check back in this column, or visit for more details.