May 2011

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Trends and Applications

North American businesses are collectively losing $26.5 billion in revenue each year as a result of slow recovery from IT system downtime, according to a recent study. To protect against unexpected outages, IT organizations attempt to prepare by creating redundant backup systems, duplicating every layer in their existing infrastructure and preparing elaborate disaster recovery processes. This approach is expensive and only partly effective, as demonstrated by the string of notable outages, and can be seen, at best, as a way to minimize downtime. Major social networking companies, such as Google and Facebook, have figured out how to scale ut application stacks rather than scale up vertically.

River Parishes Community College (RPCC) is an open-admission, 2-year, public institution. It is located in the small Ascension Parish town of Sorrento in what is known as the River Parishes region of the state because of the parishes' proximity to the Mississippi River. RPCC recently implemented a new self-service student portal based on Revelation Software's Web 2.0 toolkit, OpenInsight for Web (O4W). The new portal allows students to accomplish a range of tasks on their own, such as scheduling classes, without requiring assistance from school administrators.

Big data provides new opportunities to improve customer care, unearth business insights, control operational costs, and in some cases, enable entirely new business models. By having access to larger and broader data sets, you can improve forecasts and projections for the business. A healthcare organization can conduct longitudinal analysis against years of data for patients treated with coronary attacks in order to improve care and speed time to recovery. A retailer can conduct deeper analysis on buying behavior during recessionary times if they have access to large data sets collected during the last economic downturn. Additionally, organizations across many sectors, such as communications, financial services and utilities, face significant regulatory and legal requirements for retaining and providing fast access to historical data for inquiries, audits and reporting.

Through the many changes in IT over the years, one constant has always been a concern for performance. With database systems there is especially true. Even with the many advances in relational database technology, SQL performance still remains a key concern for IT professionals and management. Writing SQL for performance is one of the single biggest opportunities for professionals to contribute efficient, effective, cost saving deliverables to projects. Writing SQL for performance can also avoid having to respond to an urgent problem with performance in a production environment. To a considerable extent, a person can choose whether they are running because it is lunch or whether they are running because they are lunch, by following a few simple techniques for writing SQL for performance.

Columns - Applications Insight

The rise of "big data" solutions - often involving the increasingly common Hadoop platform - together with the growing use of sophisticated analytics to drive business value - such as collective intelligence and predictive analytics - has led to a new category of IT professional: the data scientist.

Columns - Database Elaborations

Tables within a database management system (DBMS) need primary keys and defined indexes in order for the DBMS to have the opportunity to provide good query performance. Without indexing, the worst possible query performance is guaranteed. The content of these non-keyed tables remains unknown to the DBMS, a black box, where the only possible approach for query execution is to read every row one-by-one. Under such scenarios, the DBMS is little more than a file server that operates more slowly than usual. Without the primary key and indexing, the DBMS may expend even more processor cycles in moving data in and out of the DBMS proprietary storage areas than a file server uses in opening files.

Columns - DBA Corner

Design reviews are an important facet of the system development lifecycle for database applications. It is during the design review that all aspects of the database and application code are reviewed for efficiency, effectiveness, and accuracy. It is imperative that all database applications, regardless of their size, are reviewed to assure that the application was design properly, efficient coding techniques were used, and the database is accessed and modified correctly and efficiently. The design review is an important process for checking the validity of design decisions and correcting errors before applications and databases are promoted to production status.

Columns - SQL Server Drill Down

I have been working with SQL Server for more than 10 years now, and my time with Quest has been spent as a consultant visiting hundreds of customer sites, and discussing their environments and matching products to their issues. This has given me a fairly unique insight into how SQL Server is changing. It has also been intriguing to work closely with colleagues from the Oracle world, and seeing how their opinion of SQL Server has changed. They now take it very seriously, something I like to think I have played a positive part in! The most striking trend I have noticed is the lack of expertise in some environments when using SQL Server. I can confidently say you are extremely unlikely to run an Oracle database without an Oracle DBA. However, in the SQL Server world this practice seems to be commonplace.

MV Community

BlueFinity International, a member of the Mpower1 Group of Companies, has announced that mv.NET Solution Objects was recently selected as best new technology innovation of the year by a panel of judges at a recent MultiValue conference.

InterSystems Corporation, which develops and markets advanced integration, database and business intelligence technologies, has announced the winners of its 2011 Innovator Awards, which recognize those who use InterSystems technologies in new ways to create innovative applications and integration solutions. Winners were recognized at the InterSystems Global Summit 2011 conference.

Rocket U2 has introduced the U2 Migration Factory, which facilitates the migration of legacy MultiValue solutions to U2. The U2 Migration Factory combines an Automated Migration Tool (AMT) with the expertise of migration specialists who have completed more than one thousand successful migrations. Any application running on another MultiValue database would qualify as a candidate for the U2 Migration Factory, "but would you believe there are people still running on Ultimate? We want to provide a simple, low-cost path for them and others to move to the most robust, feature-rich offering in the MultiValue world," Susie Siegesmund, vice president and general manager, Rocket U2, tells DBTA.

NorthgateArinso is planning a series of webinars focused on Reality, the company's MultiValue SQL-enabled database environment. The complimentary webinars will be presented by Mark Fuller, director of technology, Reality USA, who has more than 20 years' experience with Reality.