September 2011

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Trends and Applications

As companies learn to embrace "big data" - terabytes and gigabytes of bits and bytes, strung across constellations of databases - they face a new challenge: making the data valuable to the business. To accomplish this, data needs to be brought together to give decision makers a more accurate view of the business. "Data is dirty and it's hard work; it requires real skills to understand data semantics and the different types of approaches required for different data problems," Lawrence Fitzpatrick, president of Computech, Inc., tells DBTA. "It's too easy to see data as ‘one thing.' "

Smartphones, tablets and other handhelds are changing the way companies do business. And when these revolutionary devices can be combined with existing tried-and-true software for evolutionary change, as opposed to ripping and replacing, the results are even better.

As data grows, the reflex reaction within many organizations is to buy and install more disk storage. Smart approaches are on the horizon but still only prevalent among a minority of companies. How is it data has grown so far so fast? Technology growth along the lines of Moore's Law (doubling every 18 months) has made petabyte-capable hardware and software a reality. And data growth itself appears to be keeping pace with the hardware and systems. In fact, a petabyte's worth of data is almost commonplace, as shown in a new survey conducted by Unisphere Research among members of the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG). In "The Petabyte Challenge: 2011 IOUG Database Growth Survey," close to 1 out of 10 respondents report that the total amount of online (disk-resident) data they manage today-taking into account all clones, snapshots, replicas and backups-now tops a petabyte.

Columns - Applications Insight

The term "machine learning" evokes visions of massive super computers that eventually turn on and enslave humanity - think SkyNet from Terminator or HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey. But the truth is that machine learning algorithms are common in web applications that we use every day and have a growing relevance to enterprise applications.

Columns - Database Elaborations

When assembling a database design, one of the keys for success is consistency. There should be more than just similarity in the way things are named, the manner in which tables or groups of tables are constructed; the manifestation of these elements should follow standards and practices that are documented and understood. If one tries to rely on the idea that individual developers will simply look at existing tables and glean standards via osmosis as they add on or create new tables, then one does not actually have any standards at all.

Columns - DBA Corner

Cost containment is an important IT department goal in this day and age of financial austerity. Every decision regarding your computing environment must be weighed not only against the value it can deliver to your organization but also upon its cost to procure, implement, and maintain. If a positive return on investment cannot be rapidly delivered, then the software (or hardware) won't be adopted.

Columns - SQL Server Drill Down

Two columns ago, I started a series of articles pointing out that tough times might be in the future for the DBA profession because of major disruptive changes happening in the wider IT world (see "2012 Might Really Be the End of the World as We Know It"). Last issue, I spoke about the Solid State Disk and how it's changing the way we have to deal with and troubleshoot IO performance (see "The Changing State of Hardware" in the August E-Edition of DBTA). This time, I want to talk about computing power and multicore CPUs. Moore's Law famously states that the numbers of transistors in an integrated circuit will double every 18-24 months.

Columns - MySQL Musings

As the world's most popular open source database, MySQL's speed, reliability, and ease of use have made user-generated content and social media available to the masses. In the 18 months since the Oracle acquisition of MySQL, Oracle continues to develop MySQL internally and integrate community patches. Under Oracle's stewardship, MySQL released its first new major version in 2 years.

MV Community

NorthgateArinso has received another seal of approval after guiding credit information powerhouse National Group Management Corp. through a problem - free migration to Reality, the company's MultiValue SQL-enabled database environment.

Rocket's free U2 DataVu Query tool has been enhanced with new capabilities to combine users' queries and results. Users can filter and quickly create charts with just a couple of clicks. In addition, a new quick-start wizard guides users through the steps to connect to U2 data. Separately, Rocket Software announced that Heather Smiles has joined the U2 team as marketing manager.

Data is being used, viewed and entered everywhere by people using a range of devices, writes Mike Ruane, president and CEO of Revelation Software, in an open letter to Revelation users on the company website. And increasingly, he notes, Revelation's users and customers are beginning to expect access to their data whenever they want it, wherever they want it.