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May 2012

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Trends and Applications

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.

The term "big data" refers to the massive amounts of data being generated on a daily basis by businesses and consumers alike - data which cannot be processed using conventional data analysis tools owing to its sheer size and, in many case, its unstructured nature. Convinced that such data hold the key to improved productivity and profitability, enterprise planners are searching for tools capable of processing big data, and information technology providers are scrambling to develop solutions to accommodate new big data market opportunities.

There has been a significant change in the IT world recently; solution developers no longer believe the answer to all data management challenges is a relational database. After 40 years, data management was considered to be a quiet part of IT where the products and providers were firmly decided. It is evident that information management has again become quite dynamic with a broad set of solutions offering new options for managing the big data challenges of today.

Big data has become a big topic for 2012. It's not only the size, but also the complexity of formats and speed of delivery of data that is starting to exceed the capabilities of traditional data management technologies, requiring the use of new or exotic technologies simply to manage the volume alone. In recent years, the democratization of analytics and business intelligence (BI) solutions has become a major driving force for data warehousing, resulting in the use of self-service data marts. One major implication of big data is that in the future, users will not be able to put all useful information into a single data warehouse. Logical data warehouses bringing together information from multiple sources as needed is replacing the single data warehouse model. Combined with the fact that enterprise IT departments are continually moving towards distributed computing environments, the need for IT process automation to automate and execute the integration and movement of data between these disparate sources is more important than ever.

Columns - Applications Insight

Websites such as MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn have brought social networking and the concept of online community to a huge cross-section of our society. Penetration and usage of these platforms may vary depending on demographic (age and geography, in particular), but no one can debate the impact of Facebook and Twitter on both everyday life and on society in general.

Columns - Database Elaborations

It seems only reasonable that what one person can do, others can learn. On the other hand, taking people through training does not usually result in the creation of great new database administrators (DBAs). It often appears as if those who are exceptional at the craft operate at higher levels as they dive into a problem. Can training alone provide folks with the attention to detail, the urge to keep digging, or the ability to recall minutiae that allow them to rise from simply holding the DBA title to becoming someone who is a great DBA? Or must the genetic potential exist first, and then one might fall into the DBA occupation and astound those around them. It is very hard to say with any degree of certainty whether great DBAs are made or born; yet again the battle between nature and nurture arises.

Columns - DBA Corner

Every now and then some sage consultant will offer advice like "Large tables should be partitioned" or "Be sure to use static SQL for your applications with high volume transaction workloads." But how useful is this advice? What do they mean by large and high volume? Terms such as these are nebulous and ever changing. Just what is a large database today?

Columns - My View

In the beginning, information was unknown. Eventually, the growing populace absorbed information as it was passed on by each generation person to person, but only the elite had access to that knowledge base. King James and Guttenberg made that information more accessible to the general public but still, access to information was very limited. Galileo, the famous Italian physicist, mathematician and astronomer, originally published his finding in Latin that proved the world was in reality round not flat. Even though this science contradicted church doctrine, the population remained apathetic. When Galileo then published those same findings in Italian, he was excommunicated. By sharing this knowledge outside the "inner circle" he became an outcast. The world was not quite ready to share the "knowledge base" with the common man. As time passed, the ability of the privileged to keep the knowledge base contained to a privileged few waned.

MV Community

PK, a software firm based in The Netherlands, has been recognized with the InterSystems Award for Breakthrough Applications. PK, an InterSystems application partner, was recognized for its CU-BOX mobile application for real-time emergency services response measurement. CU-BOX uses the InterSystems CACHÉ high-performance database system and InterSystems Ensemble rapid integration and development platform to provide critical, objective information about the quality of emergency healthcare delivery.

OpenInsight Development Suite (OI) 9.3.1 is now available from Revelation Software. The new release introduces the OpenInsight for QM Connector, which provides the ability to connect with the QM database from Ladybridge Systems Limited, as well as OI OpenInsight for Web (O4W v1.3), which provides additional integration with the new Banded Report Writer, support routines for RSS feeds, a new ad hoc report builder, and additional mobile enhancements such as mobile-specific menu and report output.

Rocket U2 has announced UniData 7.3. The first major UniData release since the U2 group was acquired by Rocket Software from IBM, UniData 7.3 represents over a year of work on a combination of development and QA. The new release delivers U2 Dynamic Objects (UDO), which enables an easier way to exchange data with web services and further extends the value of a UniData application. UDO also allows users to easily provide or consume data in JSON format. In addition, replication with External Database Access (EDA) can be used to replicate data to a SQL database on the same server.