Foreign Data Wrapper for Informix Databases
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= About this software =

The PostgreSQL Informix Foreign Datawrapper (FDW) module
is a driver for accessing remote Informix table from within
PostgreSQL databases. Foreign Tables are transparently accessed
as normal PostgreSQL tables, they can be used to join remote data
against real PostgreSQL tables, import remote data and more. The FDW
interface implemented in PostgreSQL starting with version 9.1
supports the SQL/MED standard. Starting with PostgreSQL 9.3 this
FDW also supports data modify actions on remote Informix tables.

= Requirements =

Informix FDW for PostgreSQL requires a complete
installation of the IBM ESQL/C Client SDK for Informix.


for details. Furthermore, the FDW API is available since
PostgreSQL 9.1, so at least 9.1 is required to use this
module. Informix FDW is installed as an EXTENSION, for
details see

= Compiling =

INFORMIXDIR=/path/to/your/csdk/installation USE_PGXS=1 make install

= Regression tests =

If you are a developer and has access to an Informix instance, you can
run the regression test suite. This currently contains two different
regression tests:

informix_fdw - Checks core functionality
informix_fdw_utf8 - Additional tests for Informix UTF8 databases

The latter is currently very generic and likely to be heavily improved
in the future. The regression tests aren't defined in the Makefile itself,
since they require a running Informix database instance and you need to
import a test database into it. Also the regression dump files assume,
you run the tests with the 'informix' user. If you want a different user,
make sure you have the required rights to access the tables.

The following steps are required to prepare the regression test suite

* You need a running Informix instance and full access to it, since you
  need to import the test database. Once you got access, you need to
  extract the dumps located in the archives from


  Once extracted, you will find the new subdirectories


  in your working directory. These contain the dump data for the test
  and test_utf8 database. If you can't have a test or test_utf8 database, but a
  database with a different naming, you need to rename the directory and the
  embedded SQL scripts there to match the database name you have chosen.
  If everything is prepared, import the dump into your target database:

  $ dbimport -i test.exp test
  $ dbimport -i test_utf8.exp test_utf8

* Prepare your private configuration for the regression tests

  There is a template configuration file located in


  Copy this file into


  and adjust all settings according to your Informix setup.

* Now you can run the test suite:

  $ REGRESS=informix_fdw INFORMIXDIR=$INFORMIXDIR USE_PGXS=1 make installcheck
  $ REGRESS=informix_fdw_utf8 INFORMIXDIR=$INFORMIXDIR USE_PGXS=1 make installcheck

  When no errors occurred due to configuration or setup errors, you should see
  the following output for each of both regression test:

============== dropping database "contrib_regression" ==============
============== creating database "contrib_regression" ==============
============== running regression test queries        ==============
test informix_fdw             ... ok

 All 1 tests passed. 

Have a look into the the file regression.diffs if there are any errors,
and if no setup or configuration issues are involved, drop me an email
with the contents of that file attached ;)

= Example Setup =

Informix database servers use different kinds of connection
methods (Shared Memory, TCP, ...). It is your responsibility to define
a proper Informix connection setup. Informix connections are named
connections via the environment variable INFORMIXSERVER. You don't
need to export them before connecting to PostgreSQL and using a
foreign table to your Informix server, the FDW will do all the required
stuff for you. However, you need a working INFORMIXSERVER setting in
your Client SDK installation (e.g. $INFORMIXDIR/etc/sqlhosts and
/etc/services are configured properly). Once you have that working,
the Informix FDW can be used as follows, assumed you have an Informix
connection named 'centosifx_tcp':

CREATE EXTENSION informix_fdw;

CREATE SERVER centosifx_tcp
OPTIONS (informixserver 'centosifx_tcp');

SERVER centosifx_tcp
OPTIONS (username 'informix', password 'informix');

       id integer,
       value integer
SERVER centosifx_tcp
OPTIONS ( query 'SELECT * FROM foo',
          database 'test',
          informixdir '/Applications/IBM/informix');

CREATE SERVER sles11_tcp
OPTIONS (informixserver 'ol_informix1170');

SERVER sles11_tcp
OPTIONS (username 'informix', password 'informix');

       id integer,
       value integer
SERVER sles11_tcp
OPTIONS ( query 'SELECT * FROM foo',
          database 'test',
          db_locale 'en_us.819',
          client_locale 'en_US.utf8',
          informixserver 'ol_informix1170',
          informixdir '/Applications/IBM/informix');

= Supported datatypes =

Currently, only fundamental Informix data types are supported. There's
no support for opaque or user defined types at the moment. Implemented
datatype conversion routines for retrieval:


The following types are currently supported for DML:

INTERVAL                    => INTERVAL
TEXT, BYTEA                 => TEXT, BYTE (LO)
DATE                        => DATE

Note that Informix doesn't support time zones, thus all TIMESTAMPTZ values will
be converted into a timestamp without time zone.

Also Informix has a way to declare a special DATETIME or DATE value with a certain
precision, e.g. DATE YEAR TO MONTH, where a date value in the format yyyy-mm is accepted.
This is currently not supported.

The Informix interval format has two defined ranges: YYYY-MM and DD HH24:MI:SS.FFFFF, where
the fraction can have up to five digits. Currently the fractions are omitted when doing
DML. If a PostgreSQL interval value spans two ranges, the value is truncated to fit into
the target interval range on the remote server.

PostgreSQL interval types support true "negative" values, where each
component of an interval could be negative. The best example to show
this definition is the following:

SELECT to_char(interval '15 minutes 30 seconds ago', 'HH24:MI:SS');
(1 row)

In opposite to this value (which counts 1 day in the past but
still has a positive time range):

SELECT to_char(interval '-1 day 15 minutes 30 seconds', 'DD HH24:MI:SS')
testfdw-# ;
 -1 00:15:30
(1 row)

Informix also supports negative interval values, but it doesn't accept
negative values within. Thus, the first example can't be executed successfully
against Informix:

INSERT INTO interval_test(f2) VALUES(interval '15 minutes 30 seconds ago');
ERROR:  could not convert attnum 1 to informix type "14", errcode -1263

Since the value is passed in ANSI SQL format to Informix, it's string
representation returned by PostgreSQL is "00 00:-15:-30", which
is the correct interpretation of the datum. However, this currently
doesn't work with the Informix FDW, even if you want to consider to
set IntervalStyle to sql_standard. Since the FDW internally uses
interval_to_char(), it doesn't honor the GUC setting at all.

Use this with care if you plan to support DML on such foreign tables.

= FDW Options =

* informixserver - required

  Specifies the Informix server identifier passed to the
  INFORMIXSERVER environment variable. This value is required and must
  match the identifier specified in your Informix sqlhosts file.

* informixdir - required

  Specifies the path to your Informix installation (either CSDK or locale
  server installation path). This sets the specified value to the INFORMXDIR
  environment variable during connection establishing.

* database - required

  The database name where the foreign table is located.

* user - required

  The Informix database username

* password - required

  The Informix user password.

* disable_predicate_pushdown

  Disables predicate pushdown infrastructure. No WHERE expressions are
  pushed down to the Informix server anymore (for details about predicate
  pushdown, see the sections below).

* gl_datetime

  Sets the date/time format transmitted from the Informix server.
  This effectively sets GL_DATETIME environment variable to the given
  format. If not specified, the FDW uses "%iY-%m-%d %H:%M:%S" per default.

  NOTE: This format *must* not be a format not understood by the PostgreSQL
        server. If conversion to a PostgreSQL type is requested by a date/time
        value incompatible with any format understood by PostgreSQL, an error
        will occur.

* gl_date

  Sets the date format transmitted from the Informix server.
  This effectively sets the GL_DATE environment variable to the given
  format. If not specified, the FDW uses "%iY-%m-%d" per default.

  NOTE: This format *must* not be a format not understood by the PostgreSQL
        server. If conversion to a PostgreSQL type is requested by a date/time
        value incompatible with any format understood by PostgreSQL, an error
        will occur.

        Even if specified somewhere in the code, the Informix FDW doesn't set
        DBDATE at the moment. Current Informix versions prefer the GL_DATE
        environment variable in favor of DBDATE.

* client_locale - required

  Sets the CLIENT_LOCALE environment variable to specify the locale
  settings the client uses. Please note that the *client* setting in this
  regard is the PostgreSQL backend, so this settings is required to match
  the current locale settings used in your PostgreSQL connection. This setting
  is required for each foreign table.

  NOTE: This setting depends on the available client locales installed with
        your Informix installations. The name to be passed differs from the
        setting actually taken from PostgreSQL, since PostgreSQL relies on
        the operating system locale, where Informix uses its own. This can lead
        to some confusion to find the correct setting and might cause
        compatibility problems (incompatible string comparisons et al.). The
        FDW for example currently allows strings expressions embedded in
        query predicates to be pushed down to the Informix server.
        Take care in this case, since the mentioned incompatibilities could 
        lead to wrong results. I don't want to restrict this setting for now
        and leave it up to the user to make sure, the settings actually work
        in their environment.

* db_locale

  Specifies the locale settings passed to the DB_LOCALE environment variable.
  This value must be compatible with the CLIENT_LOCALE setting chosen with
  the client_locale FDW setting described above. Ideally, this setting reflect
  the locale settings chosen on the Informix database.

  NOTE: The Informix FDW will raise an error with incompatible settings.

* enable_blobs

  This variable sets a hint to the Informix FDW that the foreign table
  has BLOBs. Set it to enable_blobs = '1' to enable BLOB support or omit
  this option to disable it (it doesn't matter which value you pass
  to enable_blobs, it only needs to be present).

  NOTE: If you have a foreign table with BLOBs but don't want to select
        any of these, you can safely omit this setting. However, you have to
        make sure, that you don't query the columns at all (pass your own
        query string to the query variable in this case). If you select BLOB
        columns without having set enable_blobs, an error will be raised.

        Also consider that selecting foreign tables with BLOBs isn't safe
        with non-logging Informix databases under certain conditions. The FDW
        will raise a WARNING if you encounter such a situation.

        The reason for this restriction is that the Informix FDW uses
        a SCROLL cursor internally per default. However, Informix doesn't
        support SCROLL cursors in case someone is selecting BLOBs from
        a table. We switch to NO SCROLL in case enable_blobs is specified,
        but this leaves us with the last restriction below, where you can
        get inconsistent reads when having an Informix database without

* query

  The foreign table will issue the specified query to the Informix server to
  materialize the result set.

* table

  The foreign table will build its own query against the given table on the
  Informix server.

  NOTE: Either table or query is required for a foreign table.

* disable_rowid

  Normally the Informix FDW uses a ROWID to identify tuples on the remote
  server when updating or deleting data. This doesn't work in Informix for
  all tables, fragmented tables for example doesn't support ROWIDs per default.
  If it's not possible to enforce the ROWID on the remote Informix server,
  disable_rowid can be used to switch to an updatable cursor for UPDATE and
  DELETE actions. However, this has the disadvantage that the foreign table
  isn't not safe to be used in UPDATE...FROM and DELETE...USING statements
  anymore, where the join is performed with a hash join for example
  (see below for details). A normal DELETE or UPDATE without a join is
  usable without any restrictions though.

= Predicate Pushdown =

The Informix FDW is able to pushdown query predicates which meet the following

- The expression is of type VAR OP CONST, where VAR is a column reference to
  the foreign table and CONST a constant value
- OP must be one of the following operators:
  <, >, =, <=, >=, LIKE
- Matching of column references is done on a per-name basis: that means even
  you can name a column in a foreign table different than on your remote Informix
  table, it cannot be successfully pushded down and will throw an error (in that case
  you need to turn of predicate pushdown).
- Currently, the FDW allows to push down predicates with <, <=, >, >= on text/varchar
  columns as well. This might lead to incorrect results, when the selected locale
  settings doesn't match. However, it seems far to conservative to restrict this at all,
  but be careful when using such predicates and check your results carefully.

= GLS Support =

Informix GLS support is provided through the CLIENT_LOCALE and DB_LOCALE
database connection parameters. At least, each foreign server is required
to define a valid CLIENT_LOCALE, which should match the server_encoding
of the PostgreSQL database.

= Helper functions =

To get a list of cached Informix database connections in a PostgreSQL
session, use the ifx_fdw_get_connections() procedure:

#= SELECT * FROM ifx_fdw_get_connections();
-[ RECORD 1 ]--------+----------------------------
connection_name      | informixtestol_informix1170
established_by_relid | 230262
servername           | ol_informix1170
informixdir          | /Applications/IBM/informix
database             | test
username             | informix
usage                | 2
db_locale            | en_us.819
client_locale        | en_US.utf8

It is possible to close a remote connection manually, if required. This
can be done by ifx_fdw_close_connection():

#= SELECT * FROM ifx_fdw_close_connection('informixtxtestol_informix1210');

(1 row)

The function throws an error if the existing connection does not exist or
couldn't be disconnected. If no Informix connections were already used in a session,
the connection cache isn't initialized yet, which is treated as an error, too.

= Transaction control =

The Informix FDW is able to coordinate transactions with local PostgreSQL
transactions and savepoints. For example, parent transactions start also
a new transaction on the remote server (if not already in progress). If
a SAVEPOINT is started locally on the PostgreSQL server, there will also be a
SAVEPOINT on the remote Informix server. SAVEPOINTs are stacked, so that each
ROLLBACK TO command will ROLLBACK and RELEASE the corresponding SAVEPOINT on
the remote Informix server.

= Caveats =

- Even if not currently enforced, the Informix FDW heavily relies
  on the fact, that a foreign table has the same name like its counterpart
  on the remote Informix server.

- The predicate pushdown feature allows to push down predicates of the
  following type:

  <Var> [<,<=,>,>=] 'string literal'

  This could lead to problems in case of incompatible locale and|or collation
  definitions on the PostgreSQL and Informix side.

- Take care if you are using the MONEY type locally in a PostgreSQL server
  and map them to MONEY on the Informix server. Since this type is locale
  dependent, you should configure at least LC_MONETARY to match the locale
  setting on the Informix server. Otherwise you might get confusing results.

  It is possible to specify the DBMONEY environment variable through the Informix
  FDW options, however, since the MONEY value is read in through its type input
  function locally it still evaluates always against the local currency settings.

== Restrictions to DML ==

- UPDATE and DELETE cannot be part of an UPDATE FROM or DELETE FROM clause
  if the disable_rowid parameter is set.

  In this case the Informix FDW employs an updatable cursor which interacts with the
  associated foreign scan. It's possible that the cursor gets out of sync when
  the PostgreSQL planner decides to use some specific join strategies, based on
  the command (e.g. UPDATE remote_table SET ... FROM local_table WHERE ...

  The FDW will issue an error in this case.

== Datatype conversion issues ==

- Interval ranges are restricted in Informix to YYYY-MM and DD HH24:MI:SS.FFFFF. If used
  in a DML transactions, those values are truncated when inserted from PostgreSQL.

- Certain interval values currently aren't handled very well by the Informix FDW.
  Candidates are especially negative interval values, since they get decorated
  with explicits signs in the time part, which aren't allowed by the Informix
  INTERVAL datatype. If you get a -1263 error when using DML with INTERVAL, please
  check if you use negative values (see examples above).

- TEXT in Informix is known to have encoding issues that doesn't work properly with
  PostgreSQL text and varchar types. You might find it better to use bytea instead, however,
  this format isn't very suitable to work with. The Informix FDW supports conversion from
  TEXT to bytea nevertheless.

= ToDo =

- Improve usage of planner/local foreign table statistics.