Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) stores database objects in temporary “dbspaces” comprised of one or more “chunks” (physical storage devices). Historically, chunks were disk devices or logical volumes.
In more recent years, with the advent of general-purpose network storage arrays and virtual machines, it became desirable to store chunks in file systems (“cooked files”). For applications needing comparable performance, this became a viable option with configuration parameter DIRECT_IO introduced in IDS 11.10, which enables files to be accessed using Kernel Asynchronous I/O (KAIO) with the O_DIRECT flag available in later operating system versions, bypassing file system buffering and caching.
The manual page here states that “IBM Informix does not use direct I/O for cooked files used for Temporary DBSpaces chunks.” That is no longer accurate as of IDS 12.10.FC13 or 14.10.FC2 due to a feature still undocumented as at June 2020: see forum thread here. This article explores when/why/how this should be enabled.