July 2010

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Trends and Applications

Mid-sized businesses are using and saving more data than ever before. Indeed, the phenomenon that IT engineers have come to refer to as "big data" is being felt in businesses of all sizes. At the same time, however, organizations are facing reduced budgets. Regardless of how much data their likely overburdened IT staff must manage today and tomorrow, mid-sized businesses must find ways to save money by keeping a tight rein on both capital and operational expenditures.

Everybody seems to agree with the need for organizations to do a better job of protecting personal information. Every week the media brings us reports of more data breaches, and no organization is immune. Hospitals, universities, insurers, retailers, and state and federal agencies all have been the victims of breach events, often at significant costs. State privacy laws such as the new Massachusetts privacy statutes have placed the burden of protecting sensitive information squarely on the shoulders of the organizations that collect and use it. While some managers might view this as yet one more compliance hurdle to worry about, we feel it presents an excellent opportunity to evaluate existing practices and procedures. The good news is that there are some great solutions available today that can help organizations of all stripes address these requirements while at the same time tightening data security practices, streamlining operations, and improving governance.

Oracle has introduced Oracle Business Intelligence 11g. "The new release allows customers to integrate relational and OLAP analysis across a multitude of different federated data sources and presents that in a very simple way to end users so that they can do analysis on their own without understanding or needing to know that there might be potentially multiple data sources beneath," Paul Rodwick, vice president of product management for Oracle Business Intelligence, tells DBTA. Representing the result of a large investment in simplifying the end user experience, adds Rodwick, companies will see "very interactive dashboards that are completely live and completely interconnected and allow business people to do their own analysis without really needing to go into any kind of query tool." The new release also provides new capablities for search and collaboration, and enhanced performance, scalability, and security through deeper integration with Oracle Enterprise Manager 11g and other components of Oracle Fusion Middleware.

Despite its many advances, the modern data center is still a complicated mess of technology silos and components that are manually cobbled together and managed. This complexity imposes tremendous operational burden and cost. Fortunately, data centers are going through a major transformation, driven in large part by virtualization. This sea change promises to simplify and automate management, allowing IT to focus less on data center plumbing and more on delivering IT services that drive the business forward.

Columns - Applications Insight

In biology, we are taught that survival favors diversity. Organisms that reproduce without variation die out during periods of rapid change, while organisms that show variation in feature tend to survive and adapt. Likewise, ecosystems consisting of relatively few homogenous species thrive only when conditions stay static. Does IT diversity create a competitive advantage in the business application ecosystem? Predictably, large vendors with vertically integrated stacks argue that mixing software components is a Bad Thing. These vendors claim that reducing the diversity in the application stack leads to better efficiency and maintainability.

Columns - Database Elaborations

When integrating data, evaluating objects from multiple sources aids in determining their equivalence. Each source may identify customers, but determining which customer from each system represents the same customer can prove daunting. Sometimes matching things is straight-forward; for example, if all sources should have an accurate social security number or taxpayer ID, success involves simply linking the matching numbers.

Columns - DBA Corner

In this issue's column I'll be providing a fundamental introduction to database and database management concepts. Many of you may think that they understand the basic concepts and fundamentals of database technology. But quite a few of you likely do not, so please do not skip over this. First of all, what is a database? DB2 is not a database; neither are Informix, Oracle and SQL Server. Each of these is a DBMS, or Database Management System. You can use DB2 (or Informix or SQL Server) to create a database, but DB2, in and of itself, is not a database.

Columns - SQL Server Drill Down

Compliance - A Key Element of a Data Management Strategy

MV Community

BlueFinity International, a member of the Mpower1 group of companies, has made enhancements to mv.NET, an extensive toolset designed for creating Microsoft .NET-based applications requiring access to MultiValue logic and databases. The latest release, version 4.2, brings key additions to BlueFinity's flagship product, including support for Visual Studio 2010, support for Silverlight application development, and a new data-linked XAML Form Creation Tool.

Maxwell Systems, a provider of complete construction business management software solutions, and Entrinsik, a provider of operational reporting and analysis solutions, are partnering to offer Maxwell Systems' clients Informer Web Reporting, a powerful web-based reporting and analysis solution that provides technical, business, and front-line users with real-time access to information from multiple systems, platforms, or locations.

ONware is now offering the ability to use PostgreSQL as a database system for applications developed for U2, D3, MVON and other MultiValue and PICK database environments. The new support for PostgreSQL has been added based on feedback from prospective customers in the MultiValue world, Jack Roth, director of operations, ONgroup, tells 5 Minute Briefing. Roth notes that he has come across a number of companies that have other development in their organizations in Postgres. "They like Postgres and if they can support one database as opposed to two very dissimilar databases, that is an advantage for them," he explains.

UniVerse 11.1, scheduled for release in Q3 of this year, will include the External Database Access functionality that already exists in UniData. EDA allows users to map files to the format for another database, and then write directly to it. UniData EDA originally shipped with just a driver for DB2. "We released the API for building additional drivers with UniData 7.2. Once we were acquired by Rocket, we committed to delivering a driver for Microsoft SQL Server. Now we're in the process of building a driver that will work with Oracle," Susie Siegesmund, vice president and general manager, Rocket U2, tells 5 Minute Briefing. Rocket U2 is now looking for people who want to help by testing the driver with their application.