Preparing for the EMC IIG Future

Its taken a while but I did say after the event in Lisbon that I would put together some advice for people who are currently skilled in IIG products which will enable them to prepare for the future. In Lisbon a number of major announcements were made on the IIG products which will start to change the products in the next few years, no timescales were given. Some of these changes were:

- the move to the Next Generation Information Server(NGIS) and away fro the Content Server;

- the move away from WDK and towards RCMP for all web clients;

- more cloud enablement of the product stack;

- the introduction of XPlore (technical not announced in Lisbon but the timing of its introduction lets me put it in here!);

So if I was advising a Documentum developer on what to learn what would I advise them to do, in no particular order:

- learn XPlore, depending on what exposure you have to the search components of Documentum most people will need to know the basics of XPlore;

- download, install and try things in Centerstage. Why? Its the first client based on RCMP and if you can start to master development on this platform now you will be well placed when the new clients, such as xCP 2.0, come out. I’d recommend trying with all the facets of it including adding Widgets which could provide integration points with other systems;

- download, install and start to learn xDB. It may take some time for NGIS to be delivered but it will be based on xDB as the database. Learning it now will put you ahead of the game, I would look at starting to build some apps which use the engine for management of structured data which you currently find you need to model in your current Documentum based apps e.g. the POLE model (Person, Object, Location and Event);

- try out the CMIS connectors, a slightly different approach but try different methods of using the CMIS connectors on Documentum. Think of some scenarios where this may be required, e.g. an ERP system which requires to pull documents from multiple content repositories. Try it with multiple Documentum repositories and then throw in a alternative such as Alfresco or SharePoint 2010.

These are just some ideas and they may not get you ahead in the world today, but in the future you’ll be in a strong position.

 

Momentum 2010 – Keynote

Right so it has taken a couple of days to get this write up done, mainly due to the huge amount of time which I have spent at Momentum talking to customers, more on that in another post.

As I said in my post on the Partner Day I was really hoping that IIG would use the Keynote to make the change from Mark to Rick and to show a vision for the next 5 years and a plan to execute on that. So did the Keynote achieve this, in my view it missed the mark by some distance on those points. I’m not actually going to go into too much detail on the presentation as I got the feeling that it was Mark’s view on the IT primarily, and a vision for IIG secondly. Now I may be being too harsh here and Mark did say at the start that this was a 2 part session to a degree, with Rick and Jeetu’s in the pm session. I guess my problem is that IIG had the chance to set the tone right from the start, for Mark to do a short piece on his achievements and for the stage to be cleared for Rick to deliver the impact statements. Either the announcement was badly timed on the changes in position or somebody did not really consider the impact of not having Rick doing the majority of this session.

What made this worse is that prior to this session I had been to Rohit and Jeroen’s session on Architecture and had come out of that session with strong belief that IIG were making a major move to a new vision, the Keynote was a big letdown following that session.

In the keynote itself Mark introduced the 3 layer stack which I have mentioned previously. He reiterated the Mission was to “help customers get maximum leverage from information”. He also said EMC will be:

- cloud optimised;

- an Information Intelligence platform primarily composed of Case Management and Information Governance (note no note of ECM);

- a next generation UI framework;

Mark had 7 recommendations for IT people:

1. Reduce Opex;

2. Support User Choice;

3. Simplify Provisioning and User Experience;

4. Ensure Governance and Compliance;

5. Create and Leverage a 360 degree view on customers;

6. Force IT to move away from low value to more strategic services;

7. Look to IT for delivery of transformative business solutions.

We then had the usual invited guests, one customer and one analyst, before Whitney wrapped up.

As s disclaimer I must say I did not attend the afternoon keynote from Rick Devenuti and Jeetu Patel, so if the impact message was given there then my view on this is not complete. But actually I think that even if it had I feel this was a missed opportunity. Mark Lewis has no doubt put a lot of effort into EMC IIG and he deserved the recognition for his efforts, however in this Keynote that should have been the start and would have enabled Rick to really launch the new dawn of IIG. I wanted more on the vision and I wanted more on the plans to get there, the messages were too generic in my view and a number of them would have been applicable at many different software and hardware vendor presentations.

Its a real shame as I have found the conference since the keynote to be excellent and there is a real buzz about the new direction, unfortunately the buzz was not there as the main auditorium dispersed for lunch on the first day, it has grown in the time since then.

Momentum 2010 – Documentum Architecture

So the Documentum Architecture session has traditionally been one of the busiest at the Momentum conference, and in spite of the 8.45 am start this was the case in Lisbon as well. The session was presented by Rohit Ghai and Jeroen van Rotterdam. Rohit started by saying that the session wasn’t at the right time as it was going to provide more detail on the technical keynote which had not yet been given. (Note to conference schedulers, put the sessions in order and give this highlight session the slot it deserves).

Rohit put some context onto the development of the products, some Business and some Technical. He explained that they had identified three waves of focus in each of these. The Business Context was Collaboration, Compliance, Content and IT. The Technical Context was Datacenter Architecture, Application Architecture, Web and UI and Endpoints. For each of these Contexts Rohit described how the world has evolved and what this means – so for example content has moved from paper digitisation, through word docs to rich and social media.

Rohit then introduced the new stack:

UI Layer – Modular User Interfaces

Composite Application Layer – Case based applications

Information Services Infrastructure – Cloud, Information Types

Interestingly Rohit mentioned that EMc want to provide the compliance layer for all information, and he touted the idea of using EMC as the Compliance tool for information such as Googledocs, I’ve mentioned in the past how Googledocs could do with this…didn’t think EMC could play in this area but nice idea.

Jeroen then took to the stage and said he wanted to give us a sneak preview of where they are heading, this was not intended to be a roadmap. Currently EMC provide a centralised architecture, they want to move away from this:

- to be the platform for hybrid cloud deployment;

I’ve heard cloud mentioned a few times at the conference and sometimes too many people think cloud is virtualisation, Jeroen was clear on this…it is more than that, and yes we need multi tenancy.

Xplore

Jeroen then gave a brief introduction on XPlore, GA on 1st November! He talked about the current architecture and how the new architecture is very similar and the existing XML extraction technology will be used as well as the existing DFTXML format. Interestingly XPlore has been built as a standalone search engine, it will not need Documentum to run. Lucene is heavily embedded into the architecture, but is deep within the architecture. For more info on XPlore Jeroen recommended one of the XPlore sessions.

UI

After a quick recap on the Centerstage architecture Jeroen confirmed that xCP 2.0 will be built on the RCMP model, however he did note that they will not forget their WDK users and will look to achieve backwards compatibility…although this will be a challenge. He talked about the performance challenges in Centerstage 1.0 but these have now been resolved. MediaWorkspace and Centerstage will in the future work on the same technology and with data tables now in Centerstage they will look to help customers migrate from eRoom to Centerstage. Basically it looks as though we will finally see a rationalisation of the user interfaces which EMC provide. The Long Term UI strategy is:

- Client – Native RIA

- Developer – Spring IDE (Eclipse)

- Admin – Hyperiv + vCenter

Jeroen then described the EMC Cloud Information Services Strategy, and for this cloud means:

- scale out;

- multi-tenancy;

- no 3rd Party SW components, yep thats right, no more reliance on Oracle or MS for the DB or on other vendors for the App Server…simplification and cost reduction, yay!

- no downtime;

- dynamic provisioning;

- virtualisation;

- billing & metering;

Unfortunately at this stage Jeroen had ran out of time, despite a whole host more material to cover, some things I picked up on were XACML in xDB11 and even more interesting is the end of the Content Server, it will be the Information Server in the future. If this means the ability to do true structured and unstructured in one repositoy with one set of policies to manage this…well that is exciting.

Overall this was an excellent session and for anyone who has worked with Documentum for a long time should be enough to give the taste of the future, and it sounds incredibly bright. I will do more to write my opinion on the session in coming days but its been a busy day and I still need to write up the morning keynote from Mark Lewis.  I won’t get all my write-ups done this week so some will need to wait, and I look forward to reading other people’s views on the conference. Day 2 is now done and I am pleased with what I have seen thus far. So in answer to the question posted here, the thing I most enjoyed about Momentum on Day 2, for me, was the passion and excitement which the EMC team demonstrated in their vision for the future of IIG and a realisation that there will be change, and it will be a change for the good. If EMC can demonstrate and maintain this passion while delivering these changes then as a partner I can help to get customers excited and help to get them investing in EMC solutions. Good stuff.