October 29, 2014

Create Informix Flexible Grid using OpenAdmin Tool (OAT)

An Informix instance can be added to Informix Flexible Grid as a 'Grid Node', only if it has been defined as a ER Server or ER Node. Refer to the blog post titled 'Defining a new Enterprise Replication (ER) Server', published on 09/17/2014, in the same blog section, to create / define ER Servers, before you begin working through this article.
In this blog work, let's work through step by step to setup a Flexible Grid and identify one of the ER server as the Source Node, from where, the Admin shall perform the DDL and DML operations that shall be propagated to all other Grid Nodes, as available on the Grid.

In the blog post 'Defining a new Enterprise Replication (ER) Server', we had successfully defined three Informix servers, i.e ‘prot4’, ‘clp’ and ‘special_1’, as new ER Servers and depicted the ER Domain similar to the image shown in Step 10 of the post.

Now, let’s go ahead and create the Flexible Grid using these three server instances that have been defined earlier. 

Step 1: Log on to OpenAdmin Tool

Step 2: Navigate to Replication --> Grid page, as available on the left hand side menu, to add the newly defined Informix ER servers as Grid nodes

Step 3: You shall run into an Informational message saying that ‘This server is not a member of a grid’, which is obvious, as we are in the process of creating a grid. 

So, please ignore the message and turn your attention towards the ‘Actions’ drop down menu, provided on the top-left corner of the working canvas

Step 4: From the ‘Actions’ drop down menu, choose ‘Create Grid’ to create a new grid


Step 5: The option chosen in Step 13 will take you to the ‘Create Grid’ wizard as shown in the following image, which comprises of 4 steps that needs to be performed to successfully create a grid. 

To start with, on the wizard, provide the Grid name, which can be any custom name ( In this case, we have provided the grid name as ‘konkan_grid’). Optionally use the ‘Filter’ to reduce the entries in the list of ‘Available Servers’ column. 
The ‘Available Servers’ column lists the three Informix server instances that you had earlier defined as ER Servers. As a user, you can either choose to add one or more nodes as ‘Grid Servers’ using ‘Add’ or ‘Add All>>’ option.

Choose a Informix server instance of the available three servers as a ‘Source’ server from where you or the DBA plans to execute queries / commands, that needs to be replicated across the grid. Here, we are choosing g_clp to be the ‘Source’ server from where the commands are executed.

Choose Next to move to next step on the wizard

Step 6: The wizard prompts you to mention the user or set of users who are authorized to perform grid queries from the source server. Here, in this illustration, we choose ‘informix’ user, who shall be perform grid queries on the ‘konkan_grid’

Choose Next to proceed

Step 7: Next step of the wizard displays the actual Admin API commands that shall be executed on the server to create the grid ‘konkan_grid’. 

 Optionally review your options and choose Finish to push the proceedings

Step 8: You should now see that the API’s shown in the previous step were successfully executed and the grid ‘konkan_grid’ was successfully created.

Click on ‘Done’ to complete the wizard

Step 9: As a user, you should now see an entry by name ‘konkan_grid’ under the Grid column and clicking on it shall show it’s properties on the canvas area, as shown in the following image:

It lists g_clp as the source server, since that was the choice we made is Step 14 ( Step 1 of the ‘Create Grid’ wizard ).

As a user you have the luxury to choose more than one Informix server as a source server or restrict the ‘source’ credentials to only one server.

Step 10: If you choose to add few more Informix servers to be participating in ‘konkan_grid’ and be added as Grid Servers, you may do so, by choosing the option ‘Add servers’ from the ‘Actions’ drop down menu available within ‘Grid Servers’ tab in the canvas area, as shown in the following image:

Conclusion: For Informix enthusiasts, who are willing to experience the offerings and exploit the capabilities of Informix Flexible Grid, the blog posts 'Defining a new Enterprise Replication (ER) Server' and 'Create Informix Flexible Grid using OpenAdmin Tool (OAT)', together, will help you reach the stage, where the Grid is ready to be played on. 

Further, as a user, you can explore the options available to play with Grid Queries, break down the Grid into multiple manageable sub-parts called Regions and work on the Data Sharding aspect as well.