February 2010

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Trends and Applications

There's no question that databases are the heart of nearly every application running these days. Moreover, the information stored in databases is now being routinely used as a competitive and operational business weapon by all businesses and organizations regardless of size or industry. Whether used internally in business intelligence applications or utilized externally via the exposure of data tools that let customers view and search through vast amounts of data on websites, data is being maximized in many different ways.

Managing and measuring costs has taken on a new urgency with the emergence of virtualization and new computing models. With virtualization, customers get a shared infrastructure that shifts the cost from a clear 1:1 relationship between servers, applications and users to a more dynamic model. We're just beginning to realize the tremendous impact this has on cost management and measurement in the data center. To make effective decisions about how to deploy resources, the business needs to clearly understand the associated costs.

When the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) was first enacted in 2002 in the wake of several very visible accounting scandals, small to medium enterprises may have felt they dodged a very expensive bullet. The requirement to document processes for governance, risk management and compliance (GRC), and have them confirmed by outside auditors only applied to publicly traded companies. Unlike their publicly traded brethren, SMEs were not forced to purchase costly GRC software, did not have to re-direct resources from their normal daily tasks to prepare for audits, and did not have to change their methods of operation to comply with a government mandate.

Columns - Applications Insight

In 1995, Netscape founder Marc Andreessen famously claimed that applications of the future would run within a web browser, relegating the role of the operating system - Windows, in particular - to "a poorly debugged set of device drivers." Fifteen years later, we can see that although rich applications such as Microsoft Office are still dominant, the web browser has become a platform that can deliver almost any conceivable type of business or consumer application.

Columns - Database Elaborations

Designing a data model that supports the reporting and analytical functions is no different, initially, than any other modeling effort. Understanding the data is crucial. The data architect or modeler needs to feel comfortable with dimensional modeling techniques and needs to obtain a working knowledge of the universe of discourse for the subject-at-hand. A good start in gathering this knowledge begins by reviewing the operational data structures containing the identified source elements. The challenge in designing analytical solutions is found in applying best practices for analytics simply and effectively.

Columns - DBA Corner

Have you ever read those inserts that your bank, credit card providers, insurance company, mutual fund company, and others slip inside your statements and bills? We all get them. You know, those flimsy pieces of paper, printed in small type and written in convoluted English. I have started collecting them - sort of like baseball cards. But I doubt they'll ever be valuable. They are entertaining, though ... and disheartening.

Columns - SQL Server Drill Down

One fall semester many years ago, I was a university freshman. Actually, I was anything but "fresh." I was dumb enough to think that 8 a.m. was a wonderful time to attend Economics 101. After staying up until the wee hours most every night, the "dismal science" took on more than one meaning as I set my clock just early enough to get to class on time. Along with 30 other very naïve classmates, I staggered into class and did my bleary-eyed best to focus on the lessons at hand. There were lots of Greek compound words and lots of graphs. I learned, for example, that the word economics derives from the Greek "oikonomikos," which means, approximately, "death by slidedecks" and, specifically, "house" (oikos) and "management" (mikos). I barely survived the experience and never took an 8 a.m. class again. Imagine my surprise, then, when a lesson I'd learned (and promptly forgotten) all those years ago jumped back into my consciousness late last year.

MV Community

Information Capital (InfoCap), a systems integrator specializing in the development and integration of local government data processing solutions, has added Ladybridge Systems' OpenQM to the databases compatible with its 4GL, fourth-tier WTK application development tool. "We see this agreement as having the potential to make QM a major player in U.S. local government systems," Martin Phillips, technical director of Ladybridge Systems, tells DBTA.

Members of Entrinsik's product development team have been selected to demonstrate their use of the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) in the development of the latest release of Informer Web Reporting at the upcoming Google I/O Developer Conference. This marks the second year in a row the Entrinsik team has been selected to partiipate in the conference. The two-day event will be held on May 19-20 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco and Entrinsik developers will be demonstrating Informer in the Developers Sandbox.

Fortis Bank Nederland's Singapore office has gone live with banking system provider Temenos' T24 platform utilizing jBASE technology. The process was completed in 5 months and was driven by Fortis Bank Nederland's (FBN) separation from its Belgian counterpart. It marks the first stage of a consolidation process which will see the T24 system rolled out internationally from a central hub in the Netherlands. The bank now plans to extend T24 to offices in the U.K., U.S., Hong Kong and continental Europe and expects to complete the project by the third quarter of 2010.

There are still a few exhibitor opportunities available for the 2010 Users Conference, which will be held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., April 27-30. Exhibitors have the opportunity to book a booth or table top and sponsorships include admission for one attendee with a second attendee free, as well as additional amenities.

Rocket Software has announced that a new version of the SystemBuilder Extensible Architecture (SB/XA) Personal Edition is available for customers now using Personal Editions of UniData or UniVerse. This new version incorporates all the features and benefits provided in SB/XA 6.0.1. SB/XA 6.0.1, released in November 2009, is designed to maximize its customers' investments in U2 technology. SB/XA is a Rapid Application Development (RAD) and deployment environment that delivers up-to-the-minute interface design and portable reporting capabilities. Existing SB+ applications can automatically convert without requiring changes to the underlying code.