Informix maps three-phase path to Universal Server

Informix Software Inc. earlier this month laid out a three-phase strategy to help customers migrate to its forthcoming Universal Server, which will allow users to manage complex data types within Informix's relational database management software.

The announcement follows Informix's acquisition in December of Illustra Information Technologies Inc., which markets a database tailored to handle text, multimedia, World Wide Web pages and other nontraditional data types.

Informix plans to roll out the Universal Server in the fourth quarter. The product will include a database management system based on the company's Dynamic Scalable Architecture database technology and a line of "snap-in" modules—what Illustra calls DataBlades—that allow the database to handle specific complex data types.

But Informix does not want its customers to have to wait until year's end before they begin developing applications based on the new technology. "We are going to focus on getting people DataBlade-savvy as soon as we can so they can actually begin work now," said Edward Hammersla, executive director of Informix's federal operations in Vienna, Va.

Users interested in writing custom DataBlades for their applications will appreciate the nine-month lead time. "It will take about that long to learn to write 'Blades," he said. This spring, Informix plans to pave the way for the Universal Server by introducing a DataBlade Developer's Tool Kit for users, resellers or systems integrators who want to develop database modules. These modules will be able to run on top of either the Illustra Server or the Universal Server, the company said.

Informix also plans to offer a database gateway product that will allow users to build applications that integrate data stored in the Illustra Server with data stored on Informix software.

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