Tips: Sizing a D6 System

As you may have noticed, there is no publicly available Sizing Spreadsheet for the newly released D6 yet. It is my understanding that they are still collecting data and refining it so that they have a high enough level of confidence to back it. However, I was able to get a draft copy recently and I wanted to share some observations.

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Tips: Moving to SQL Server 2005 for D6

As many of you may know, or recall, D6 does not support SQL Server 2000 anymore. This is fine and good. Most larger installations moved to Oracle years ago. However, there are a large number of Microsoft shops out there, a SQL Server is a quick to standup database for development, POC, and demo environments. So I thought I would share some tidbits on two different upgrades of SQL Server 2005. Neither were in a clustered environment, but that will happen soon and I’ll share then.

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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.

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Doquent’s “New in D6 Platform” Series

In case you’ve missed it, at the Content Management etc. blog, there are a series of entries talking about changes to the D6 platform. They are fairly thorough and should help show-off some of the new features.

  • LDAP Integration Enhancements: This describes a feature that I have been waiting for since I heard about it last fall. I plan to use it for Documentum User Names and Default Folder assignments. The failover to a second LDAP server is a pleasant surprise.
  • Property Bag: This is a good explanation, but doesn’t go into why properties would be placed into a Property Bag, aside from performance aspects. I can see some uses, but I would have to work with it some to determine optimal uses.
  • Aspects: I’ve talked about this as one of the most anticipated parts of D6. Aspects has been used in previous versions, but is now opened up to everyone else. I can’t wait to actually get a chance to use these things in the wild.

Going to keep my eye out for more. Hopefully I’ll be adding to these posts soon.

D6 Observations, Part I

This is a first of a sequence of posts of things that I notice as I downloaded the new release last night.

  • Time to stop putting off those upgrades. D6 doesn’t support SQL Server 2000 any more. Your development boxes need to be upgraded as well since Windows 2000 is officially on the scrap pile. In general, not a lot of supported platforms. Upgrading your Content Server to 5.3 sp5 as an intermediate step in order to upgrade all your 3rd party components may have just gone from being a good idea to a required step.
  • Content Server still C++ has for the application. Fabian was correct. The DMCL API, the old C++ foundation for all applications, is now part of the Java DFC. A copy of the DMCL will still be provided for legacy support, but no new features are to be provided.

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First Client Ship for D6

I have been told that FCS for D6 was yesterday. At last check it was not on the download site. Expect that in the next week or so as it always lags a bit. Three items of note…

  1. TaskSpace is coming in October. I’ve heard a couple of concerns around stability on the new interface and they seem to be waiting to get it right. Smart move.
  2. File Share Services is delayed until Q4. Haven’t heard anything about the why, but I’m not overly concerned. As this is used for desktop interactions, this shouldn’t slow people down much. By the time most upgrade plans are in place and getting ready for Test, this should hopefully be out. I’ve only needed it once over my career, so I don’t think the impact is massive.
  3. No sizing spreadsheet for D6 yet. However, expect about 25% more load on the Content Server. What exactly is meant by that, I’m not sure. I would assume both RAM and processor. Indexing should be the same as 5.3. No hints on the Application Server as of yet.

So if you need it, find your local EMC rep and tell them you can’t wait for the download site. I’m going to give them a week before I start bothering them. Realistically, not that much spare time to make it worth the effort until then. All of my precious spare time this weekend is devoted to this week’s game.

Enjoy your Labor Day.

Fitting SharePoint into the ECM Picture

Previously I compared eRoom and SharePoint. I noted several basic features, but didn’t really say that either was dramatically better than the other. They are both solid collaboration options. That is the key here. SharePoint measures up well to eRoom because they are both the same thing. They are Content Rich Applications that focus on Collaboration. They are not ECM solutions. eRoom admits it. SharePoint doesn’t.

SharePoint doesn’t appear to deliver on its promises with its out-of-the-box functionality. As was predicted and then observed, SharePoint requires multiple third party components and other customizations to achieve its true potential. The core problem that comes from this approach is managing components from multiple sources.

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Taxonomies, Good, Bad, or Ugly?

Sumanth Molakala posted a great look at determining the amount of effort that should go into creating a taxonomy for a new Enterprise Content Management solution. This brings up a debate that I have had/observed among ECM professionals for years. Do we make Search the primary access method, or the second? I find that every professional has a leaning, and I have yet to find a solid predictor for any practitioners’ preference.

I prefer a good hierarchy, while Sumanth appears to favor searching. I find that the creation of a hierarchy helps me organize my thoughts and determine what is important about any given piece of content. Also, while Google may be trying to take the world over via the Internet, most users are more intimate with their old-fashioned network file structures. The ability to browse to a piece of content adds to user acceptance of their first Document Management application. Over time, many users transition into Search-first users. Until that happens and ECM becomes transparent, I believe that a good taxonomy is important.

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