Leadership Changes for EMC’s Documentum

This post has been a long time in coming. I’m not talking about the news that has triggered the actual writing of the post, just the themes of the post overall.  They should be pretty clear shortly….image

That said, let’s hit the headline, Mark Lewis is no longer the President of EMC’s IIG business unit, which is effectively Documentum.  Rick Devenuti, formerly the COO, is effectively taking over the position.

Wow.  I’m happy, but you need to read on to understand that oversimplification of my mood.

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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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Message from Mark Logic

Been a while since I posted anything. Life has been real busy, and continues to be busy. Aside from getting everything in order to head to EMC World for a week, I am working on the whole ECM/SOA world of ECM 2.0. Not really changing my view, but refining it so that I can get the point across more clearly and concisely.

Meanwhile, I found a follow-up posting by Dave Kellogg of Mark Logic commenting on my previous Mark Logic post and on the long name of EMC’s latest product, EMC Documentum XML Store OEM Edition. Now I don’t really want to enter into any debates, because

  1. I don’t have enough hands-on experience with either X-Hive or Mark Logic.
  2. As Dave points out, it turns into a “he said/she said” kind of argument.
  3. I don’t really care who wins. 🙂

I really just want people who read my blog to be aware of Dave’s latest entry. It is worth a read and is about as balanced and fair as what I hear from X-Hive people. He has three comments which I’ll very quickly address.

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Mark Logic Wants to Play with X-Hive?

Dave Kellogg, the CEO at Mark Logic posted a response to my X-Hive and the Content Server post. His basic theme, is that Mark Logic is not the enemy of EMC. Maybe, maybe not. Personally, I don’t care as long as my clients are happy. I do want to comment briefly on it so as to clarify things as I understand them. Any EMC person that wants to add clarification, please do so for everyone’s benefit.

We have many common customers. They want the products to work together.

Is this Mark Logic with X-Hive or Documentum Content Server?

MarkLogic Server complements document management — we deliberately decided not to build a CMS precisely to avoid competing with ECM vendors. (Ironically, x-Hive built a competing CMS called Docato on top of x-Hive/DB.)

I’m not sure how this changes things. They complement the Documentum Content Server. So does X-Hive. The won’t compete with Content Server. It is the competition with X-Hive, the Documentum XML Store, that the competition centers upon.

Mark Logic is about doing one thing better than anyone in the world: high-performance XQuery on top of large XML document stores. I don’t believe that’s the mission statement for x-Hive/DB (now “EMC Documentum XML Store”) which I’d guess is more of “how can we get Oracle out from underneath all our implementations?”

MarkLogic is more than just a basic “store.” First, MarkLogic is a high-end product — it goes very fast and scales to contentbases in the hundreds of terabytes. Second, MarkLogic provides a new top-to-bottom XML way of building web applications.

When attending the X-Hive presentations, they claim to do what Mark Logic does, except better. This is usually where the impression of Mark Logic as the main competition, aka “the enemy”, crops up. I do want to point out that this comes from X-Hive acquired people, not from any of the acquirers.

I think the point that I have taken away is that X-Hive and Mark Logic compete, but Mark Logic can work with the Content Server. Personally, I’d be happy if I was Dave. They compete with X-Hive, but the EMC sales people may try and sell customers more that just the X-Hive product, making things easier for Mark’s people. Also, they have a fair shot of staying ahead of the performance curve as X-Hive is spending resources becoming part of the Documentum platform.

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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What X-Hive Means to EMC’s Documentum

Back on July 12, X-Hive was acquired by EMC. At the time, I did a quick glance and was a little confused. I started wondering why they made the acquisition. This was worrisome as I hadn’t had that thought in years about any acquisition in the ECM industry. Maybe the new leadership of the Documentum unit didn’t have the same touch as those recently departed. After all, Documentum has traditionally worked with XML better than any of their major competitors. Even after a few weeks, I wasn’t the only one trying to figure this out. This acquisition seemed to be either an admission of weakness or a purely anti-competitive play. Then I learned some more.

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