January 2013

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Trends and Applications

The recent explosion of digital data has affected businesses of all sizes and has opened opportunities for companies that adopt machine learning technology - including predictive analytics - to mine intelligence from data assets. Predictive analytics has the potential to transform traditional small to medium businesses (SMBs), which have the same desire to take better advantage of their data assets as larger organizations - but the process with which they can glean strategic value from that data is significantly different.

The emergence of web-scale apps has put us in the midst of a database crisis. Mobile apps, cloud-based SaaS/PaaS architectures and the distributed nature of the web have forced the software industry to make difficult compromises on how they collect, process and store data. While traditional databases provide the power and simplicity of SQL and the reliability of ACID, they don't scale without herculean-inspired workarounds. Newer, NoSQL solutions come close but don't quite make the last mile. They're designed to scale elastically, even on commodity hardware, but force developers to program powerful querying features into their application and throw away years of learning SQL skills, tools and languages. To give developers a truly modern solution for this century, we need to rethink how we process the collection and storage of data. It's time for a revolution.

As organizations strive to deliver always-on access to applications users, it can be challenging to provide authorized access while simultaneously protecting against cyber-attacks. To address these challenges, two novel solutions combine the power of application delivery controllers (ADCs) with web access management (WAM) and database security technologies.

Columns - Applications Insight

Coverage of Windows 8 has understandably focused on the revolutionary Metro interface. Many believe that this new interface, while fine for tablets and phones, is a step backwards for desktop productivity. By forcing users to switch between two modes of operation - desktop and Metro, Windows 8 diminishes productivity and imposes steep learning curve on new users. The Metro interface itself supports only very limited multi-tasking, so, serious work often must be done in the traditional Windows desktop. Microsoft implicitly acknowledges these limitations by providing the latest version of Microsoft Office, not in Metro format, but as traditional "desktop" applications.

Columns - Database Elaborations

Multi-dimensional design involves dividing the world into dimensions and facts. However, like many aspects of language, the term "fact" is used in multiple ways. Initially, the term referred to the table structure housing the numeric values for the metrics to be analyzed. But "fact" also is used to refer to the metric values themselves. Therefore, when the unique circumstances arise wherein a fact table is defined that does not contain specific numeric measures, such a structure is referred to by the superficially oxymoronic characterization of a "factless fact."

Columns - DBA Corner

Each new year, this column looks back over the most significant data and database-related events of the previous year. Keeping in mind that this column is written before the year is over (in November 2012) to meet publication deadlines, let's dive into the year that was in data.

Columns - SQL Server Drill Down

Let's talk about database application benchmarking. This is a skill set which, in my opinion, is one of the major differentiators between a journeyman-level DBA and a true master of the trade. In this article, I'll be giving you a brief introduction to TPC benchmarks and, in future articles, I'll be telling you how to extract specific tidbits of very valuable information from the published benchmark results. But let's get started with an overview.

MV Community

Revelation Software has announced that David Hendershot has joined the company as member of its software development team. David has been a MultiValue programmer working primarily on the Universe platform for 10 years. He has supported the CUBS software package for a tax /medical collection agency in Pennsylvania, and started his MultiValue career at Market America helping develop the back end of their web site which also ran on the Universe database platform.

To help satisfy its customers' need for reports providing information and insights, F.W. Davison & Company has embedded Entrinsik Informer's agile BI capabilities into its platform and also developed more than 1,200 core report templates, writes Sharon Shelton, Entrinsik's vice president of marketing, in a recent blog post. F.W. Davison is a provider of high-performance software solutions for professional employer organizations, and sells its software to human resources outsourcing vendors, some of which have hundreds of thousands of small business clients.

To improve quality and time to market for new features in the U2 product line, going forward, Rocket U2 will have two separate development labs: U2 Database Servers and U2 Tools, according to Susie Siegesmund, vice president and general manager, Rocket Software. Each lab will comprise development, QA, product management, information development and support, and from a customer perspective, there will be little, if any, change. However, the reorganization will change the management team, and some of the individuals with whom customers interact.