EMC Momentum 2009 – D6.5 Architecture Overview

I’m going to try and get through the backlogs of write ups which I have, starting with this session which was hosted by Victor Spivak on the Tuesday morning. Firstly I must criticise the scheduling, or rather room scheduling. Victor’s sessions are notorious for their high attendance so why put this on in one of the smaller rooms, there was no spare space!

Victor talked about the themes which drive the architecture, namely:

- SOA

- Performance/Scalability

Victor did say at the start that some of the session would be a repeat of last year’s, fortunately I did not attend that but I have looked at some of the details which Victor talked about.

On SOA Victor talked about the need to remove the chattiness of DFC and the addition of numerous new services for D6.5. REST will be supported post 6.5, possible 6.6 release in 2010. XML and JSON representations will be made available. EMC will not try and take sides in the SOAP vs REST debate and will support both.

CMIS was discussed and Victor talked about the disappointment of JSR170 and that being the reason behind the lack of Documentum support for it. He talked about the goals of CMIS, all publicly available, and how CMIS can be considered the Esperanto of the ECM world. However he did say that the current release is best served by the Use Case of a repository explorer without too much complex functionality.

He then talked about the Centerstage model and revealed that xCP 2.0 will be based on this, more to come on this in another post. However that is not the only client approach they will follow, note Mediaspace is Flex based. He also raised the interesting idea of using Spaces in Centerstage to support multi-tenancy in the cloud, I’ll have to check some details on this but could be interesting.

On Performance and Scalability, when I stopped being annoyed at the guy who was on his phone!, Victor talked about High Volume Services and the concept of batching citing the example of creating 100 objects in the docbase and the number of api calls this generates. This can be vastly reduced with the concept of batching. Victor also talked about the concept of Lightweight SysObjects.

Next up was the subject of search. Now I had heard from a colleague about Documentum Search Services and Victor talked about it briefly, he did point out the sessions which would cover the details. DSS will use the same Index Agent as the current Search solution but will use xDB. (I had heard from another session that this may complicate the install, I’ll need to check the notes on this one). EMC will not force customers to move away from FAST and will support DSS and FAST running side by side for the forseeable future.

Victor also talked about the 100k user benchmark and the impressive results this showed, he compared this with MOSS 2010 which allegedly will have a limit of 30m objects per repository; for my current project this would not see us through to the Olympics in 2012!

Finally Victor talked a little on Virtual Content Management, which is the use of Federated Records and then briefly talked about Operation Customisation. This is to cover situations where BOF would not apply and the example Victor quoted is when a user wants to import a zip file and then on import for the contents to be extracted to a folder. Another example is a Recycle Bin. Interestingly Victor suggested they would be interested to hear of scenarios which customers/partners would like covered off and they would look at these.

Overall then a good session, a lot of info was already available but then this was a 6.5 architecture. Victor is a good presenter who is clearly passionate about his subject area. As an intro to more detailed sessions this worked well, if only I had the time to get to the other sessions!

Opportunities

So I’ve been doing some more thinking about the opportunities which will be brought about from the CMIS announcement. (I’ve also had a read through the Domain Model spec and will comment on that in the future). Where is the value in all this going to be? Probably the key question being asked right now. I’m not thinking technical here, at the end of the day your average employee will not give a damn about the fact that their systems now interact via REST, we can save that for the technologists amongst us.

My belief is that, when this comes to fruition, it will enable providers, be they SI’s or vendors, to provide more template based applications, the process templates which will underpin their core activities. By having the templates defined, configurable and reusable, customers will soon be able to focus on these business processes rather than the complexity of the integration with their underlying systems.

Consider a New Starter process where the offer letter is correspondence stored in one ECM system but the Induction Booklet is stored in another; the process definition could be consistent but the activites requiring interaction become more service based. Activities, or Services, become reusable from one organisation to another, regardless of the technology; a big step towards adding value through Service Oriented Architecture.

Organisations who grasp these opportunities will steal a march on others and lead the adoption of the standard as and when it becomes more widely available. These do not necessarily need to be ECM experts, but are more likely to be those who can add value to the operation of the business through increasing efficiency, reducing costs, improving rate to market etc… At the end of the day we are here to improve businesses, CMIS could be a big step in this direction.

SOA Conversation

So I was on the train the other day when I overheard a conversation between two IT professionals. One was a young budding Web Developer and other a more experienced technician. I didn’t listen in on purpose but my ears pricked up when they started on one subject.

Budding Developer – ‘So you must be considering SOA then…?’

Old Hack – ‘Yes, its something we muct look into.’

Budding Developer – ‘So what product are you using then?’

I didn’t say anything but it does surprise me that people still think putting in a product gives you an SOA. Its not about a product, its about an approach and how you design and build your business services and relate these to the IT services you provide. If the ideas I heard continue then this will become another failure in IT, unfortunately it won’t be the idea/paradigm which is the problem but the implementation and understanding of it.