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Informix Corporation (NASDAQ: IFMX), the technology leader in enterprise database-powered solutions, has unveiled a two-year product roadmap for its flagship database servers - the next significant step in its strategy to deliver best-of-breed solutions to the fastest growing segments of the database market. Central to the product roadmap are plans to launch new versions of Informix's database servers for customers seeking business advantage through high-end data warehousing, high-performance OLTP and high-volume e-commerce. The new products will bridge the gap between database servers and application servers and facilitate the flow of data between OLTP and data warehousing applications by supporting key component development standards such as Java, ActiveX, and OLE DB. By year 2000, these engines will also support heterogeneous data in a true federated environment - a Smart Data Federation. Smart Data Federation is essentially data without walls, an environment where data can be accessed, analyzed and manipulated enterprise-wide regardless of location, data engine, operating system or hardware.

"Informix rejects the idea supported by some in the database industry that `one size fits all' when it comes to helping enterprise customers meet the challenge of how to turn business data into valuable business information," said Bob Finocchio, chairman and CEO of Informix. "Our Smart Data Federation strategy and server roadmap are further evidence that Informix is committed to fitting the solution to the customer, not the customer to the solution, through best-of-breed products and technologies that drive truly open, integrated environments."

In a related announcement, Informix has introduced Informix Visionary, a powerful business visualizer that provides a window, or portal, into all corporate data, making it the ideal way to access a federated data environment. This revolutionary new product enables the corporate user to develop flexible, easy, low-cost solutions for insightful decision-making.

Two-Year Roadmap Charts Course for New Data Engine Products

Informix is aggressively driving its data engine development efforts to meet increasingly sophisticated customer requirements for solutions in two key areas championed by the company: Business process (OLTP and e-commerce) and business value (data warehousing and decision support). The new data engines will support seamless migration for Informix Dynamic Server customers.

"Over the next 2-3 years, corporate externalization of complex data will drive federated technology into prominence," said Anthony Bradley, program director, Open Computing & Server Strategies, META Group. "Informix has recognized this critical trend and is pursuing a strategy to break down the barriers between OLTP and data warehousing with a federated database approach."

Business Process: the Data Engine as Application Server

In mid 1999, Informix will introduce a new Internet extensible data engine that includes application server functionality to improve the performance and reduce the cost of new, multi-tiered application environments. This data engine, code named "Centaur," is based on Informix's industry leading object relational technology. Centaur is the first Internet-ready data engine that integrates server-managed, rich data with both Java and COM+ server programmability. Centaur has the ability to host scalable Internet application development and deployment for new business process applications such as e-commerce and media asset management.

Delivering on the concept of data without walls in the enterprise, Centaur offers equal support for all Internet application development standards, both Microsoft and UNIX, and lowers total cost of ownership (TCO) by leveraging existing standards in development tools, systems infrastructure and customer skill sets.

Informix will offer prefabricated solutions in areas such as e-commerce that will rely on Centaur as the underlying platform. With Centaur as a foundation, these prefabricated solutions will provide faster deployment and predictable results for e-commerce and media asset management applications.

Business Value: The Data Engine Drives High-end Data Analysis

In disclosing its two-year roadmap, Informix will release a new versions of its extended parallel data engine specifically designed for business value applications. Informix will launch a data engine, code-named "Yellowstone," in the second half of 1999 based on Informix's extended parallel server heritage of linear scalability through SMP, MPP, NUMA and clustered systems architecture. Yellowstone will significantly enhance data warehouse construction in the areas of: data size, analytical application functionality and performance.

Yellowstone will expand the value of information enterprise-wide and give an ever-increasing number of users accessibility to large data warehouses for improved decision support. Because Yellowstone can efficiently manage more data for more users on less hardware, it reduces both TCO and points of failure in DSS environments. Yellowstone will be tightly integrated with Informix Decision Frontier Solution Suite and upcoming prefabricated data warehousing templates for retail, telecommunications and finance, enabling rapid deployment of data analysis applications.

Red Brick Warehouse, which was incorporated into Decision Frontier Solution Suite with the recent closing of Informix's acquisition of Red Brick Systems, also plays an important role in Informix's business value solutions. Red Brick Warehouse is now the suite's primary scalable data mart engine option. Full integration of the Red Brick product line with all components of Decision Frontier Solution Suite - including the MetaCube ROLAP tool - will be completed in the second half of 1999. Because Red Brick Warehouse is currently supported by Informix DataStage ETL tool, data can be easily migrated between the Informix Dynamic Server product line and Red Brick Warehouse, thereby creating a truly integrated system for data analysis.

In 2000, Informix will introduce a high-availability data engine for enterprise users, code-named "Independence." Independence will provide exceptional resilience through automatic data failover and will increase scalability and performance in both clustered and non-clustered hardware configurations. As the ultimate release for the data warehousing customer, the blazingly fast performance of Independence will expand business productivity and efficiency by minimizing down time in business-critical applications. Independence also supports more accurate trend and statistical analysis due to the expanded amounts of transactional data it can manage.

The Foundation of the Smart Data Federation - Seamless Data Transformation

By the year 2000, several trends will converge in the enterprise to drive the need for federated systems. Developments such as the massive explosion of Internet transactions, the rapid growth of extremely large data warehouses of multiple terabytes, and the requirement for legacy ERP systems to communicate with and supply information to decision makers on a global basis will change the way businesses operate. Support for open industry standards will be the only way to meet the need for truly interoperable systems created by such changes.

"Informix will be uniquely positioned to lead in the federated environment of 2000 and beyond based on its unlimited flexibility to incorporate different components, API's, applications and data into a single, manageable, and highly scalable systems infrastructure," said David Appelbaum, vice president of product marketing and product management at Informix. "This open approach will make a dramatic difference in how enterprise customers gain value from data. By seamlessly inserting the Informix data engine into the heart of the IT environment, data can be integrated, aggregated and consolidated across network/OS/hardware/component/data types - to bridge the gap between business process and business value applications."

Informix's powerful new data engines will complement and leverage changes in computing based on the rapid introduction of new technologies and development paradigms, such as Java, ActiveX, CORBA, COM+ and the Internet. But while business computing technologies change, business implementation modes stay the same and are even more dependent on data engine technologies to operate effectively in dynamic environments. Informix's Smart Data Federation, based on open data engines that integrate business process with business value, offers fully integrated solutions for such environments and is a prerequisite for building and deploying the next generation of true business applications.

About Informix

Informix Corporation, based in Menlo Park, California, provides innovative database products that assist the world's major corporations. Informix is widely recognized for corporate computing environments ranging from small workgroups to very large parallel processing applications. Informix's database server, application development tools, superior customer service, and strong partnerships enable the company to be at the forefront of major information technology solution areas including data warehousing, high performance OLTP, and Web/e-commerce.

For more information, call 650/356-5200.
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Publication:Online Product News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 1999

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