August 2009

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Trends and Applications

The concept of database sharding has gained popularity over the past several years due to the enormous growth in transaction volume and size of business-application databases. Database sharding can be simply defined as a "shared-nothing" partitioning scheme for large databases across a number of servers, enabling new levels of database performance and scalability. If you think of broken glass, you can get the concept of sharding—breaking your database down into smaller chunks called "shards" and spreading them across a number of distributed servers.

The data manager's job has never been easy, often presenting significant challenges, including data system rewrites, data security, regulatory compliance, and reporting. And the digital age, with a myriad of new and innovative data sources and more sophisticated analytic models, presents its own unique hurdles to implementing a successful data-management and data-quality program in the modern insurance enterprise.

Insiders, by virtue of their easy access to organizations' information, systems, and networks, pose a significant risk to employers. Every day, there's a new shocking headline concerning a major network security breach caused (knowingly or unknowingly) by a corporate insider. And the number of security breaches that start from within keep growing—particularly in this down economy, as the number of disgruntled employees escalates. You'd think that large organizations in particular would be rushing to protect themselves from such headlines and liability, but they just aren't getting the message. Nor are they taking the necessary steps to protect themselves from a policy and technical standpoint.

There are mainly four kinds of information management professionals in an OLTP environment—data architects, database architects, application DBAs and operational (or production support) DBAs. It should be the aim of an information management professional to master all the four roles and seamlessly shift between them with ease. Once you are able to shift roles easily, be assured that you're adding to the revenue of your business.

Columns - Applications Insight

Attendees at the O'Reilly Velocity conference in June were treated to the unusual phenomenon of a joint presentation by Google and Microsoft. The presentation outlined the results of studies by the two companies on the effects of search response time. Aside from the novelty of Microsoft-Google cooperation, the presentation was notable both in terms of its conclusions and its methodology.

Columns - Database Elaborations

New data modelers often see things as black and white. But rather than being concrete flooring beneath our feet, knowledge is more like a gossamer web that builds up layer upon layer to provide the effect of a solid foundation. We may think we know facts, such as one plus one equals two, or Columbus discovered America in 1492. What we have come to know about our world comprises our own internal knowledge base. We gain much of this knowledge because it has been passed onto us by others, people with experience, parents, educators, clever friends, verbally or in print. But how do we know such items are real, actual, absolute bona fide beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt truths?

Columns - DBA Corner

As the U.S. markets strive for a recovery in 2009, many IT managers are cringing at the thought of managing their data through what may be a record year of mergers and acquisitions. Managing an ever-increasing mountain of data is not a simple task in the best of times, but doing so while combining formerly separate entities during an economic slowdown can be a monumental challenge.

Columns - SQL Server Drill Down

Microsoft SQL Server's relational engine has offered new instrumentation that improves by light years with each new release. The introduction of Dynamic Management Views (DMVs) in SQL Server 2005 provided a much-needed equivalent to Oracle's long-standing and capable V$ and X$ system views. SQL Server 2008 has provided another dramatic improvement to its instrumentation with Extended Events (also known as XEvents) that promises to offer even greater opportunities to tune, trace and troubleshoot the inner workings of a SQL Server application. All of this stands in stark contrast with the anemic instrumentation offered in SQL Server Analysis Services, Microsoft's wonderful multi-dimensional data repository that is a free feature-set within the SQL Server product.

MV Community

Entrinsik, Inc., a provider of innovative, web-based operational reporting and analysis solutions, has named Sharon Shelton to the newly created position of vice president of marketing and Informer sales. The new release of Informer Web Reporting now gives users access to information from multiple systems, platforms, or locations, eliminating data silo constraints with or without a data warehouse, and Shelton will be responsible for leading Entrinsik's Informer sales and overall marketing operations worldwide.

Kore Technologies has announced that Kourier Integrator for U2 Release 2.2.1 is now available. Kourier Integrator for U2 is Kore's enterprise integration suite which provides extract, transform, and load (ETL) and enterprise application integration (EAI) capabilities for connecting IBM U2 applications to Microsoft SQL Server and other best-in-class applications.

Registration is now open for U2 University, the largest U2 event of the year, providing U2 training, certification, and networking resources. U2 University will be held in Denver, Colo., September 16-18; in Liverpool, UK, October 13-15; and in Sydney, Australia, November 17-19.