Momentum 2010 pt 3

November 12, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Posted in Momentum | 1 Comment
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This post is the 3rd on Momentum but the 2nd on my thoughts on Mark Arbour’s road map session. It covers Web Content Management, WebPublisher and Fatwire.

The basic story is that 6 months ago after surveying the market EMC have invested in a Web experience software company, Fatwire. The first interesting point I think is that EMC invested rather than buying the company. Too early to say whether this is a change of strategy for EMC but it’s interesting to note that it’s a possible tool EMC will consider in it’s quest for the complete. I don’t know how many other examples of this approach EMC has used before; maybe it’s a prelude to buying the company, maybe it’s a longterm approach to this segment of the market.

You might ask what is web experience management as opposed to web content management. In Fatwire’s case it involves all the standard wcm features such as authoring, approval, publishing and content management. However it also adds analytics, personalisation, customer engagement and segmentation all, apparently, packaged together conveniently to allow an iterative cycle of segment-publish-analyse.

It’s clear that the prime use-case is large customer focussed Internet sites where personalising and fine-tuning the customer experience is key to commercial success. It’s less obvious what this brings for the standard intranet site which is what really interested me.

So the question was how does this tie up affect existing WebPublisher implementations? Many mature sites have considerable investment in WebPublisher templates which presumably can’t be just migrated to Fatwire.

It seems that WebPublisher will continue for a few years yet. A bit like webtop, WebPublisher is now in ‘sustaining’ mode. There is likely to be platform-tracking versions (I’m sure D6.7 was mentioned and maybe D7), there will be new certifications as necessary (ie9 anyone?) and bug fixes. however there will be no investment in new features.

From a strategic point of view I can’t see a compelling reason to purchase a conversion to Fatwire right now if you already have an intranet or Internet site unless you specifically want to utilise the additional features made available. New sites and sites considering a rewrite are obvious choices for a Fatwire investment. Obviously this is an area that needs to be tracked as I’m sure the next couple of years will see plenty of development.

A last interesting message was a general one. It seems there is now a general recognition that it is not sensible to tie UI and application releases with backend releases. UIs and business applications are likely to change rapidly , and perhaps unpredictably over the next few years. The back-end platform is likely to be more stable (until Jeroem’s next generation information server starts to become reality perhaps!).

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Momentum 2010 pt 2

October 28, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Posted in Performance | Leave a comment
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My last session of Wednesday was Mark Arbour’s roadmap session covering content intelligence products. Basically this means centerstage, media workspace (mws) and My Documentum products. It also included captive but I won’t cover that in this post. I should add that much of this is distillation and my interpretation of what Mark said.

You’ll notice that this didn’t specifically include xCP/taskspace, webtop and WebPublisher however Mark had some very interesting things to say about those as well.

First a clear statement of intent on Centerstage. CS will be the ECM client of choice. Notice the emphasis on will be, Cs is not ready for most ECM situations. The recently released version, 1.1, has a few functional features and some performance improvements that make it ready for eRoom type use cases. I’m sure Mark mentioned an eRoom migration tool to come in a few months but I didn’t write that down so may be mistaken (did anyone else hear that?).

Going forward the next few releases will concentrate on adding missing ECM features starting with repository browse and continuing on to workflow features.

Obviously this raised the question of client strategy for ECM. First webtop is planned to have a D6.7 and D7 release. Given that support will continue for 3-4 years after D7 it shouldn’t be a worry for existing customers with a significant investment in webtop.

(definitely my interpretation here) There is probably no reason for deployments that are expecting to go live in the next 6-12 months to be too concerned but it certainly makes sense to track the functional improvements of centerstage; if cs features match most of your ECM requirements then it makes sense to go with CS. The key point here is that ECM investment going forward will be in CS, there are unlikely to be any significant new features for Webtop just bug fixes and new platform certifications.

Another very interesting discussion was around EMC’S UI strategy. The perception for customers was that emc is very focussed on xCP and case management. Mark took this one head-on. First the term xCP has been used to describe a number of different things. First there is Taskspace which is the (currently) WDK based ui for transactional content management which is also core to the case management package. UI development will focus on componentizing the features of cs,mws and taskspace and moving towards a common ui infrastructure and customization approach. All 3 apps remain important and will get considerable investment.

Then there is xCP the platform. This is the tooling (composer, forms, process builder), infrastructure (content and bpm services) and the best practices and xCelerators. This is a platform for all content enabled applications, however case management has been the focus to-date. The message that I got, and this was a common theme in other EMC presentations, was that EMC will continue to pursue a wide vision for content management. Extrapolating from one of the core themes of the conference the strategy is guided by extracting intelligence from information and case management is just one branch of the strategy.

The final point I wanted to cover was Web Content Management. However I’m going to leave that to another post.

Momentum 2010 pt 1

October 26, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Performance | 2 Comments
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I don’t seem to be able to get my laptop connected yet so I’ll be blogging from my iPhone. That means posts are likely to be shorter and snappish.

One of the questions Pie has asked is what is EMCs vision for ECM. I have to say yet again I didn’t “get” a vision from Mark Lewis’ keynote. He says a lot of things that are informative and insightful but it tends to have a very abstract quality . There is nothing I can take back to a CIO or programme manager and say “we need to invest in EMC so we can do this”.

This was thrown into sharp relief by a short piece that Whitney Tidmarsh related later on in the session. The use case was very specific and personal: approving press releases. Today you might have a standard document mgt solution perhaps with versioning and workflow. However what would be great is an interface that supports:
– a context-sensitive workspace ; when I select the press release approval the workspace knows that it is a press release and provides supporting information
– a list of recent press releases on the same or similar topic
– a list of contacts to instant message in case you need to confirm or discuss a point
– a web feed of other press releases

You get the picture there is a concrete example to motivate the discussion on what the future holds. The vision in this case is rich content management but basic content management services are assumed; versioning basic workflow approval and so on are taken for granted.

The commoditisation of basic content management has been much discussed, the question the above use case begs is: does it make sense to get your basic cm from a “cheap” source (think sharepoint or cloud) and then add richness from providers like EMC; or should EMC continue to fight for Documentum as a ECM platform to cover all your needs.

Momentum 2008 – XML Store

November 13, 2008 at 8:26 am | Posted in Architecture, D6, Momentum, Performance | 2 Comments
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On Tuesday and Wednesday I attended a load more sessions covering XML Store, Centrestage, Composer, Sharepoint and Web Content Management. In the next few posts I’ll share some of my thoughts and impressions, starting with XML Store.

For those that don’t know, EMC purchased a company called X-hive a while back. X-hive have an XML database product and that has now been integrated into the full Content Server stack. The easiest way to picture this is to take the old picture of the repository as consisting of a relational database and a file system and add in a third element, the XML Store.

From 6.5 (possibly sp1, I don’t remember) all XML is stored in the XML store. The XML Store is built around the many XML standards that are in existence such as XQuery, XSL and the XML full-text query standard.

The XML is not stored in the usual textual XML format but in a DOM format. This presumably is to allow them to implement various types of index and to optimise the query access patterns. The performance claims for the database are impressive although they need to be taken with a pinch of salt. As with all benchmarking, vendors will target specific goals in the benchmark. However your real-life workloads could be very different. If you are expecting high-throughput for an application using the XML store I suggest you put some work into designing and executing your own benchmarks.

In addition to indexes there is also a caching facility. This was only talked about at a high-level, however just as relational database performance experts made a career in 1990s out of sizing the buffer cache properly so we may see something similar with XML database installations. We may see them suffering poor performance as a result of under-sized hardware and mis-configuration. As always don’t expect this to just work without a little effort and research.

One other point I should make is that the XML Store is not limited to the integrated Content Server implementation. You can also install instances of XML Store separately. For example the forthcoming Advanced Site Caching Servicees product provides for a WebXML target. This is essentially an XML Store database installed alongside the traditional file system target that you currently get with SCS. You can then use the published XML to drive all sorts of clever dynamic and interactive web sites.

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