Accessing an Informix database in .NET

Accessing an Informix database in .NET

Informix was a database (part of the IBM family) popular during the 90s and today still in the market. Due to this, it is always good to know how we can use it from our .NET applications (who knows, maybe someday we will have to work with it). First, let's start an instance of the database with the following command:

docker run --name informix-sandbox -i -d -e SIZE=medium --privileged -p 9088:9088 -p 9089:9089 -p 27017:27017 -p 27018:27018 -p 27883:27883 -e LICENSE=accept ibmcom/informix-developer-database:12.10.FC9W1DE

These are different ports/protocols through which we can access the database:

  • -p, expose port 9088 to allow remote connections from TCP clients

  • -p, expose port 9089 to allow remote connections from DRDA clients

  • -p, expose port 27017 to allow remote connections from Mongo clients

  • -p, expose port 27018 to allow remote connections from REST clients

  • -p, expose port 27883 to allow remote connections from MQTT clients

The default user is informix with in4mix as password. The DRDA protocol is used by the .NET provider that we will see. If you already have a database available, verify that the protocol is enabled. If not, you can follow this article to enable it.

IBM Data Server .NET Provider is the current client for the Microsoft Ecosystem. This package is self-contained and no other installation is needed to connect to IBM Database servers. Every supported platform has its Nuget Package:

And support multiples IBM database servers:

  • zOS

  • LUW including IBM dashDB

  • Db2

  • Informix

But, there are some limitations:

  • Only 64-bit applications are supported.

  • For this package to work, there should not be any other DB2Connect installations present in the system.

  • Developers need to modify the package since there are different packages for each platform.

Here you can find information about all the supported .NET versions. Plus, there is Entity Framework support using IBM.EntityFrameworkCore Nuget Package (remember, there is a different package per each platform). Let's build an API to store and list our favorite animes. Run the following commands:

dotnet new webapi -n AnimeAPI
dotnet add AnimeAPI package Dapper
dotnet add AnimeAPI package Net.IBM.Data.Db2
dotnet new sln -n InformixSandbox
dotnet sln add --in-root AnimeAPI

Open the solution and create the Anime.cs file with the following content:

public class Anime
    public string Id { get; set; } = null!;
    public string Name { get; set; } = null!;

The Repository.cs file with the content as follows:

public class Repository
    private readonly string _connectionString;

    public Repository(string connectionString)
        _connectionString = connectionString;

    public async Task Save(Anime anime)
        using (var db = new DB2Connection(_connectionString))
            string sqlQuery = "INSERT INTO animes (id, name) VALUES(@Id, @Name)";

            await db.ExecuteAsync(sqlQuery, anime);

    public async Task<IEnumerable<Anime>> List()
        using (var db = new DB2Connection(_connectionString))
            string sqlQuery = "SELECT * FROM animes";

            return await db.QueryAsync<Anime>(sqlQuery);

Replace the default controller class with:

public class AnimesController : ControllerBase
    private readonly Repository _repository;

    public AnimesController(Repository repository)
        _repository = repository;

    public async Task<Guid> Post([FromBody] RegisterAnime command)
        var id = Guid.NewGuid();

        var anime = new Anime() { Id = id.ToString(), Name = command.Name };

        await _repository.Save(anime);

        return id;

    public Task<IEnumerable<Anime>> Get()
        return _repository.List();

    public record RegisterAnime(string Name);

Finally, update the Program.cs file to create the corresponding table to store our data:

using AnimeAPI.Controllers;
using Dapper;
using IBM.Data.Db2;

var builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder(args);
var connectionString = "Database=sysmaster;Server=localhost:9089;UID=informix;PWD=in4mix;";
builder.Services.AddSingleton(new Repository(connectionString));
var app = builder.Build();

using (var conn = new DB2Connection(connectionString))
    var exists = false;
    var reader = await conn.ExecuteReaderAsync("select 1 from systables where tabname = 'animes'");
    if (reader.HasRows)
        exists = true;
    if (!exists)
        var sql = @"CREATE TABLE animes
        id varchar(36) PRIMARY KEY,
        name varchar(255) NOT NULL
        await conn.ExecuteAsync(sql);
if (app.Environment.IsDevelopment())

Run the application and test the API. If we see an error like this:

IBM.Data.DB2.Core.DB2Exception (0x80004005): ERROR [08001] [IBM] SQL30081N A communication error has been detected. Communication protocol being used: "TCP/IP". Communication API being used: "SOCKETS". Location where the error was detected: "". Communication function detecting the error: "recv". Protocol specific error ode(s): "*", "*", "0". SQLSTATE=08001

That means we are not using the right DRDA port. The code is available here. Thank you, and happy coding.