October 2010

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Trends and Applications

The relational database - or RDBMS - is a triumph of computer science. It has provided the data management layer for almost all major applications for more than two decades, and when you consider that the entire IT industry was once described as "data processing," this is a considerable achievement. For the first time in several decades, however, the relational database stranglehold on database management is loosening. The demands of big data and cloud computing have combined to create challenges that the RDBMS may be unable to adequately address.

InterSystems Corporation has rolled out a new version of its Caché high-performance object database. The new release targets the growing demand by CIOs for economical high availability by introducing database mirroring, while also addressing Java developers' need for high-volume high-performance processing combined with persistent storage for event processing systems. Robert Nagle, InterSystems vice president for software development, recently chatted with DBTA about the release and the new features it offers. Commenting on the growing interest in NoSQL databases, Nagle observes that many of the beneficial characteristics people see in NoSQL are in fact true of Caché - a flexible data model and zero DBA cost. "But for us, what is unique is that it is not NoSQL, it is that it needs to be SQL - without the overhead of relational technology - because I think SQL is extremely important for almost every class of application that is deployed."

Cloud computing offers the promise of greater agility, resource optimization, and user performance, yet many businesses are understandably leery about jumping onto the cloud bandwagon until they have assurances that hosted resources will be secure. In fact, security concerns are the main obstacle to widespread cloud computing adoption among enterprises today. Before taking advantage of these capabilities, businesses need to assure users they have a simple way to access all their applications, and trust that their information is secure in the cloud.

When IBM developers set out to build the next version of Informix their goal was to build on the foundation of one of the more mature, effective and reliable pieces of information management software in the industry. With the 10th anniversary of the IBM acquisition of Informix fast approaching, they knew that the 11.7 release would be closely watched by clients and partners alike.

The flood of digital information increases the need for accuracy - including knowing which data to leave out. Remember when we used to ride around in our cars and listen to AM radio? Maybe you're not quite old enough to remember, but there was a time when AM radio was all we had - and that was fine. There also used to be only a handful of television channels, which we had to get up out of our chairs to change. That was fine, too. We didn't long for a wider variety of music on the radio, or more channels to watch on TV. We had what we had, and it was all fine - it was all "good enough."

Columns - Notes on NoSQL

In Greek mythology, Cassandra was granted the gift of prophesy, but cursed with an inability to convince others of her predictions - a sort of unbelievable "oracle," if you like. Ironically, in the database world, the Cassandra system is fast becoming one of the most credible non-relational databases for production use - a believable alternative to Oracle and other relational databases.

Columns - Database Elaborations

As bizarre as it seems, no one sabotages our efforts more easily than ourselves. We often leave ourselves vulnerable to failure whenever we respond to requests for project estimates. Like "A Tale of Two Cities" estimating can bring our best and our worst. In offering estimates, individuals may undercut their own efforts. For example, a developer may only consider time coding, and fail to include enough headroom for testing, rework, or documentation. While some aspects of these estimating attempts might suggest a passive-aggressive approach to avoid tasks, much of this estimate-short-sheeting often results from a desire to please and provide a number to make management "happy." There is always a desire from management to have more things done, and to do things quickly on every project. Even when not stated, this unspoken desire colors the responses of the individuals doing the estimating.

Columns - DBA Corner

If you are a DBA, or a database performance analyst, chances are that you deal with performance-related issues regarding your database systems every day of the week. But have you ever stopped for a moment and tried to define what you mean when you say "database performance"? Doing so can be a worthwhile exercise, if only to organize your thoughts on the matter. Think about it; don't we need a firm definition of database performance before we can attempt to manage the performance of our databases?

Columns - SQL Server Drill Down

As a consultant, I get to meet many varied SQL Server professionals on a regular basis. One of the most common conversations we've had over the last few years surrounds the loss of control the DBA has experienced due to a couple of advances in technology.

MV Community

Blue Finity is offering a free online demo of mv.NET, a .NET-to-MultiValue connectivity and productivity aid for developers that want to create state of the art application user interfaces and web services for MultiValue-based applications.

Entrinsik Inc., a leading provider of innovative web-based operational reporting and analysis solutions, has formed a partnership with NetVU to offer Entrinsik's Informer Web Reporting software to insurance agencies across the country. For years, Entrinsik has participated in insurance agency management system conferences and has been recognized as a valued supplier/vendor to Vertafore agencies.

Revelation Software has announced that OpenInsight 9.2.1 is now in development and will include a new Version Control module, as well as O4W (OpenInsight for Web) release 1.1.

Rocket Software is offering two webinars in October. The first is an overview of the upcoming U2 University event, to be held in Denver, November 9-11. The second webinar will provide an overview of the architecture and new features in Web DE V5.0, including a new architecture, National Language Support/I18N, Eclipse deployment tooling, 24x7 support, updated security, and auto-generation of RBOs.