The Federal Documentum User’s Group, November 2007


So I spent a good chunk of today at the local Documentum User’s Group meeting. Formerly a regional/local group, it has been recast as the Federal EMC Content Management and Archiving User Group. This isn’t a major problem as it doesn’t seem to actually be federally focused. I encourage all local DC users to attend. It is a well organized event that is very useful. Of particular use is the local networking with other practitioners. This meeting focused on D6.

Before I get into that, I did get official notification that Howard Shao has rejoined EMC. I’ve known this for quite a while, but had to wait for official knowledge before I could share. This is a very good thing. There were concerns that the departure of too many founders/visionaries would hurt the Documentum product. Hopefully Howard’s return will restore faith and move things where they need to go. Howard is sharp and I am damn glad he is back.

D6 and TaskSpace

The first two presentations focused on what was new in D6 and gave a demo of TaskSpace. I skipped the TaskSpace demo, having seen it more times than I can count. The D6 was mostly a recap of things that I had already learned. However, there were a few new interesting tidbits that I picked up:

  • The focus was on Quality, Performance, Usability, and Scalability: Nice market-speak
  • Historical Audit Trails: In addition to recording an attribute’s new value, it will record the historical value so that you can compare.
  • Java Management Extension (JMX) Framework: The ability to monitor system resources in Documentum Administrator. This is going to make some upcoming work on one of my projects quite nice.
  • Both UCF and Index Server work better. An attendee backed up the assertion that while D6 may not be perfect, it is an improvement and a step in the right direction.
  • SP1 is scheduled for December. There may be a minor delay, but it will be here this winter, which is when I was expecting it.

The Roadmap

The 3rd and final presentation, by Tony Sodhi, was excellent. It basically gave all the information you need to plan your next 2 upgrades and how they are, currently, planning their releases and support for other vendors products, like IE and Oracle. The schedule was great because it was a reiteration of what was first shared at EMC World 2007.

Tony also shared some key features on the upcoming releases. Please remember that this is all future stuff. Your version of reality, timing and features, may differ as the world changes. Obviously in 6 months there will be an update at Momentum, so everything after that don’t sweat.

  • 5.3 SP6, 2/08, hot fix roll ups and extended Support timeframe.
  • D6 SP1 will include Documentum Composer, Offline capabilities, and OLE linking support between documents.
  • D6 SP2, 4/08, reworked Client for Outlook, DFS based Content Services for SharePoint.
  • D6.5, Q2/08, Full Web 2.0 support (wikis/blogs), Archive Server, support for Lucene. Also includes an upgrade to the FAST InStream Server to 5. You will be able to choose your Indexing Service though, so you won’t have to switch. However, I get the feeling that Lucene is the way of the future. I use it on another project and it works well.
  • D6.5 SP1, Q3/08, No new features in Service Packs starting with 6.5. Maybe some enhancements, but mostly hot fix roll-ups.
  • D7, H1/09
  • D8, H2/10, Native XML support. This may be where X-Hive is slated to be the backbone of Content Server. It is waaay to far away to start worrying about.

Tony also talked about moving to D6 from 5.3. After scaring both the crowd and myself, I was able to get some clarifications afterwards that helped set things straight. As a whole, it is simple. The only twist is if you are going to run a mixed 5.3/D6 environment. For each client, you need at least one repository of the same generation to hold the Global Registry for that client application. 5.3 clients cannot use D6’s global repository and the same applies in reverse. Mind you, you can have a 5.3 repository that is solely serving as a Global Repository for 5.3 clients while the clients access content both D6 and 5.3 repositories.

This may sound a little confusing, but it comes out to this. Either upgrade everything at once, or get some assistance in planning your upgrade. I’m not talking expensive, just get your Account Rep to have his engineer help you out. A few hours should get you in the right direction if your staff is competent.

4 thoughts on “The Federal Documentum User’s Group, November 2007

  1. Interesting to learn about Lucene as the search engine. I guess it is a matter of money but isn’t FAST InStream a much more capable search engine? The sad part now is that very few of the cool features of the big brother FAST ESP is exposed in WebTop/DAM.

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  2. FAST may be more capable, but it is also complex and takes more overhead than they had originally planned. I’ve used Lucene and it works well. I’m hoping that the switch will allow better flexibility to configure full-text for each environment.

    I’m not making the jump to Lucene quickly. I’m going to upgrade the InStream engine and if that is doing well, I won’t be too quick to rock the boat on any existing installations.

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  3. Ok, well when I was at EMC World in Orlando this year quite a few people seem to have different kind of issues with the full-text index server (FAST). Still, Documentum is probably one of the more complex ECM-system out there so I am a bit surprised that a complex search engine scare people away. I recently have some experience of using and configuring FAST ESP and I really appreciate all the possibilities it offers to create a very good search application even if that means a complex setup. The same goes for Documentum. If I needed an easier to use lightweight document manager I would choose something else.

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