Abstract

Server Studio™ & Sentinel™ — the premiere suite of integrated system management tools for IBM Informix® data servers — has been updated! The new Release 10 of this industry-leading multi-platform graphical development and management environment provides DBAs and developers with an even richer collection of easy-to-use, proven tools to manage complexities of the Informix data servers’ infrastructure — from initial design and development, all the way through to production deployment and successful operational service. This article will visually explain the features, benefits and usage of release 10.

Substitution

variables provide an easy way to execute scripts in situations when you need to run the same SQL queries multiple times or periodically using a different set of parameters for each script execution, for example during application tests or when running system reports. Using variables in these situations eliminates a task of modifying SQL syntax every time you need to provide a new parameter value, such as report dates or customer code. This feature is especially valuable when the same parameter is used in SQL script in multiple places and the value of this parameter must be edited every time in all places. Without usage of script variables, there is a high probability of error – not only a syntax error but also an error of getting incorrect SQL query result. Substitution variables can be used in SQL scripts in place of constant values, names of columns or tables. If a SQL script contains substitution variables, the dialog box prompting to enter their values opens automatically when a user attempts to execute this script.

Data Masking

feature was added. The most common use of data masking is to create test data for non-production environments, such as application development and QA, while protecting personally identifiable, personally sensitive or commercially sensitive data. Development and QA department personnel usually do not have required security clearance to access actual production data. However, in order to create and test robust business applications, they need to work with data sets that closely resemble real-world data. Server Studio provides a number of data masking methods, such as Random Substitution, Substitution from Database objects and Files, Shuffling, Number and Date Variance, Masking Out of text data, and more. There are two options for creating test data sets based on production data. The first option is to export production data to text files while performing data masking for the selected table columns in memory during the export operation. The exported text files, which contain obfuscated data, can be imported into development and QA databases that have corresponding database schema. The second option is to mask data directly in database tables, which represent a copy of production data created in some secure environment accessible only to cleared personnel. Subsequently, modified tables can be exported and then imported (or backed up and then restored) into development or QA environment using other tools or utilities.

Columns

folder was added under a database node in the Object Explorer. It provides an integrated view of all columns for all tables in a database. This view is very useful when analyzing database structure and table dependencies. It also can be used to help to identify columns that require data masking during creation of test data sets based on production data. You can use the new Server Studio’s Data Masking wizard to obfuscate identified data and create required test data sets. The Columns view provides table, column name and datatype filtering capabilities for easy object searches. Indexing, nulling, datatypes, default column data information is displayed in a single grid for all database columns. There are navigations to underlying table structure and data viewers and editors.

Maintenance Blackout Periods

feature was added. You can schedule alert blackout periods for planned Informix server down time to avoid receiving false alerts from Sentinel monitors and jobs. This is useful when you know in advance that you are going to take Informix server down for maintenance or an upgrade. When an alert blackout period is activated, Sentinel will not send out any alerts for the specified servers. Sentinel administrators will be notified whenever a blackout period starts and ends via Server Studio alerts and email messages sent to administrator’s email address.