Exploring the Database Forest article is now available

May 2, 2013 Comments Off on Exploring the Database Forest article is now available

SAP asked me to write an article that summarized some of today’s most interesting database trends. Here’s what I cover in the article:

I begin by demonstrating that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ database platform isn’t a good idea given today’s complexities. Next, I describe several of the most intriguing new information management technology categories, followed by an overview of how integrated solutions such as SAP’s Real Time Data Platform can provide a logical, unified approach. Finally, I point out that despite all of the fresh breakthroughs and noteworthy new solutions, transactional databases continue to remain at the heart of the enterprise’s information processing responsibilities. This means that selecting an RDBMS will endure as a vital obligation.

This article also served as the foundation for the recent Webinar that I presented as well.  You can view the article here: Exploring the database forest

Amazon Redshift – interesting new Big Data Warehouse As A Service offering

March 31, 2013 Comments Off on Amazon Redshift – interesting new Big Data Warehouse As A Service offering

A while back, I co-authored a White paper about the various storage options offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). In that paper, I described each of the key AWS data management products (e.g. Simple Storage Service (S3), Elastic Block Storage (EBS), SimpleDB, and so on). I also provided some use cases showing how all of these services can work together.

Amazon continually upgrades and improves its offerings, and they’ve recently announced beta availability for Redshift – a cloud-based service that lets you use the AWS infrastructure to run analytics and business intelligence applications on terabytes – or even petabytes – of information that you upload to Amazon.

In future posts, I’ll be writing more about how these types of hosted solutions have the potential to level the playing field and transform the way Big Data analytics are handled by organizations of all sizes. For now, I encourage you to consider cloud-based products for even the largest business intelligence applications.

Free tutorial on SoapUI JDBC TestStep

February 17, 2013 Comments Off on Free tutorial on SoapUI JDBC TestStep

I’ve been writing an ongoing series of blog posts on making the most of soapUI Pro. Here’s the next installment, which explores how to use the JDBC TestStep to evaluate the contents of your database. This is a very powerful capability, because it lets you use soapUI as a complete, all-encompassing quality assurance platform for testing services, Web sites, and databases.

Interested in SoapUI on-demand training and certification? Learn more here.

Exploring the Database Forest Webinar is now available for on-demand viewing

January 19, 2013 § 1 Comment

I really enjoyed my SAP/Ziff Davis presentation the other day. If you didn’t get to see it live, you can view it at your convenience here

Upcoming Webinar with SAP on January 16: Exploring the Database Forest

January 9, 2013 Comments Off on Upcoming Webinar with SAP on January 16: Exploring the Database Forest

Along with Neil McGovern from SAP, I’ll be presenting a Webinar hosted by Ziff Davis on January 16 at 10 am PT/1 pm ET. Here’s what we’ll be covering:

Today’s database technology landscape is more dymanic than ever before. With growing data volume, data types and data uses, many organizations are using an array of specialized information management technologies to manage their data, as opposed to relying on a single relational database management (RDBMS) platform.

Join Robert Schneider, technology consultant and author and Neil McGovern, senior director, Solutions Marketing, SAP, for an in-depth discussion on how to optimize data management technologies in your organization.  During this one-hour Webcast, you’ll learn:

  • How the latest trends in information management are affecting IT organizations
  • Why a ‘one size fits all’ database no longer makes sense
  • How integrated solutions such as the SAP Real Time Data Platform can provide a logical, unified approach to data management

You can register for this free event here.

Coming to London to talk about NewSQL and NoSQL: two different yet complementary approaches for managing information

December 22, 2012 Comments Off on Coming to London to talk about NewSQL and NoSQL: two different yet complementary approaches for managing information

I’m looking forward to my upcoming visit to SkillsMatter in London on March 11 and 12. I’ll be presenting a class on soapUI Pro as well as talking about some exciting scenarios for NewSQL and NoSQL. From the SkillsMatter website:

Many of today’s data-intensive transactional applications have exposed the uncomfortable truth that traditional RDBMS architectures are reaching their limits and are no longer able to keep pace with the demands of the modern enterprise. Fortunately, the past few years have witnessed the arrival of exciting new technologies – collectively known as NewSQL and NoSQL – that both extend the lifespan of RDBMS platforms as well as offer new information management alternatives.

In this talk, Robert Schneider will portray the challenges that have led up to this moment along with introducing major NewSQL and NoSQL platforms. He’ll also describe several multi-faceted use cases that illustrate how these technologies can work together.

These sessions are always lively and fun – I hope you can join us.

 

Big Data: delivering lousy customer service faster than ever

October 18, 2012 § 1 Comment

Whether you’re watching TV or browsing the Web, it seems you can’t escape advertisements touting how Big Data will transform life on earth: “Let’s build a smarter planet”, for example.

But what if I told you that using Big Data – especially when paired with automated decision algorithms – in the wrong way can annoy your customers, damage your reputation, and help drive away business faster than ever? To illustrate my point, let me share a personal story of Big Data and algorithms run amok.

For many years, I’ve rented cars from a large outfit. I won’t say their name, but it begins with ‘H’, ends with ‘z’, and sounds like a word to describe pain. I’ve spent thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of dollars with them, and I was a satisfied customer.

After returning from a business trip in 1997, I received a letter stating that I owed $200 for a dented door. I wrote back and said that since I didn’t have any incidents with the vehicle, the charge must not be correct. In response, they sent me a letter stating, in effect, that I was dead to them. I was a little taken aback by the abrupt correspondence (does anybody remember CRM?), but they’re not the only car rental outfit so I took my business elsewhere.

Fast forward to 2011. I decided to give them another chance, and rented a vehicle – without incident – from a US airport. In early 2012, I needed to go to France for a business trip so I made a reservation through Auto Europe. They in turn sent me a voucher for the Marseilles airport office of this very same auto rental company. Here’s where things really go awry: when I arrived in Marseilles – at night and pretty jet-lagged – their counter staff ran my drivers license and told me, essentially, to take a hike (I believe the proper phrase is dégage!). They told me “our computer won’t let us rent to you”. They were very nice about it, but there was no recourse: no person to call, no place to override the rejection, nothing. Fortunately, my story has a happy ending: Avis came to my rescue; they really do try harder.

Here’s what I think happened: sometime between 2011 and 2012, the CRM-challenged rental car company enabled real-time access to decades of vehicle renting history. After all, this type of scenario is a classic Big Data use case. Once this historical data was online, they probably exposed all of it to their customer-facing systems. To their algorithm, I probably showed up as a shifty felonious type, prone to carjacking and other crimes, all over a 15-year-old $200 dispute, and despite my generating large amounts of revenue for them over many years. So it categorically rejected my rental. And to make matters worse, they left out a way to override their idiotic systems.

This is a trivial example, but imagine if you’re denied a job, a car loan, a mortgage, entry into a country, or something else important because of the intersection of crummy customer service, bad programming, and Big Data. What if there’s no one who understands why the rejection has taken place? What if you find someone who cares, but is powerless to help? Big Data can uncover many more reasons to say ‘no’, and only the wisest enterprises will realize that there needs to be a series of checks and balances built in to these powerful systems.

I’ll be blogging about this essential topic in the coming weeks because I believe that it has the potential to be extremely disruptive to normal, ongoing operations for every type of organization.

Hadoop For Dummies is now available

October 4, 2012 § 1 Comment

I’m happy to announce that the Hadoop For Dummies mini-book that I wrote for IBM/Platform Computing is now available. You can download it here.

Easy-to-understand graph database tutorial

March 13, 2012 Comments Off on Easy-to-understand graph database tutorial

If you’re curious about Big Data, NoSQL, MapReduce, or Hadoop – and you’re in London – you might want to stop by the talk I’ll be giving next week. As part of my presentation, I’ll be describing three of the most popular database architectures: relational, hierarchical, and graph.

I’ve found that most developers and architects have experience with relational and hierarchical data stores, but graph data is something that’s relatively unfamiliar. Ironically, every time you interact with social networking platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, your experience is largely driven by what’s contained in massive graph databases.

To help give you a better idea of this interesting new way of storing and accessing data, check out this tutorial from LinkedDataTools.com. It presents graph databases in a friendly, easy-to-understand manner, and also explains how the semantic Web  (or Web 3.0 if you like) is built on this type of data.

Sybase’s new hybrid-threaded kernel architecture

February 29, 2012 Comments Off on Sybase’s new hybrid-threaded kernel architecture

Sybase continues to enhance the performance capabilities of its flagship Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) platform. Here’s an article I wrote for Database Journal that describes the new hybrid-threaded kernel architecture.

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