January 2012

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Trends and Applications

"Big data" and analytics have become the rage within the executive suite. The promise is immense - harness all the available information within the enterprise, regardless of data model or source, and mine it for insights that can't be seen any other way. In short, senior managers become more effective at business planning, spotting emerging trends and opportunities and anticipating crises because they have the means to see both the metaphorical trees and the forest at the same time. However, big data technologies don't come without a cost.

The argument that "everyone is doing it and you should too" holds no value for strategic decision-making in IT. Yet critical thinking often goes by the wayside when a hot, new trend catches on and it seems like the masses are following along. Cloud computing is certainly in vogue - most industry analysts are bullish on cloud computing adoption and anticipate enterprise spending to increase - but organizations need to steer clear of falling into the trap that moving to the cloud always delivers cost savings.

CIOs and IT departments are on the frontlines of a monumental IT shift. With the number of mobile devices and applications exploding and bandwidth soaring, they are being asked to find ways to enable the brave new world of enterprise mobility. All involved - from users to IT - recognize the productivity and business efficiency benefits of this trend, but it is typically only IT that also recognizes the dangers unchecked mobility poses to sensitive corporate data.

Columns - Applications Insight

Along with thousands of IT professionals, I was in the San Francisco Moscone Center main hall last October listening to Larry Ellison's 2011 Oracle Open world keynote. Larry can always be relied upon to give an entertaining presentation, a unique blend of both technology insights and amusingly disparaging remarks about competitors.

Columns - Database Elaborations

Retaining the particulars of change over time is a fairly intricate configuration. Audit log or shadow tables are sometimes employed, but on occasion there is a need for the "old" and "new" rows to exist in a single operation table for application use. Far too often, the implementation of temporal data structures is shoddy, loose, and imprecise; rather than the fairly complex dance move such temporal arrangements must perform in actuality. The sub-optimal result is much like one's performance of the Funky Chicken at a friend's wedding; the desired moves are mimicked, after a fashion, but it is unlikely to earn high marks on "So You Think You Can Dance." The usual temporal implementation simply slaps on start and stop dates, debates a little over default date values versus NULLs, then moves on to the next subject.

Columns - DBA Corner

At the outset of each new year, I devote an edition of my column to review the significant data and database-related events of the previous year. Of course, to meet my deadlines, the column is written before the year is over (this column is being written in November 2011), so please excuse any significant news that may have happened late in December.

Columns - SQL Server Drill Down

Let's tie together the last several columns on "2012 Might Really be The End of the World." In this series, I discussed several megatrends in the general IT industry that will have a tremendous impact on the database administration (DBA) profession. The megatrends include both software-related (virtualization and cheap cloud database services) and hardware-related (SSDs and massively multi-core CPUs). These technologies have the potential to obviate many of the core competencies of the DBA, with the first two eliminating or lessening the need for server and hardware configuration and provisioning, and the last two diminishing the need for IO tuning and query tuning, respectively. But those are trends that will take years to reach fruition. What about the near future?

MV Community

Revelation Software has released the latest version of OpenInsight Development Suite (OI), which provides a range of new components, including data encryption at rest, OpenInsight for Web (O4W) v1.2, a new banded report writer, extended math functions, as well as the OI for D3/mvBase connector.

In line with its tradition of tracking Microsoft technological initiatives, BlueFinity has announced it is improving its business objects component (Solution Objects) to provide better support for data middle-tiers, such as ASP.NET MVC and web services feeding data to mobile devices. This additional support will include performance optimizations and dictionary-free access to MultiValue database content. "These enhancements will provide MultiValue developers with an even greater opportunity to create solutions for an ever increasing range of platforms and devices" says David Coooper, lead developer at BlueFinity. "Allowing MultiValue databases to continue being the foundation of an incredible range of line-of-business applications around the globe."

Kore Technologies, a provider of enterprise integration and e-commerce solutions with extensive expertise in MultiValue technology, has introduced new enhancements to KommerceServer e-commerce Suite. Built with Microsoft .NET technology and Microsoft SQL Server, KommerceServer provides web storefront and portal solutions that help enterprises to extend their reach over the internet.

Entrinsik Inc., developer of web-based reporting and analysis solutions, has announced the availability of new SQL functionality for its Informer software. The new Informer Native SQL reporting enables greater scalability and flexibility to organizations using Informer against SQL databases.