EMC World 2010: My presentation around using Documentum in a SOA-platform

Yesterday on Monday May 10 at 11 am I gave a speech at the Momentum 10 conference here at EMC World 2010 in Boston. The presentation was focused around our experiences of building an experimentation platform for next-generation information and knowledge management (IKM) for a large operational level military HQ. Contemporary conflicts are complex and dynamic in character and requires a new approach to IKM in order to be able to handle all those complexities based on a sound management of our digital information. At the core of our platform is EMC Documentum integrated over an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) from Oracle. The goal is to maintain access and tracability on the information while removing stove-piped systems.

I have got quite a few positive reactions both from customers and EMC-people after the session which of course is just great. For instance see these notes from the session. All the presentations will be available for download for all participants but that will most likely take some time. So in the meantime you can download my presentation here instead:

Presentation at EMC World 2010 in Boston

Looking forward to comments are reflections. The file is quite big but that is because my presentations is high on screenshots and downsampling them to save file size will make it too hard to see what they are showing. Try zooming in to see details.

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EMC World 2010: At Blogger’s Lounge

Sitting at the lounge now relaxing after another cup of great latte. Relaxing after what felt like a really good presentation earlier today at EMC World 2010. Responses so far have been very positive and it feels great of course. We think we have so many cool ideas and it is great to be able to show it off to people with a deep interest in Enterprise Content Management.

Alexandra Blogger's lounge at EMC World 2010

Now it is soon time for the keynot by Mark Lewis who seem to be in charge of the newly renamed Information Intelligence Group (formerly Content Management & Archiving Division).

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EMC World 2010: DFS Real World Examples, Best Practices

I had planned to go to a session around the Documentum Roadmap but it was totally full so we had to go to another session. We split up and went to the BPM Fundamentals and the Documentum Foundation Services (DFS) Best Practices session by Michael Mohen instead. I am not a developer so this is a little from the 500ft level

He started by discussed the complementary nature between DFS and CMIS depending on how focused development is to only Documentum or not. CMIS is of course the new standard recently approved by OASIS. He argued that some applications like Records Management is still best done using DFS but I guess that also has to do with how people want CMIS to develop. As I understand it is not intended to contain ALL feature and the COMPLETE set of features in all ECM-systems and rather focus on the interoperabiltiy aspect of building ECM-apps based on multiple repositories.

When it comes to Content Transfer when using DFS the key considerations are latency, size of the file, formats and caching needs. Some of the ways to do content transfer is:

  • HTTP
  • Base64
  • UCF
  • MTOM

Most use UCF or MTOM  but it is important to remember that BOCS/ACS requires UCF to work. The message is to don’t be afraid to mix between HTTP, MTOM and others. In our solution we do use a mix but because we sometimes have rather large content size this of course an issue.

Notable changes in D6.5/D6.6

  • JBoss 4.2.0 is the new methods server
  • Apache Tomcat support
  • Aspect Support
  • LWSO support
  • Native 64-bit support and UCF Improvements
  • Kerberos is coming D6.6

Remote and local calls in Java – .Net does only provide remote calls

There are some applications that customers may not be aware of such as DFS Utilities developed by John sweeney, EMC and DFSX (Extension)

  • Provides utility classes
  • Based on DFS Object MOdel
  • Java-based 1.5 or greater
  • Only EAR-files today

Test Harness is JMeter extension which has custom JMeter Sampler built to invoke DFS using the Java Productivity Layer

Responsetimes collected for:

  • CreateObject
  • Get Object
  • Checkout object
  • Check in Object
  • Delete Object

Over a WAN DFS speeded up DFC especially when you have 300-400 ping times…use DFS because it is state-less. Relevant when using satellite links and such.

Sizing Calculator is soon available for DFS. It is an Excel spreadsheet. The sheet is sased on WSDL and SOAP so if we are using other designs results may vary of course.

In a speed test etween UCF and MTOM upload speeds under 50 Mb were similar. However, UCF was slightly faster. The cool part of UCF is that it is asynchronous which for instance mean that you can show one page of a document and continue loading the rest of it.

When it comes to ESB-implementations the message was that the majority of implementions is point-point for clients apps. However some have SAML for added security in their ESB implementation which affects speed a bit.

It seems that DFS is used a lot in a .Net environment and together with Sharepoint.

MOSS and DFS Examples

.Net 3.3

SDF and xCP

Webpart with an inbox rendered and Xform inside Sharepoint.

Another example is the use of DFS and Windows Explorer where some want custom integration for the Windows Desktop and essentially provides something like the old Document Desktop client. It is called DFS Explorer.

DFS Adobe Flex Example

There is an white paper available to provide a quickstart…read more about the session at the community page.

Adobe does not talk directly to DFS but through Java. Restful would much easier to use for Flex as well as most AJAX-implementations.

Best Practices

  • Leverage the SDK (.Net/Java interop layers)
  • Use UCF for BOCS/ACS
  • If you expected your query to exceed 500 you must cache and cycle through results.
  • DFS is better on WAN with poor latency.

A feature which is not well documented is to set requiresAuthentication=”false” on your annotated services implementation to browse through repositories and basic info such as data dictionary.

There is also a less known Services Catalog Viewer which is an optional install

  • Explore services available within the internet
  • DSCR is registry for consumer discover.
  • UDDI v2 standard
  • Standard Web app
  • Default port is 9010
  • Judy open source UDDI

You can also compare this with the notes from last conference by Word of Pie.

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Next stop: EMC World 2010 in Boston

It is time again to enjoy the company of fellow ECM-people at EMC’s conference which is in Boston, MA this year. Although most of the conference are focused around their storage hardware there is a good ”sub-conference” called Momentum where all the Documentum people gather to share experiences. I have said this before but this has so far been by far the best tech conference I have attended. Most sessions are very interesting and EMC is a fairly open company so you usually leave with a decent idea of where they are going for the next year. For us this is critical because sometimes what is in the next release dictates what kind of experiments we can run in our Battle Lab at Joint Concept Development and Experimentation Centre (JCDEC) back in Sweden.

I will try to blog and twitter as usual and I am registrered at the Blogger’s Lounge this year as well. Looking forward to some great vanilla latte there while trying to scribble down the latest from the sessions. At this wiki you can see who will be blogging from EMC World this year. Be sure to check it out because social media is great tool to get not only facts but also comments from people in the business. I guess the ECN Online Documentum community also will be a good place to find news from the conference.

And finally, I will be speaking about our experiences of integrating Documentum in a SOA-architecture to support an operational level military HQ. The speech will be at 11 am on Monday. Please stop and say hi if you can!

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Dave Kellogg on Palantir

I recently began reading the blog written by Dave Kellogg who is the CEO of Mark Logic, a company devoted to XML-based content management. I think I came to notice them when I discovered what cool technology EMC got when it bought X-hive which has now become Documentum xDb/XML Store. Mark Logic and X-hive was of course competitors in the XML Database market. In a recent blog post he reflects on the Palantir product after attending their Government Conference.

The main scope of his blog post is around different business models for a startup and that is not my expertise and I don’t have any particular opinion around that although I tend to agree and it was interesting to read his reflections of how other companies such as Oracle (yet another competitor to Mark Logic and xDb) have approached this.

Instead my thinking is based around his analysis of the product that Palantir offers and how that technology relates to other technology. I think most people (including Kellogg) mainly view Palantir as a visualisation tool because you see all these nice graphs, bars, timelines and maps displaying information. What they tend to forget is that there is huge difference between a tool that ONLY do visualisation and one that actually let you modify the data (actually modifying contextual data around them such as metadata and relations) within those perspectives. There are many different tools around Social Network Analysis for instance. However, many of them assumes that you already have databases full of data just waiting to be visualised and explored. Nothing new here. This is also what many people use Business Intelligence toolkits for. Accessing data in warehouses that is already their, although the effort of getting there from transactions oriented systems (like in retail) is not small in any way. However, the analyst using these visualisation-heavy toolkits access data read-only and only adds analysis of data already structured.

Here is why Palantir is different. It provides access to raw data such as police reports, military reports, open source data. Most of it in unstructured or semi-structured form. When it comes into the system it is not viewable in all these fancy visualisation windows Palantir has. Instead, the whole system rests on a collaborative process where people perform basic analysis which includes manual annotations of words in reports. This digital marker pen allows users to create database objects or connect to existing ones. Sure this is supported by automatic features such as entity extraction but if you care about data quality you do not dare to put them in automatic mode. After all this is done you can start exploring the annotated data and linkages between objects.

However, I do agree with Dave Kellogg that if people think BI is hard, this is harder. The main reason is that you have to have a method or process to do this kind of work. There are no free lunches – no point of dreaming about full automation here. And people need training and mindset to be able to work efficiently. Having played around with TIBCO Spotfire lately I feel that there is a choice between integrated solutions like Palantir which has features from many software areas (BI, GIS, ECM, Search etc) or using dedicated toolkits with your own integration. Powerful BI with data mining is best done in BI-systems whereas they probably never will provide the integration between features that vendors like Palantir offers. An open architecture based on SOA can probably make integration in many ways easier.

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Why iPhone OS (iPad) is ECM…

I like Twitter. It exposes me for a lot of interesting thoughts from interesting and smart people that I follow. Today I read a post called  Why the iPad Matters – Its the Beginning of the End by Carl Frappaolo. It talkes a lot of why the iPad brings a new promise for content delivery – a complete digital chain. It made me think about one of the things which is unique with the iPod/iPhone/iPad – it is the lack of a folder-based file system exposed to users. Surprisingly (maybe) it is the lack of it that makes the whole user experience much better.

So how does this relate to ECM then? Well, I guess many of us ECM-evangelists (or ”Ninjas” I heard today) have been in endless meetings and briefings explaining the value of metadata and the whole ”context-infrastructure” around each object in an ECM-system that can hold fine-grained permissions, lifecycles, processess, renditions and so forth. I have even found myself explaining the ECM concept using the iTunes as an analogue. You tag the songs with metadata and access them through playlists which is in essence virtual folders where each song can be viewable in many playlists. That is the same concept as the ”Show in folder” flag in Documentum. Metadata can even power Smart Playlists which in essence is just a saved search query – something we have added as a customization in Documentum Digital Asset Manager (DAM). So in essence the iTunes Library (should be call it a repository 🙂 is a lightversion of an ECM-system. Before continuing I really wonder why I have to customize Documentum to get the GUI-features that iTunes provide…?

So iTunes abstracts away the folder-based file system on a Mac or Windows PC but as long as you are using Mac OS X or Windows the file system is still there right. Some people even get really frustrated by iTunes and just can’t get around their head that there is no need to move files around manually when synching them to iPhone OS-powered devices. And here comes the beauty, in these devices there are no folder-based file system to access. Just the iPod App for music, the Photos App for photos and so forth. All your content is suddenly displayed in context and filtered out based on metadata and that App’s specific usage.

To some degree that means that the whole concept of iPhone OS-based devices not only can make content delivery digital but it can provide a much better user interface that is powered by all these ECM-features that we love (and have a hard time explaining). Suddenly we have an information flow entirely based on metadata instead of folder names and file names. Maybe that will make ECM not only fun but also able to much more quickly explain the dreaded ”What’s in it for me question?”.

Now, can someone quickly write an iPad App for Documentum so I can make my point 🙂 It will be a killer app, believe me!

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CPU, Cores and software licenses

In an article in ComputerWorld there is a good discussion around license models for different software vendors. There seem to be a mix of per socket pricing and some notion of a CPU and that each CPU corresponds to a number of processor cores. In EMC:s case for instance a CPU-license corresponds to 2 Cores and Oracle has a similar model. The number of processor cores is steadily increasing and soon it will be common with 6-8 cores per socket on server hardware. I agree with the article that that these models need some kind of revision. This is especially true if you sign longer contracts where this development can lead to some interesting issues. Server hardware need to be replace sooner or later because of power, storage or just performance reasons. It is not uncommon that the idea is to get fewer but more powerful servers in order to save power and cooling.

The interesting effect then is even if you can consolidate software applications on fewer hardware they each overstep their licenses in terms of server cores. What about virtualisation then? Well, that is of course also the future so power can be load-balanced between applications more easily. However, that means that the license model must allow for using virtualisation to throttle down to any number of cores per licensed application. In Oracle’s case again that usually means a requirement to run their own virtualisation product even if you have a VMWare investment.

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EMC World 2009: Reflections from the Momentum conference

A very hectic week has passed by and EMC World 2009 is over. Just as I did last year I felt like reflecting a about the conference.

First of all many thanks to EMC for listening us and improving a lot of things from the last year. I have been to EMC World 07 and 08 and during both these occasions I felt a little lost as a Documentum customer among all these storage and virtualisation people. Back then I heard people referring with love to past Momentum conferences where the sense of community was there. In November 08 I had the chance to go to Momemtum in Prague as a speaker and it was actually a bit different from EMC World. Suddenly all the focus was on Documentum.

Things well done

So the establishment of a Content Management & Archiving (CMA) Community was just what we all needed. We all got yellow ribbons with text ”Momentum” to attach to our badges which made us all much more visible to each other. We got all the sessions in the same area which meant no more running around and the chance to bump into people with those ribbons. Intead of having a very thick catalogue with all sessions merged together into a giant schedule we got our own CMA Show Guide which was really easy to use and made life much easier to me. Next to all the sessions we had a beautiful  Momentum Lounge which was manned all day around. You could even meet CMA executives for drinks after sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. It had nice sofas and chairs togeter with soft red lighting which made it quite cosy. In the solutions exhibitions all CMA Booths were gathered in the same area with a separate graphic profile then the rest of the EMC booths. Around the CMA booth you found all the CMA partners co-located. Finally we had our own CMA Party on Monday evening which was well attended as far I saw. In addition to that we finally seem to have a working online community both for Documentum and XML Technologies.

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There was also a great thing to create a Blogger’s lounge where all people who blogged and Twittered could register. Outside the lounge there was a large screen displaying what we all were saying more or less live. And the Vanilla Latte served there was a life saver! On Tuesday their Barista started making mine as soon as I passed the entrance 🙂 What a service! I think EMC actually made social media into a working business tool here. Really something to build on. If you have not done it search for #emcworld on Twitter to see what it was all about.

I attened one Product Advisory Forum (PAF) around the new Enterprise Search Server (ESS) and that was a great experience. Ed Bueche and Aamir Farooq did a great job to inspire great discussions between us customers and the engineering team. I attended PAFs in Prague as well and those were also a great part of the conference.

We had access to wireless internet all around the conference area and that is vital for a conference like this. Especially for us who Blog and Tweet!

Things to improve

First of all EMC is a company which has a payoff saying ”Where Information Lives” and touts itself as an information infrastructure company. I assume that all means digital information and is it something we Documentum people care about then it is information management. Then it does make a lot of sense taking notes and searching the web on a laptop computer during sessions. After all we are IT-nerds 🙂 Please get us some rooms with sufficient number of power outlets!

Why not even extend it further and use your own technology to integrate Tweets, Blog posts with the conference schedule so we more or less can interact live around sessions. It would even make sense for me at least to being able to register that I am attending a conference (voluntary of course) using the online profile community that alre which would make it even easier

There seem to be fewer sessions in general and especially I believe the number of developer oriented ones have become significantly fewer. I am not a coder myself so I actually think it makes sense to have sessions focused on people writing code and other with different advancement levels for us focusing on architectures, features and business cases. Another thing I noted is that there are no call for papers to EMC World the same way it works for Momentum (Europe). I think use cases from customers are an important part of the conference and it would be great to find a way to get them back in.

Please also have a look at what Word of Pie had to say about this year’s conference.

See you next year in Boston!

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EMC World 2009: What is new with Digital Asset Management

Media Work Space
Controlled release in June 30th targetted at internal use at EMC Marketing, General Availability will come later this year. Still licensed with DAM. The new release will support Images, Presentation, Audio and video.

It will introduce a new gridless view which lists all objects as list with columns for attributs. Gridless view also can can show thumbnails at the left end of each line. There will also be a storyboard view much like the one existing in today’s Digital Asset Manager.

MWS will now have support for comments – which can interact with CenterStage comments.

Personalised Dashboard include the following views:

  • QuickFlows
  • Most Popular Assets
  • Recently Viewed Assets
  • Recently Updated Assets

To met that looks like they have starting to think in terms of Information Analytics…There is now also a feature to show the accumulative rating among users.

They see a need for customisations and an SDK or similar will be released during 2009

The Inbox allows to open a quickflow which actually was really nice-looking with attached images as thumbnails below. Looked rather similar to an email message which is the right way to go I think.

QuickSearch now supports searching on any index data.

Advanced Search has a tab called General and then for Presenation, Video, Audio and Images which allows for a higher level restriction of search.
Search on properties for instances image with a certain pixels…

There is new Presentation slide view which looks way more flexible than current PowerPoint assembly. Looks actually like viewing/reviewing slides now can be done completely without opening the application.

The view below the preview of the slides has tabs for Metadata, Versions, Rendtions, Comments, Permission Relationships

Slides can be rated and metadata can be editied just by clicking in the fields.

Video view supports thumbnails but also preview of the video utilzing FlipFactory. Looked like the previewer was using Flash.

FileSharing Services, My Documentum and Documentum for Outlook will be merged into a new MyDocumentum product and then moved into the Knowledge Worker group. Documentum Connector for InDesign & Quark Xpress are also part of My Documentum but from a Digital Asset Management side of  the house.

Many companies have 3D-data which comes from different CA-systems. Therefore they have started to develop CAD Integration with in Documentum with support of Right Hemisphere Integration (press release) which supports viewing data from 80 CAD/PLM-systems.

The solutions allows customers to request and repurpose derivatives
Flat Iron Solutions have a demonstration in the exhibition area at EMC World 2009.

Content Transformation Services

There are mainly bug fixes and some Improvements on the performance for the OEM products they are using mainly on the image side of the house.

CTS now includes support for for Adobe CS3 & CS4
There is an SDK for CTS which can be used to handle custom encoders….from my point of view the obvious question is whether or not i make sense to develop support for GIS-formats?

The next release of MWS will probably be available in September 2009.

There is available technology in the the platform to support annotations on video files but not yet exposed.

Aility to show forms in a Flex environment is something they are working on and it seems fairly important especially for us who use both TaskSpace and DAM with Forms.

VISION
The main areas which they focus on are:

Web Experience Management
Customer Comms Management (build websites based on preferences)
Customer Intelligence Management
Marketing Process Management
Brand Management include:
– Presentation
– Video
– Image
– Collateral
– 3D Image
– Agency Collaboration

MidYear
– New version of Presentation Assembly

End of Year
– MWS Pro
– Integrated Collaboration and Publsihing
– Campaign Management
– Marketiing and Web Metrics Tracking
– KPI
– Rapid and Setup of Brand

D7 – 2010
– MWS Field Editin
– SalesForce integration
– Support of Personalised Customer

MWS Pro
– Different Libraries as Tabs

Q1 2010 MWS & DAM Sp3

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