April 2012

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Trends and Applications

Big Data. It's a term used to characterize those applications that have such enormous data sets, they have exceeded the capabilities and capacities of traditional database management systems. These huge data sets-measured in terabytes, petabytes, exabytes, and zettabytes-must instead span large clusters of servers and storage arrays. Search engine companies were the first to face this situation, and the result is an open source solution called Hadoop.

Winning in today's business world is tougher than ever. Unless companies make better decisions faster than competitors, they are sure to lose market share. The problems facing organizations are challenging and without access to timely, relevant, and up-to-date information, businesses are at a disadvantage. Companies in almost every sector need a complete and accurate view of customers in order to optimize sales revenue opportunities and to optimize customer satisfaction. The economic downturn also means that fraud has been on the rise, especially in information intensive industries like insurance, manufacturing, and retail.

Over the years, organizations tend to acquire more and more applications, usually for good business reasons. However, they often don't have the discipline to remove older, obsolete, or duplicate applications - even when the applications are inflexible and unable to adapt quickly enough to changing business conditions. These older applications generally run on inflexible legacy systems and while their core functions are essential to running the business, they can be a major drag at the same time. All too often, enterprises' applications portfolios are out-of-control, forcing them to waste previous resources supporting technology that has little or no business value.

The database industry is changing. Some internet applications such as search engines and social networks have rolled out their own scale-out technologies, such as NoSQL and MapReduce, effectively ignoring the traditional database, and essentially accusing it of being too underpowered. The database titans in turn remind us why consistency, schemas and query languages matter. Both camps point out considerable weaknesses in each other's approaches. The question is, what will power the future information systems?

Columns - Notes on NoSQL

It's hard to overestimate Amazon's influence on cloud computing and on NoSQL databases. Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the first and still is the leading concrete example of an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud - a collection of cloud-based services such as compute (EC2), storage (S3) and other application building blocks.

Columns - Database Elaborations

Organizations are populated with solutions entitled DW, EDW, BIC, ODS, EIW, IW, CIF, or BW. Why must every organization have a data warehousing or analytics solution identified by monikers from a very limited pool of choices? Why must every deployment of a database that is expected to function as an operational data store be called ODS? For internal solutions it seems that plain and dreary naming approaches are de rigueur. Two and three letter acronyms have long been a part of corporate-speak; but when it comes to IT systems, these TLAs have become exceedingly narrow and soul-less.

Columns - DBA Corner

An important aspect of database security is designing your applications to avoid SQL injection attacks. SQL injection is a form of web hacking whereby SQL statements are specified in the fields of a web form to cause a poorly designed web application to dump database content to the attacker. Stories abound in the news where SQL injection was used for nefarious purposes. Several high-profile cases over the past few years impacted government websites, Microsoft in the U.K., a Swedish election, PBS (the Public Broadcasting System), and Lady Gaga's website (among many others).

Columns - SQL Server Drill Down

Last month, I told you about my favorite master-level blogs for the SQL Server professional. This month, I'm reviewing my favorite blogs for working SQL Server professionals who seriously want to grow their skills. What's the difference between a master-level blog and a practitioner-level blog, you ask?

MV Community

Entrinsik Inc., developer of information management solutions, has announced the winners of its 2012 Operational Business Intelligence (BI) Awards. The awards were presented at a networking luncheon at the 2012 Informer User Conference (ICON) held this year at the Raleigh Marriott City Center in beautiful Raleigh, NC. "Informer is an easy to use, quick to implement operational BI solution designed to support decision making with hard facts, and we've received a flood of award submissions from customers describing in detail how Informer does just that," says Sharon Shelton, vice president of marketing at Entrinsik.

Registration for U2 University 2012 - Denver is now open. Rocket Software's premier customer event for product and technical training will be held May 8-10 at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Denver. This year's event will include informative lectures, more labs than last year, and the popular certification exams that are free with registration. Attendees will be able to meet with members of the Rocket U2 staff and event sponsors, and to network with other U2 customers.