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Philip Howard

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Ten things you need to know about SOA

SOA (service oriented architecture) is a big deal, I like it. But it isn't the be all and end all of computing. Here are ten things you need to know about SOA. 1. You can't sell SOA. SOA allows your company to be more flexible. SOA enables the agile enterprise. Oh, yes. But you can't build a business case or cost justification …
Philip Howard, 22 Nov 2006
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AJAX and 2.0 madness

Comment Web 2.0 has a lot to answer for. Why, incidentally, is it not simply Web 2? In any case, I have no quarrel with Web 2.0: what I do have a quarrel with is all the other 2dotohs that keep springing up. There is SaaS (software as a service) 2.0 for example and, most recently, Business Objects has been talking about BI 2.0. This …
Philip Howard, 21 Nov 2006
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Big Blue cloud over event processing performance

The march of the big guns into event processing continues. Microsoft, SAS and Sybase have all got point solutions that address this space in one way or another, while it may have escaped your notice that IBM has now got two offerings in this area. The first of these is WebSphere Front Office for Financial Markets, which is …
Philip Howard, 08 Nov 2006
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Where do you store master data?

Comment At IBM's recent Information on Demand conference (which was excellent, incidentally) the company presented its view of master data management (MDM). I am glad to say that this has advanced significantly since its Barcelona conference in May and the company has now recognised that you need to take a flexible approach to MDM. The …
Philip Howard, 03 Nov 2006
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Purisma renames and updates

Comment Purisma has just announced version 2.0 of what used to be called the Purisma Customer Registry and has now been re-named the Purisma Data Hub. I can understand why it has dropped the "customer" from its name, as it also supports suppliers, patients, and so forth but I am less happy about the use of the term "hub". Purisma has …
Philip Howard, 31 Oct 2006
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E2E: even better than sliced bread?

Comment E2E Technologies, which stands for 'end-to-end', is a Swiss company in the application integration space and is not to be confused with either e2e Media, which is a marketing company, or E2E, which is a UK government educational initiative. Its product, the E2E Bridge, can do more than application integration, as we will …
Philip Howard, 17 Oct 2006
channel

In praise of FPGAs

All data warehouse appliances have a massively parallel architecture in which there are multiple nodes that put processing as close as possible to the disk drives. In Netezza's Performance Server these nodes are known as Snippet Processing Units (SPUs: pronounced, incidentally, to rhyme with Gnu rather than being a homonym for …
Philip Howard, 10 Oct 2006
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Aggregates: the not-so-forgotten DBA issue

Aggregates are probably the second biggest headache for database administrators in data warehouses after indexes and the tuning thereof. However, while there has been lots of discussion about indexes there has been very little about aggregates. For example, the data warehouse appliance vendors remove indexes more or less …
Philip Howard, 06 Oct 2006
channel

Netezza surprises with technical capabilities

Comment I have recently returned from Netezza's second annual conference. This was well attended, with nearly all of the company's customers (around 75) being represented, as well as a significant number of both prospects and partners. It was very (to use a technical term) buzzy and there was a degree of enthusiasm that I have rarely …
Philip Howard, 03 Oct 2006
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Progress Software: its challenges

Comment Historically, Progress Software built its business around its 4GL (which it now refers to as an ABL—Advanced Business Language) and its database. And the company succeeded by focusing on the mid-market and a channel model for reaching that market. In other words, it was a company that targeted small and medium-sized businesses …
Philip Howard, 02 Oct 2006
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StreamBase touts a standard language for event processing

Comment StreamBase has just, amidst much fanfare, announced that it is pushing for the establishment of a standard development language for event processing applications. While the company does not necessarily expect that its StreamSQL will be adopted for this purpose, it does contend that SQL should be the starting point for such a …
Philip Howard, 26 Sep 2006
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One bus or two?

Comment This question came up during Progress's recent EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) user conference: at one point, a vendor representative showed a slide showing Sonic as an ESB (enterprise service bus) and DataXtend as a comparable bus operating at the data level. From subsequent discussions it emerged that whether these should …
Philip Howard, 21 Sep 2006
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Two buses or one?

This question came up during Progress' recent EMEA user conference: at one point, a vendor representative put up a slide showing Sonic as an ESB (enterprise service bus) and DataXtend as a comparable bus operating at the data level. From subsequent discussions it emerged that whether these should be regarded as one bus or two …
Philip Howard, 21 Sep 2006
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Business Objects buys ALG

Comment Business Objects is buying ALG, which may be better known to some readers as Armstrong-Laing (I never quite understood the rationale behind changing the name, especially as ALG was likely to be confused with ASG but that's another story). Anyway, ALG is one of the leaders in the market for activity-based costing (ABC) and …
Philip Howard, 19 Sep 2006
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Another way of tackling integration

Of course, there are a variety of different types of integration and there are a range of different things that you can do with data integration. I am not here to suggest that there is another way of tackling data integration in general. However, there are specific aspects of data integration (and in this context I am talking …
Philip Howard, 01 Sep 2006
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CA and Cybermation and workload automation

Comment While I may focus on data and things to do with data, my tastes tend to be more eclectic than that so, from time to time, I dabble with other things that interest me. One of those other things happens to be what used to be Cybermation, before CA acquired it recently. Why did I get interested in Cybermation? Well, I thought it …
Philip Howard, 25 Aug 2006
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Settting the radar on Visual Sciences

Comment My recent series of articles on next generation business intelligence has created a lot of interest, not least from vendors thinking they fit the required pattern of capabilities. Perhaps the most interesting of the companies to contact me has been Visual Sciences. Visual Sciences was launched in 2001 but continued in stealth …
Philip Howard, 24 Aug 2006
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Integration appliances

Comment Appliances seem to be getting everywhere. One area for their use that I have not previously looked at, are appliances for integration. As far as I know, there are three vendors in this space: BridgeWerx, which is based around Microsoft's BizTalk; Cast Iron Systems; and InfoTone. Now, as regular readers will know, my primary …
Philip Howard, 22 Aug 2006

Real-time data warehousing

Comment Data warehousing has historically been regarded as an environment which was specifically about analysing historic data, either to understand what has happened or, more recently, in order to try to predict what will happen: for example, to try to predict customers likely to churn. However, there are also a number of environments …
Philip Howard, 31 Jul 2006
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Benchmarks, bunkum and baloney

Comment There are three types of claims made by vendors with respect to benchmarks: pure performance figures, competitive performance comparison, and TPC figures. In my view, none of these has marketing value, though the second of these potentially has some utility for the supplier. Let me explain. A good example of the over-hyping of …
Philip Howard, 12 Jul 2006
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Metadata is not enough

Comment Classically, at least in software terms, reverse engineering is the ability provided by a data modelling tool to inspect an existing database schema and derive entities and relationships from that schema. Hence the use of "reverse" - more usually you use such a tool to build entity-relationship diagrams from which you can …
Philip Howard, 05 Jul 2006
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Next generation BI - Part two

Comment In the previous article in this series, I outlined some of the major features that you want to see in a next generation BI solution. Most of this is not complex: new visualisation capabilities, integration with search and so on are not, at least in principle, difficult, though companies providing sophisticated visualisation …
Philip Howard, 04 Jul 2006
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Next generation BI

Comment I was asked recently to consider what would be required for a next generation BI solution. Never one to shirk a challenge, here are some thoughts. The key is at the user level. First, accessing data and reports needs to be simpler: you and I may be au fait with making selections from hierarchies, but lots of people aren't. Tree …
Philip Howard, 30 Jun 2006
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The application migration market

Comment Data migration is usually considered to be a homogeneous market. It isn't. There are, in fact, two major types of data migration: migration from one database to another and migration from one application to another. In this article I want to concentrate on the latter, because it is estimated that there are 8,000 SAP migrations …
Philip Howard, 28 Jun 2006
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MDM - a strategy for IBM

Comment This is the second article of two stemming from IBM's recent European MDM (master data management) conference. In the first article I discussed how I disagreed (at least in part) with the view of MDM that was put across at that conference. This article concentrates specifically on what IBM is doing in this space. In Harriet …
Philip Howard, 27 Jun 2006