Informix Corp duly announced its Universal Server yesterday at DB Expo in New York, defying those that had predicted it would be late, and those that have questioned the validity of its technology (CI No 3,031). The important thing is that we’ve fired the gun, the company says, though how it will capitalize on what […]
Informix Corp duly announced its Universal Server yesterday at DB Expo in New York, defying those that had predicted it would be late, and those that have questioned the validity of its technology (CI No 3,031). The important thing is that we’ve fired the gun, the company says, though how it will capitalize on what it claims is a 12-to-18 month technology lead over rivals such as Oracle Corp in its bid to become the number one supplier of open database solutions within two years wasn’t made quite as clear. Based on the company’s Dynamic Scalable Architecture, Universal Server marks Informix’s entry into the so-called Object-Relational space, and includes the controversial DataBlades technology garnered from the acquisition of Illustra Information Technologies Inc last year (CI No 2,820). All data types are managed by the core server, whether industry- or company-specific or rich data such as Web pages, time series data, numbers, images, maps, sound and video. The DataBlade modules plug directly into the database, defining new types and functions, and will be produced both by Informix itself and by its third parties. Initially, 29 modules are available, with a total of 50 announced and hundreds in varying stages of development. One, from Informix itself, is the Video Foundation DataBlade module, which manages video content and associated metadata, and provides the core functionality needed by applications such as video servers, video streaming and video scene detection. Another, from San Jose-based Telconar Inc, provides high-speed spatial access extensions needed to support geographic data. There are also a surrounding set of tools,including the NewEra graphical application development tool, Jworks drag and drop Java development environment, and tools from third parties such as Forte Software Inc, Powersoft Corp, Logic Works Inc, CSA Holdings Plc and Conquer Data Inc, who came out in support at the launch. Netscape Communications Corp – which has been paying rather more attention to Oracle Corp of late (CI No 3,030) – also turned up in support, saying that its Netscape Enterprise Server and LiveWire development tool will support Universal Server. Informix CEO Phil White doesn’t expect Universal Server to contribute significantly to Informix coffers until well into the second half of next year. Windows NT and the majority of Unix ports will only become generally available around the middle of 1997. Until then there are only Solaris and SGI Irix implementations – Illustra’s development platforms – which are due this month starting at $2,500 for single user licenses. There are no TPC performance numbers available. The street wasn’t that impressed, marking Informix shares down $1.00 on the day at $25.37. Meantime Informix has lured Documentum Inc CFO Alan Henricks to replace its senior VP and CFO of five years Howard Graham who leaves for high-flying customer information software systems company Siebel Systems Inc at the end of the year.