Documentum xPlore, The New “FAST” Search

Taking a break from talking about the economics and future of Content Management to look back at the reality we are facing today.  For all of the need to start moving to the future, we all still have problems that have to be solved today.

imageOne of my most challenging problems in Documentum is full-text search.  While fine for the average system, FAST is a beast.  It requires a large cage, is barely tamed, and takes a lot of work to train for larger tasks.  When you invest in it, life is good, but it is an investment of time and effort.  Like many, a chance to have a scalable, highly-available, reliable, and EASY full-text search as part of the system is something we’ve been missing in Documentum and most Content Management systems.

Well, that is changing.  At the end of October, the new Documentum xPlore search engine is being released.  Known during development as Documentum Search Server, xPlore promises to make life much easier for people.

Before I add any more details, the usual disclaimers apply.  Anything in this post talking about things not released, including dates, is subject to change.  If anything in this post fails to take reality, don’t yell at EMC, yell at me….and I’ll yell at EMC. 😉

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The EMC Writer’s Summit, 2010 Style

For those that are unaware, EMC hosts writers in the Content Management space for a 1-day gabfest about once a year.  Last week was the third one, so I guess we can officially call it annual.  This is an invite only event with some of the expenses paid.  That may lead you to wonder about what was discussed and if it was biased…

Well, it wasn’t biased or tilted at all.  First of all, kudos to EMC for inviting me.  I wasn’t the nicest person on the block after EMC World, but they still went out of their way to make sure that I was able to attend.  Their were no conditions placed upon me, and my degree of rabble-rousing was left to my own discretion.

The best part was that aside from a short intro by EMCs Whitney Tidmarsh on “Why IIG” and the changes taking place within IIG, there was no EMC focused topics or discussions.  There were some EMC opinions put out there, but they were contributions and not dictates.

All-in-all, it was a great event that spurred some great discussions and debates.  I’ll be talking on some of the topics over the next week or so here.

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The ECM Innovator’s Dilemma

So I promised an ECM specific follow-up to my book review on Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma.  There is a lot to talk about, so I’m not going to blather on with a long intro (though this sentence seems to be compounding the issue) and get right to it.

Or not…I have some disclaimers/notes:

  • Going to try and use as much of Chistensen’s terminlogy as possible.  This isn’t to say that he has a perfect model, or even 80% model, of what is happening.  It just helps to keep the terminology consistent during this particular post.
  • Every Content Management company is different and the observations will not apply universally.  Every company reacts differently.  That said, if I didn’t think that this applied to a large number of vendors, I would have targeted this post at particular vendors.

NOW we can get started.

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Review: The Innovator’s Dilemma

image The Innovator’s Dilemma

Clayton M. Christensen

Before I went to EMC World and marveled at how the management was missing the boat on the cloud and was diving wholesale into Case Management, I was told that I had to read this book.  After EMC World, I broke down, purchased it, and then fought to find time for it.  The book is over a decade old, so what was the rush? Let me tell you, I am glad I found the time.

I was told before I read the book that it was going to make me a little sad and despair for the future of Documentum.  It did in a way, but it also helped explain everything that was happening.  It actually increased my opinion of some people at EMC.  I am going to talk about the specifics to EMC, and other legacy Content Management vendors, in a subsequent post.  For now, let’s dive into the book itself.

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Quality of Documentum Over the Years

I recently received an email from someone whom I will call…Socrates.  He asked a question and I wanted to share it for discussion publicly.  First the question, then my reasons for the public discourse.

Laurence, I have been working on Documentum since version 2. I am now working on DCM 6.5 sp3. I find that the quality of the product is going down every release. What do you think?

The reason that I am bringing it up publically is because I don’t have a clear-cut answer.  As with products from most vendors, some releases are better than others.  I also only have direct experience with Documentum since the 4i release at the end of ’99.  To top it off, I haven’t used every component, much less every component of every release.

Of course, I have some concerns.  I saw Rick Devenuti speak at EMC World and he seemed preoccupied with addressing quality issues.  Whether these are long-standing or new is something we can discuss at the end, where I have a couple more thoughts.

In between, I am going to share some of my “quality” stories here, both good and bad.  I’m hoping that Johnny, Scott, Lee, and Robin all chime into the conversation.  Please do so yourself.

Remember, there is no “right” answer.  We are merely looking for experiences.

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The Mark Lewis Keynote and Other Videos

Quick post, but I wanted to share a couple of things….

So the statement that I heard that started the downward spiral at EMC World/Momentum, was one word (technically 2, but “of” doesn’t really count) off.  That is, what I told people I heard is what I thought I heard, but I missed an important word.  Here is the quote:

What most of you did who are using ECM was building Case Management.

I didn’t hear the word “Most”.  As some with EMC insisted that wasn’t what Mark said, I didn’t include that statement in my initial post. The goal hasn’t been to cause a riot, but to provide feedback.  Mind you, this “revelation” doesn’t change the message that followed or the product family being called Intelligent Case Management, but it set the frame of mind.  Mind you, the statement is still not true for me, but it isn’t definitive.  He could easily be 51%, 80%, or 99%.

Here is the keynote in five parts.  You can view the quote itself in Part 2, at the 7:20 mark.  You should watch the whole thing though and not focus on any single line.  I was just trying to get the quote right.

Part 2:

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CMIS has Arrived, Demo Anyone?

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=finish+line+olympics&iid=1345446″ src=”e/3/3/a/Olympics_Day_8_e351.jpg?adImageId=12737081&imageId=1345446″ width=”380″ height=”262″ /]The news today?  CMIS is now an official standard! I’m pretty stoked about the whole thing.  When I started this blog, after I got through my initial list of topics, it was the desire for a SOA-based standard for ECM that provided the desire.  Now that my desire has been met, almost three years later, what will I do for inspiration?

Simple, push for CMIS 2.0! In all seriousness, that is a post for another day. I want to focus on the actual release of the standard and the Demo where you can see it in action.

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