EMC World 2013 & Momentum 13: Poor and Rich Media support in Documentum

Here we go again. A discussion around rich media and what it means for the EMC Documentum platform. ”Poor” media such as PDF and Office-documents have their natural place and support in the Documentum platform. However, I realize that one of the arguments that I often use to describe the differences between Documentum and other ECM-platforms is the breadth of file formats it supports. Especially compared to Sharepoint which due to its close ties to MS Office is mainly focused on these file formats and everything else is second class citizen.

The question is to what degree my claims are accurate in practice. Is Documentum the platform that handles ”all” types of content or is that just something that is true on paper. Let´s examine what rich media support really is and what it could be.

First of all, I’d like to break it down into components like this:

  1. Core architecture support for file extensions, large file sizes (over the magic 2 GB limit) and some streaming architecture.
  2. Metadata support and extraction functionality for image and video/audio file formats (i.e. EXIF)
  3. Transformation/rendition capabilities for image and video/audio file formats.
  4. User interface that supports image, video and audio content (viewer, storyboards, thumbnails, gallery views and metadata).
  5. Tools to organize image/video/audio content in albums, tags, geolocation, event detection based on dates (basically iPhoto on the server in a web browser)
  6. Tools to annotate and provide additional context around image/video/audio content.
  7. Analytics that can extract information from the actual content (face detection/recognititon, speech-to-text, voice recognition, pattern matching etc)
  8. Modification tools that lets you perform basic editing of image/video/audio content (rotate, split/merge clips etc)

The obvious question here is where you draw the line between features supported by your ECM-platform in the browser and what you expect people to do in Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Audition? The reason to put it on the ECM Web client is to leverage the computing power in the server, reduce need for desktop installs and possibly make it easier to perform basic rich media operations without having to learn Photoshop for instance.

Currently some of this is supported in the old DAM application but it is slow and looks old today. Media Workspace actually provide quite decent functionality along this front but is basically killed off due to the demise of Flash. Media Workspace has great support for nr 4 in my list and some organization feature from nr 5 through the support for collections. EXIF metadata is extracted and viewable in the Media Workspace client as well as some video metadata.

The new clients are not there yet though. The inline viewer for xCP does not support video at this time but support images. The new HTML5 viewer will only support PDF initially it seems. D2 has the possibility to support the Brava viewer which supports viewing videos in MP4, MOV and FLV formats. There is some video annotation support which allows you to annotate a specific frame in the video which is stored back as a dm_note object.

So there is some and I repeat some rich media support in there but it is spotty and not a coordinated approach on the client side. This does no reflect the situation server side though where there are quite capable modules available in the underlying platform. That is especially true for the Audio/video transformation services which is currently based on a broadcast-level tool called Telestream Flipfactory which really can do everything you need to do on audio and video. From Documentum D7 AVTS is instead based on FFMPEG and MTS is based on ImageMagick. However, that is capable of – few of those features are actually exposed or configured. Basically customers of AVTS are sitting on an unpolished diamond, possibly without knowing it. To me it is now a mismatch between what the platform can offer and what user’s are able to do when it comes to rich media.

What about the use case then, is there a business requirement for this? To start with the internet giants Facebook, Flickr, Youtube and Instagram has showed us how easy you can do rich media content management. User’s have adopted it and they have learned how to do it. However, traditionally rich media in the ECM or Digital Asset Management space has been focused on ”creative content creation” which means graphical artists, fotographers and their needs. Often in an ad agency context where it has been about creative content workflows that need to be managed and in the end billed properly. The Disney use case here at Momentum 13 is a good example. An application that supports their business-to-business operation of selling and licensing creative content to companies. Fairly advanced use cases in general.

But what about the more casual or ”light” DAM which Facebook image management represent. Isn’t there a a use case for that? There must be organisations that need to organize rich media that is created internally. I can think of real estate agents, insurance companies, car dealers just to name a few. In the military we are handing out digital cameras left and right and there is a big need to be able to make something useful of this in the long run.

Isn’t there a market opportunity for EMC here to provide DAM light on a true (already rich media-enabled) ECM platform to allow customers to manage rich media in line with everything else instead of buying a siloed product for just photo management?

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EMC World 2013 & Documentum 13: Documentum Overview and Architecture

Jeroen going over the colored architecture image again. I think the box ”content/xml” is new.

DFC is Java and DFS is SOAP. Now REST is coming.

Syncplicity will find its way into different parts of the stack as a technology, not only a product.

IIG is now shooting for the hybrid cloud solution where EMC sees growth. What was called NGIS but it has been renamed (by marketing) to ”SaaS solution”. Solutions that cross the boundries of the enterprise is the way EMC sees the world.

First integration with VIPR has been made on the SaaS solution but we can expect that coming to the Documentum platform as well.

Syncplicity can be the underpinning for the content flow between on-premise and SaaS solutions.

Enterprise Archiving Solutions (EAS). Promoted to be a full blown product but came from professional services. Based on xDB to provide a single archiving solution for both structured and unstructured content. Main use case is systems being decommissioned. Very expensive to keep these systems around for compliance reasons. EAS can maintain access to a lower cost. Also store inactive data from the production system in EAS and offload it.

Adopting OAIS Standard Framework from Open Archival Information Systems (ISO). Simulated 50 banks and 10 years of data. Transformed data in archiving buckets/packages. xDB stored each of these in a physical segment translating into a database file. Impressive scalability even with 100 000 segments. Argues that XML is a very future-proof format that easily can be readable in the future.

xMS – xCelerated Management System

Came into being when they started creating EMC OnDemand for Documentum. Needed a smarter way to deploy the platform. tcServer is the optimized for xMS. CLI tools that can be used with Maven or similar tools.xMS server also has a catalog that manages users etc.

Possible to utilize vMotion to spin up new VMs when workloads are heavy.

The performance improvements mentioned before was done using a DFC Test Utility that probably is available to customers.

xCP is more type intensive. Say from 50 to 500 types. Hence type caching optimizations.

D7 Security Enhancements

Unbreakable algorithms

25% faster transfers for metadata and small files

75% faster transfers for 100MB files

Encryption overhead reduced 93% (multiuser)

Core Documentum products ships with RSA certified algorithms.

Optional integration with RSA Data Protection Manager fir Remote Key Management. Encrypted content and electronic signatures can be verified using this.

In addition to that they are investing heavily into IRM. Seeing more requests for SAML on the Content Server side.

From an API perspective DFC will still be around. The three APIs are:

  • Services: SOAP API (not restricted to HTTP protocol (applicable for Java/.Net)
  • Resources: REST API
  • CMIS Web Services API (does not implement RM or IRM)

The main forward strategy for IIG is REST. They are embracing Spring technology for REST such as Spring MVC REST and the Spring Marshalling Framework. Now it is a pure REST implementation (which the preview wasn’t) with JSON and XML representation.

Michael doing demo of REST using XCode on a Mac for an iPhone application. Surprisingly easy to develop – took 1 hour. Faster than DFS and DFC.

Syncplicity connector

Connectors available for Atmos and Isilon storage but also for Documentum.

Currently only push but push is on the roadmap. Syncplicity is the main technology to control how content leaves and enters the enterprise which includes security and encryption.

Dormant State

Michael highlights the Dormant States in D7 which allow applying upgrades without shutting the system down. Opens up for vApp Cloning and taking snapshots since the database in a nice mode with no changes possible. They have a long term approach to ease upgrading and Dormant state is one of them. Reduce the cost to move to new versions. It will block audit trails as well so if there are audits happening on read operations that will not work.

Documentum D2 is not using UCF – it is a Java applet.

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EMC World 2013 & Momentum 12: EMC Documentum Roadmap Session

Presented by Patrick Walsh, Principle Product Manager Documentum Platform and Aaron Aubrecht VP Product Management & XPO, IIG.

This session will focus on the core platform. Last year they tried to fit in everything and ran 20 min over time and half of the slides left unshown.

Talks about the need for IT to deliver business capability not just applying patching to Documentum. My personal reflection is that many IT-shops do not have a business perspective today. Maybe because they have budget efficiency requirements on them making reducing costs the main priority.

Few people in the room had actually upgraded to Documentum 7 and that is a problem that to much modern capability is left unused in many organisations. That is why the separation of upgrades to platform and clients is pushed now.

What’s new in Documentum 7

So repeating the same message of what is new in D7. Performance improvements due to intelligent session management (ISM) and type caching. ISM reduces memory usage up to 65 % by multiplexing communications between application server, content server and the database. Similar memory usage improvements with type caching.

Talks about xMS with automated deployment of a new D7 and xCP 2.0 stack for private VMWare private cloud environment. Deployment down to hours via XML-based blueprints describing the deployment parameters. Includes embedded deployment and configuration of Hyperic agents. We have yet to try this but I really hope that the blueprints represent a best practice starting point to develop our own blueprints.

Also improved content intelligence with xPlore 1.3. Includes large file support through partial indexing, content classification inline, added date-range search capability & metadata and of course the recommendation engine. It also features ad scriptable command line interface for automation and you can control xPlore from third party tools via Admin UI.

Crypto algorithms switched from DDS to AES which seem about time! Leads also to improved performance.

Finally the EMC Syncplicity Connector for Documentum which allows for external sharing of information with security enforced at the endpoint.

What’s next for Documentum 7.1

Will come in Q4 2013. Full minor version.

Expanded infrastructure certifications:

  • Solaris 11 (with Oracle 11g R2)
  • AIX 7.1 TL2 (with DB2 Enterprise 9.7 FP7)
  • Windows Server 2012 (with SQL Server 2012 and Oracle 11g R2)
  • WebSphere 8.5 is supported in D7.1 while D7 supported alongside tcFabric App Server, Tomcat 7 and Oracle Weblogic
  • RHEL 6.x, x64 in D7.1, Native 64-bit, multithreaded architecture- Intelligence Session Management & Type Caching.

xMS 1.1 is coming in D7.1

Smarter deployments (Automatic discovery of services and componetns for existing environments). Orchestration for externally managed VMs or physical hosts. Clustering support with HA and load balancing.

Web administration UI is coming with automated software patching.

Documentum REST Services API (Q3 2013):

  • Standards based
  • Consumer-agnostic
  • Mobile friendly
  • Everything is a resources
  • Scalability

Enhanced trust and security. Continue to harden Documentum.

  • Stronger authentication security. Non-anonymous SSL.
  • Authentication plug-in for Jasig Central Authentication Service (CAS)
  • SSL Option for internal JMS – Content Server Communication

Great to see CAS support coming.

xPlore 1.4 is coming with faster response times for large result sets, improved diagnostics and automation for easier deployment.

Upgrading to Documentum 7

Talks about strategy forwards. Wants to reduce the number of configurations to test code against. Expect a narrower set of combinations of operating systems, app servers and databases.

Talks about the possibility to move upgrades for platform and clients separately.

The Enterprise Migration Appliance (EMA) is a response to the fact that migrations are complex projects. Happens not on the API level but on the database level. Traditional API-based methods are It is a virtual appliance with a complete server running on vSphere/ESXi environment. Also promotes migration solutions from both fme and euroscript.

There is an EMC Documentum 7.0 Rapid Success Program. To register go to: http://bit.ly/D70RSP by May 17, 2013.

Vision for the Documentum platform:

Best in-class ECM:

  • VIPR integration
  • Rapid content access through addressable caching

Trusted Platform

  • Mobile SSO via SAML and OAuth
  • Federated Identity Management and Dynamic User Enrollment for virtual trust zones

As much cloud as you need:

  • Dynamic Scailing with xMS
  • Cloud-based performance management and monitoring
  • Content contribution and bi-directional sync with Syncplicity
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