We discussed some of this at the recent 2017 IIUG conference. Many of the gathered Informix DBAs were not familiar with syslicenseinfo, and so hopefully this will be of general interest. My former colleague and mentor, John Miller, was instrumental in designing syslicenseinfo and was happy to provide some pointers on how to interpret the data. I’m happy to pass it on…
Since v11.50, Informix has a built-in mechanism to keep track of system usage. This mechanism is presented via the syslicenseinfo table in the sysmaster database. There is also a view, sysfeatures, which also can be used to access this data. Metrics are sampled every 15 minutes, but only the highest values during the particular week are stored. Each row in the table contains data only for the specific week it represents. Up to 260 weeks (5 years) of data stored within table with the oldest data purged after 5 years.
Some caveats – The Informix server knows nothing about PVUs or your individual licensing terms! PVUs are determined by your machine characteristics, mostly on your processor. Use the IBM PVU calculator web page to determine PVU count for your specific machine/processor count. IBM License Manager Tool (ILMT) uses syslicenseinfo to gather usage information. There is nothing nefarious going on here, syslicenseinfo just gathers usage information for you, or others, to analyze.
The syslicenseinfo structure is easy to find with dbaccess, for example:
In order to put some context around this data, I took a look at the data from my desktop Linux server, using the command: SELECT * FROM syslicenseinfo. Here is what I found:
Let’s explore each of these syslicenseinfo columns with data reported from my system:
Feature_flags is a bitmask field, meaning each bit position within an integer represents a separate flag. Here are the various flag/bit positions within this field:
In my system, the feature_flags value was reported as 512. The value reported is the decimal number representing the (hex) bitmask bits. 0x200 (hex) = 512 (decimal) means PDQ was used in this week.
The sysfeatures view differs slightly. When I run the same SELECT statement against the sysfeatures view, I see:
We see that max_sds_connections is not reported directly and that feature_flags are reported as Boolean values. Not all features (ie. compression) are reported via this view.
Let’s look at some examples of larger (and more interesting) systems. Here is a snippet of a syslicenseinfo query:
We can see that this system moved from 11.50.FC5 to 11.70.FC5 in week 24 of 2012
Let’s look at the feature_flags from the same system to see which features were used by week:
In another example, we see the change from primary to secondary and back:
Some observations on this data show:
What you don’t see here is any personal or other identifiable information being collected or reported. These are just weekly snapshots of your system. So what to do with this data? Since ILMT uses this information to report usage, it may be useful to periodically check this data so there is no surprise when ILMT generates reports. It may be useful to compare syslicenseinfo data with ILMT and to find more details of your weekly usage. Combine with info from sysmachineinfo to get a more complete picture of your machine utilization.
Informix Development Lab