March 2011

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Trends and Applications

Data continues growing rapidly, flowing into enterprises from traditional sources as well as new pipelines fueled by web and social media. Often presented in a range of formats and structures, this data onslaught phenomenon has come to be known as "big data." Companies, educational institutions, and government agencies are striving to meet the management challenge of this data deluge as well as mine this wealth of information for business advantage. In this special section, DBTA asks key vendors to explain their strategies for enabling customers to better handle ever-increasing data stores.

The recent public release of thousands of leaked U.S. State Department cables by WikiLeaks continues to shake up governments across the world. The information captured and sent out to the wild is not only an embarrassment to U.S. government officials whose candid assessments of foreign leaders were exposed but also to the fact that that the organization with the tightest and most comprehensive data security technologies, protocols, and policies in the world unknowingly fell victim to a massive data breach. Can private corporations or smaller government agencies with less-stringent security protocols and standards expect to do any better? Securing data is tough enough, and now, with the increase of initiatives such as virtualization and cloud computing, the odds of loss of control and proliferation of sensitive data become even greater.

A new survey of database administrators and managers reveals that a pervasive culture of complacency hampers information security efforts, and as a result of lax practices and oversight, sensitive data is being left vulnerable to tampering and theft. While tools and technologies provide multiple layers of data security both inside and outside the firewall, organizations appear to lack the awareness and will to make security stick. The study, "Data in the Dark: Organizational Disconnect Hampers Information Security," was conducted by Unisphere Research among 761 members of PASS, the Professional Association for SQL Server, in September 2010. The survey was fielded in partnership with Application Security, Inc.

Relational databases (RDBMSs) have been the dominant data management tool for 30 years. They proved to be a good solution for the capture and management of structured data and fairly reasonable for decision support analysis. Their shortcomings, however, have become increasingly obvious in recent years as unstructured information has begun flooding into the data center.

Columns - Applications Insight

When computers first started to infringe on everyday life, science fiction authors and society in general had high expectations for "intelligent" systems. Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot" series from the 1940s portrayed robots with completely human intelligence and personality, and, in the 1968 movie "2001: A Space Odyssey," the onboard computer HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) had a sufficiently human personality to suffer a paranoid break and attempt to murder the crew!

Columns - Database Elaborations

The understanding of object states and their transitions obviously is of great importance to the solution developers because as processes are built they will need to support each state and every possible transition. Additionally, knowledge of object states and transitions is of vital importance to the data modeler because the data must be persisted across each of those states, and often the state of an object needs to be easily identifiable. A data model minimally requires a reference table, along with the varying entities that reference that table (the foreign keys tracking an individual object's status). Specific states drive variations of required attributes or combinations of those attributes that apply to one state and not another. The logical definition of the database can identify these variations through the use of supertype/subtype constructs.

Columns - The Open DBA

2010 was a very good year for open source databases, with the top RDBMSs like Oracle's MySQL and PostgreSQL showing momentum with impressive customer gains and new releases that delivered much-desired functionality. Everything points to similar energy in 2011 with the top analyst groups and big-name system integrators like Accenture proclaiming "the coming age of open source." A study done by Accenture in late 2010 showed that more than two-thirds of organizations anticipate increased investment in open source, with more than one-third expecting to migrate mission-critical software to open source in the next 12 months.

Columns - DBA Corner

One of the ongoing goals of database administration is to minimize downtime and improve availability. If the DBMS is down, data cannot be accessed. If the data is not available, applications cannot run. And if your applications cannot run, your company is losing business. Lost business translates into lower earnings and perhaps even a lower stock valuation for your company. These are all detrimental to the business and therefore, the DBA is called upon to do everything in his or her power to ensure that databases are kept online and operational.

Columns - SQL Server Drill Down

Microsoft extended support for all editions of SQL Server 7.0 ended on Jan. 11. Considering that this edition was initially replaced 11 years ago by SQL Server 2000 (and there have been three more major releases since), this may not seem to be big news. However, I'm always amazed by the number of DBAs I meet who are still responsible for keeping a few instances of this, or even version 6.5, running in production.

MV Community

BlueFinity International demonstrated how to create a simple SSIS transformation to move MultiValue data into MS SQL Server using mv.SSIS recently during a webinar.According to BlueFinity, Microsoft SQL Server's tool set called SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) provides a rich environment for developers to define how external data is to be imported into an SQL database. SSIS is a graphical tool which runs inside Visual Studio and allows data importing activities to be built for purposes such as data mining, data migration, reporting and OLAP.

Marc Kahn Software LLC has announced the product launch of the Multi-Value Phantom Job Processor (MVPJP). According to the company, MVPJP helps to increase the efficiency of operations by scheduling and automating jobs to be run in the background. It runs as an application within a MultiValue database environment and is designed to be managed by non-technical personnel.

Revelation Software has announced the availability of the latest release of OpenInsight Development Suite (OI), version 9.2.1, and the Universal Driver 4.7. OI 9.2.1 features OpenInsight for Web v.1.1. (O4W), a new version of the web 2.0 development toolkit that enables OpenInsight and MultiValue developers to rapidly create browser based forms, reports, menus, dashboards and programs. Additionally, in OI 9.2.1, Source Code Management (SCM), a new feature, enables source code to be grouped into modules and saved as a unique version as the code is compiled. With the new release, the system editor has also been redesigned to improve speed and functionality; and the U2 connector has been redesigned to utilize the UniObjects .NET library instead of the Intercall libraries, a change that allows the implementation of connection pooling.