After three years of effort, Informix last week finally managed to produce Internet Foundation.2000, combining technology from two of the firm's database products.
Formerly code-named Centaur, Internet Foundation.2000 cost the company one-third of its engineering budget. The product integrates Informix's 7X traditional online transaction processing (OLTP) database with its 9X object relational database.
Informix will pitch Internet Foundation.2000 as a front-end integration database that can handle information streams from all internal sources, including rival databases, ERP software and new media, such as the Net and interactive TV.
Database queries can be conducted from Microsoft Excel, through a technology called Office Connect. Database administration is browser based. Informix also promises easy integration with and migration from its 7X and 9X databases.
"It supports all Internet standards and (Microsoft's) COM+, Active X, XML, C/C++, Java, and has support for Java Virtual Machines from Sun, Hewlett-Packard and others," David Appelbaum, Informix's vice president for product marketing, told PC Week.
The product does not support HP e-Speak or Microsoft BizTalk. Appelbaum said he saw no market for either.
"We'd rate Informix as having a good chance of success with this (product)," said Martin Brampton, senior analyst at Bloor Research. "The technology is strong and Informix has been working hard on improving the marketing.
Informix is technically sophisticated but has misjudged the market in the past."
The difficult development of Internet Foundation.2000 is likely to put Informix off integrating the Informix database with the Redbrick data mart technology that it bought last year.
Such integration is "certainly possible, but is it a good idea economically?" questioned Bob Walters, Informix vice president for business development.
This autumn, Informix will introduce its data warehousing engine, code-named Yellowstone. It will not have any object-relational capabilities, but Informix said it would be able to source data from the front-end Internet database, and from ERP applications or rival vendors' databases.
Yellowstone will allow customers to segregate the data warehouse to create a barrier preventing complex queries from "power users" monopolising the database or restricting its use by "information customers", the company said.
The engine will support the use of near-line storage, which is cheaper non-disk storage for little-used or inactive data in a very large (more than 1Tb) data warehouse.
Internet Foundation.2000 will ship in August, priced at £2,000 for a one-user licence.
More Informix news, p19.
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