Hot Topics from EMC World 2008: CMA Edition
Now that I’ve gotten the “rant” out of me regarding on how EMC World needs to improve, not to mention all of that coffee, let’s start hitting the positives. I will dive into more details on most of these, but I wanted to share something besides random thoughts in the middle of my notes. So, off we go, in no particular order.
Okay, maybe one particular order. I loved it! However, it wasn’t nearly as cool as the new interface (the video doesn’t do it justice) for the Rich Media folks. I talked to several users of the current Digital Asset Manager product line and they loved it. For years, Documentum has been focusing on the back-end of the system, making it stronger. That is a good thing if people are going to be using Documentum as infrastructure in a transparent manner. It doesn’t make the end-user feel loved though.
Something that I liked about the new interfaces, they are all using Documentum Foundation Services (DFS). That’s correct. They use Web Services which means that they are part-way to being generic front-ends that can serve any ECM system. I’m sure that isn’t the intent, but it is one step down the evolutionary path. Next step, get them using an ECM SOA standard.
This delay on the evolution of the front-end has been a gamble. It has allowed SharePoint to make strides and hurt eRoom dramatically. Many Documentum people acknowledge that it was a risk. They feel that it was worth it as the confidence in the strength of the Content Server is very high. My observation was that EMC’s best hope is for SharePoint to become so widespread that it became unmanageable, leading people to look for collaboration solutions on true a true ECM backbone.
[Edit: Full Article here.]
I’ve learned that no matter what your desired approach to integrating SharePoint and Documentum, there is a partner that will help you out. Wingspan has a pretty cool collection of Web Parts and Schema Logic has a plan for managing metadata between SharePoint and Documentum, though not the security data. I made a feature request for that. Nobody, and I mean nobody, has a total solution. EMC is the only group even considering the full picture.
This is something that is going to bear watching. What are we watching for? Check back in a few days. Trust me, it won’t arrive in the meantime.
[Edit: Full Article here.]
Documentum started as a document management system. There is a lot of leftover overhead in the database from that legacy. This has limited its effectiveness as an archiving solution. Say each document takes 3K of overhead in the database. Take 10 million objects and you get 30 gigabytes. It adds up quick when you just consider the emails that the average company ingests. Take the Lightweight Sysobject, throw in some ways to optimize code for batch imports, and you have yourself a system that works extremely well as an archiving system.
The Transactional Content Management requirements are really aiming for that type of volume. If Documentum is going to be part of the infrastructure, then these new features really need to work well, and soon. While I think that EMC has the lead on the other ECM vendors from a scalability side, they need to step up here if they are going to stay ahead of the specialized archive vendors.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
I kept hearing this in session after session. I finally went to a session on it and while I didn’t buy the entire pitch and angle, I saw enough to determine that EMC will be a player in that environment within the Enterprise. DFS was just a start and seems to be part of a bigger picture of Enterprise Content Services (ECS). This is something that will take a little reflection upon to get right. It is, I think, the way to get DFS to provide what is needed to support a full SOA environment.
Just in case you missed it, here are some of the other bloggers that attended and little snapshots into what they saw and thought. I’ll be addressing many of these topics myself, but if you hadn’t found the posts yet, you shouldn’t have to wait.
- Alexandra Larsson: Been reading her blog for a while now and I had the pleasure to meet her while in Vegas. I hadn’t added her to my blogroll only because her Documentum posts were few in number. Well, no longer. Alexandra took notes on several sessions that I did not attend, at typing speeds that I cannot match. Her Reflections post was very good and she shared a few additional insights into the conference that are dead-on. One of her comments made me think about something someone else had shared with me. Overview sessions on Monday with more detailed sessions as the week goes on.
- Big Men on Content: Both Lee and Marko were there and have shared their initial thoughts on the conference. I got to meet both of them and I was impressed by both of them. They each want a larger community for the CMA. EMC seems like they are trying to begin building a non-developer version. They are calling it Momentum and I have subscribed to see what will happen. In the meantime, I expect more posts from the Big Men in the next few weeks.
- Andrew Chapman: I spent some time with Andrew talking about SharePoint and what we need to make things work. His most recent post bails on the issue, saying we don’t know what we want. All kidding aside, many people do only know that they want Documentum and SharePoint to work together. In one session, Andrew and Erin Samuels, the Product Manager for SharePoint, worked hard to get myself and several other users to more clearly define our use cases so that they can get what is needed to the field. I don’t envy them their task.
- The Storage Anarchist: I know what your thinking…WHOA!!! A storage blogger. This is THE storage blogger of the EMC world. He has some nice picture of a trick pool shot from the exhibit hall. More importantly, if you care about anything besides content, he has a nice summary post that links to a lot of other coverage.
- Craig Randall: Craig was there and in addition to working with me to understand in more detail the issues we are facing around Identity Management in our SOA world, he is a pretty great guy. He directed me to some critical people with whom to share my use cases and as the show went I continued to chat with them about I am seeing on a growing basis. Craig has several good posts about some of the DFS sessions, with links to resources, on his site.