June 2011

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Trends and Applications

Jaded IT professionals and managers, as well as market analysts, weary and wary from decades of overblown analyst claims about emerging new technologies, "paradigm shifts" and "enchanted quadrants," will take heart in a new series of Unisphere Research studies being released over the next several months. The first of these, "The Post-Relational Reality Sets In: 2011 Survey on Unstructured Data," has just been released, and tackles the current dimensions and impact of unstructured data on enterprise IT practices, technologies, policies, purchasing priorities and the evaluation of new technologies.

Is the day of reckoning for big data upon us? To many observers, the growth in data is nothing short of incomprehensible. Data is streaming into, out of, and through enterprises from a dizzying array of sources-transactions, remote devices, partner sites, websites, and nonstop user-generated content. Not only are the data stores resulting from this information driving databases to scale into the terabyte and petabyte range, but they occur in an unfathomable range of formats as well, from traditional structured, relational data to message documents, graphics, videos, and audio files.

When you think of mission-critical services, perhaps none is as critical as electrical service. Not much can happen in modern businesses, government offices, or even homes without it. Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) is the largest electric company in Vermont. More than 159,000 customers in 163 communities rely on the electrical service CVPS provides. And, according to J.D. Power and Associates, a global marketing and surveying company, for overall customer satisfaction, CVPS continues to rank in the top tier of utilities in the eastern region, more than 50 points above the regional average.

Columns - Notes on NoSQL

Both HBase and Cassandra can deal with large data sets, and provide high transaction rates and low latency lookups. Both allow map-reduce processing to be run against the database when aggregation or parallel processing is required. Why then, would a merge of Cassandra and Hadoop be a superior solution?

Columns - Database Elaborations

Occasionally, one sees a data structure abomination. This atrocity involves an object of almost any type, in almost any database wherein the object has a start date but no end date. It is not that the finish date currently has no value and is null; it is that the end date does not even exist on the table structure. The stop date was never intended to exist. The object in question starts, but it doesn't ever end.

Columns - The Open DBA

I just got back from the very well done 2011 MySQL Conference put on by O'Reilly out in Santa Clara, California. I believe this was my sixth time at the MySQL show, although this year it was somewhat of a different experience for me. This time, instead of representing the MySQL band of merry men (and women), being that I am now at EnterpriseDB, I was promoting PostgreSQL. In fact, if you want to hear something really strange: EnterpriseDB was the only diamond sponsor of the event. A PostgreSQL vendor? The diamond sponsor at a software show catering primarily to MySQL professionals? What gives?

Columns - DBA Corner

The DBA, often respected as a database guru, is just as frequently criticized as a curmudgeon with technical knowledge but limited people skills. Most programmers have their favorite DBA story. You know, those anecdotes that begin with "I had a problem ..." and end with "... and then he told me to stop bothering him and read the manual." DBAs do not have a warm and fuzzy image. This may have something to do with the nature and scope of the job. The DBMS spans the enterprise, effectively placing the DBA on call for the applications of the entire organization. Database issues can require periods of quiet reflection and analysis to resolve, so DBAs generally do not want to be disturbed. But their quiet time is usually less than quiet; constant interruptions to answer questions and solve problems are a daily fact of life.

Columns - SQL Server Drill Down

One of the things I repeatedly encounter when speaking to database professionals working with Microsoft SQL Server is that many of them simply don't know about some of the most elementary and fundamental means of investigating SQL Server performance. For example, I recently created a popular poster for Quest Software that shows all of the most meaningful and useful Windows Performance Monitor (PerfMon) counters. Now friends, PerfMon has been with us since Windows NT Server, and yet, PerfMon counters are a mystery to at least half of the DBAs I meet. Half!

MV Community

Rocket U2 has recently posted additional recorded webinars to its site at www.rs.com/u2/resources/media-casts/webinars, providing users with good way to learn about new product features at a time that is convenient to you. They also allow users to replay a session, should they want to refresh their memory.

J.W. Terrill, which provides property and casualty, and employee benefit products and services, has selected Entrinik's Informer software for its automated scheduling and distribution capabilities, Live Excel integration capabilities and multiple output operations. The agency is using Vertafore's Sagitta agency management system and had been manually creating and distributing recurring reports, and using Excel to customize the reports and create-user specific versions. They would then distribute the reports via email attachments.

MITS, a provider of advanced reporting and analytics solutions, has announced the addition of John Podrebarac to the MITS sales team in the role of account manager.