Posts tagged "enterprise cms"

SeeUnity: Sync MS SharePoint and Enterprise CMS


SeeUnity, a company made up of enterprise content integration fankids, has just released Synchronize Express. The tool allows users to shift back and forth from SharePoint to external Enterprise CMS repositories.

Synchronize Express pairs SharePoint folders with their corresponding folders in external repositories (ECM systems, line business apps, file shares, etc.). This connection makes it so that when content is placed in a source folder, it is automatically copied into the corresponding destination folder as well. Moreover, any changes made to files in the source folder will be automatically made in the corresponding destination folder.

Note: Content can be synced from SharePoint out to an ECM system, or from an ECM system out to SharePoint.

This handy tool is designed to improve performance, provider read and write access to duplicated files (while protecting master versions), inspire sharing, and archive and portect SharePoint content as ECM document of record.

Product Highlights

Here’s a quick rundown of the features:

  • Mapping tools to easily define rules
  • Bi-directional content transfer
  • Cross folder copying or synchronization
  • Inheritable metadata and security
  • Conversion to PDF (publishing from ECM to SharePoint)
  • Transfers files and folders
  • Monitoring tools audit processing

"Synchronize Express delivers a new type of content integration for SharePoint," says Brant Henne, Marketing Director for SeeUnity. "Customers have requested an agile, cost-optimized solution for moving content between SharePoint and external content management systems. Synchronize Express provides this ability – with a product that installs in minutes and requires no specialized user training."

Synchronization is The Business

Synchronization is getting a lot of attention as of late. Google, for example, just announced free recovery and backup for Google Apps, thanks to Synchronous Replication. Like Synchronize Express, the tool works by replicating data, but in this instance every action taken in Google Apps gets stuck into two data centers at once. This way, if there's a data center outage or loss, users won't have to worry about losing data, or even noticing the glitch. 

Care to utilize synchronization for your SharePoint needs? Head over to SeeUnity's official site.

GRC Roll-up: The Impact of Social Media and Governance

Companies have been contemplating compliance and governance issues for decades. But it’s only recently that they’ve been tackling the challenge that social media brings to corporate governance, risk and compliance. This week we examine a few of the elements impacting the industry.

Social Media Governance

According to Irwin Lazar, vice president of communications and collaboration research at Nemertes Research, enforcing social media governance isn’t just a project for human resources. Lazar says that the responsibility also belongs to message compliance specialists, who need to monitor employees to make sure they aren’t intentionally or inadvertently breaking policy with their posts and tweets.

Breaking policy, as inadvertent as it could be, is an issue. According to the fifth annual Usage Trends, End User Attitudes and IT Impact survey by FaceTime Communications, about 14% of IT managers surveyed in December 2009 reported having data leaked through social networks. Another 18% said they have taken disciplinary action over incidents that occurred through employee use of social media.

Coupled with research recently published by Cisco Systems, which found a significant lack of policies and procedures in place for enterprise social media use, despite the fact that 95% of users said they use social media at work for business or personal reasons. Bottom line? Social media governance is in trouble.

Is Social Media the Answer?

Which may be why Keith Kochberg of says that social media “can be more trouble and expense than it's worth, and it can even do more harm than good.” Considering the previously reported results, such statements may not be so over-reactionary.

Social media, Kochberg says, takes time and lots of oversight to achieve the return on investment that many companies are searching for. Yet, social media can offer lots of interaction and engagement, which can result in elevated customer retention when done correctly.

Social Media Solutions for the Enterprise

If your company is undeterred by the challenges that social media presents to the enterprise, then you might want to check out the new social networking site is a social media site designed specifically for financial advisers to communicate with their investors. Financial advisers can maximize their communication and engagement with investors while also assisting financial advisers in meeting FINRA compliance requirements.

While there isn’t a magic solution for managing social media compliance, all companies are strongly encouraged to create policies that can make governance more manageable. What social media governance strategies is your company initiating?

CMS Review: Oracle Universal Content Management (UCM)

Oracle acquired Stellent's content management system in a US$ 440 million deal that closed in December of 2006. Since then Oracle has integrated the Stellent assets into the Oracle Fusion Middleware line of products. Here's a look at what is now known as Oracle Universal Content Management (UCM).

Can a Database Company Make the CMS Elite?

This overview presents you with a master-level insight on what Oracle UCM really is and what it can do for you, your organization and your career. You'll see insider information and the little known facts about the history, pricing, UCM core business focus and the key product features.

Product Description

Vendor Name: Oracle Corporation
Product Name: Oracle Universal Content Management (UCM)
Product Category: Enterprise CMS Stack - Web CMS, Document Management, Records Management, Business Process Automation and Imaging.

Typical Deployment Scenarios

These are the typical business cases Oracle UCM addresses:

  • An organization that has unstructured and decentralized document storage, like shared drives and email, possibly in multiple office locations, will achieve massive savings via the speed of information retrieval, will be able to find documents once thought lost, progress to audit trails and revision history and enrich their content with custom metadata.
  • Existing or new UCM clients can publish their content to the Web — without the need to convert (and maintain) every single document as HTML.
  • Realization of full DoD 5015.2 — compliant Records Management — for a company that needs to control retention and disposition of their electronic or physical records.
  • Streamlining and automation of business processes.
  • Image acquisition, management and conversion.
  • Encrypting and securing sensitive content when it’s not in repository — inside and outside the firewall.
  • Analyst firm The Real Story Group in their Web CMS Report says that Oracle UCM should be considered when document management functionalities are a top priority for your solution.

Company & Product History

Oracle UCM, like many of today's top CMS products, came to Oracle via an acquisition. In Nov 2006 Oracle bought Minnesota-based Stellent Inc. At the time of acquisition Stellent was a 10+ year old company.

Back then, the latest UCM version was at v.7.5. Shortly after the acquisition, a new release of the software came out, labeled as Oracle 10g R3. The next release — expected in 2010 —  will be 11g.

Market & Pricing

Not all products deserve your attention when you're in the process of selecting a CMS. Here are a few high-level facts about Oracle UCM.

Oracle UCM Market

Oracle UCM is positioned in the enterprise content management space. That is to say is offers a range of content services spanning both structured and unstructured content types. Here's how an executive from Oracle has described the types of problems that it helps to address:

"The amount of electronic content, unstructured data, and documents is growing very rapidly and organizations are seeking advanced and automated content and process management solutions to manage this information to meet regulatory requirements," said Oracle Senior Vice President, Thomas Kurian. "Stellent's enterprise content management solutions enable a variety of people within an organization to create, capture, store, manage, publish, view, search and archive all types of documents across their entire life-cycle."

Oracle UCM 10gR3 is one of the complex enterprise products covered in The Real Story Group's Web CMS Report (download a free sample here). In that report the analysts describe UCM as being a very good fit for enterprise intranets and as being a relatively developer friendly product — sporting strong documentation and ample sample code for reference. On the downside they point to a high learning curve and a fairly expensive price tag.

Oracle UCM Pricing

The pricing model is conventional and two-fold — you can pay by named user or you can license by the server CPU.

Named user license ranges from US$ 1,200 to US$ 2,300. If you go with the CPU model, the list pricing is anywhere from US$ 57,500 to US$ 115,000 per CPU (Based on Oracle Technology Global Price List, Jan 14, 2010). The support and maintenance agreement is extra. A typical deal price is in the neighborhood of US$ 250,000.

Oracle UCM has over 5,000 customers worldwide — including Procter & Gamble, Merrill Lynch, Los Angeles County, The Home Depot, British Red Cross, ING, Vodafone, Georgia Pacific, Bayer Corp. and Genzyme Corp.

Sales and professional services are delivered by the Oracle Sales team, Oracle Consulting and Oracle Partner network companies.

Product History & Original Business Problem

The origin of a product has a tremendous impact on the root architecture and thus the scenarios in which the product thrives. It's important to identify what the root/historical use cases are.

In the case of Stellent, the original business problem was document management. The company was founded in 1995 as IntraNet Solutions, and subsequently changed its name to Stellent, Inc. in 2001. This history of document- and intranet-centricity has long influenced the product, and to-date means that its strength is not on the web content management side.

The core of the Oracle UCM software is the Content Server. This is a compact and efficient content database. Yes, it can scale to millions of records, but at the same time, you can run Oracle Content Server on your grandma's laptop with 256 MB of RAM.

The actual content is stored in the file system and its metadata in a database of your choice. The storage is optimized for very fast retrieval. Content Server doesn't need to access the database when a content item is requested.

Since the beginning, Content Server offered strong metadata support. It's easy to define new fields, rules and relationships and reflect them on the user interface.

The last bit of the UCM foundation is its historic and continued services-oriented architecture. Every feature of Oracle UCM has a service call behind it. And importantly these APIs are easy to automate, integrate and customize.

Oracle's Vision for Universal Content Management

Key Features & CMSWire Ratings

Product Core Technology

Stellent/UCM is built in Java and that makes it a cross-platform solution, and a more natural fit in the merging-as-we-speak Oracle and Sun organizations. The software is supported on a variety of platforms and can use a variety of databases. The most popular choices are:

  • Oracle Enterprise Linux/Apache and Oracle DB
  • Windows and SQL Server
  • Solaris and DB/2

Rating: 5 out of 5

Content Entities

The root concept of the content in the system is a content item. That can be a document, script or template or a web page. Every item has a number of metadata fields associated. There are some standard ones and you can extend the content item definition via any number of user-defined custom fields.

Oracle UCM — Configuration Manager

It’s a matter of several clicks to add a field, define relationships or define whether or not (and how) to show it on a check- in form. The check-in form itself may change based on a user-defined rule, such as a type of content you check in.

Oracle UCM — Check in Profiles

It's just as easy to define and update content types:

Oracle UCM — Managing Content Types

If needed, content can be reused in a flash. For instance, if you have a Word document that you'd like to post on a website, you don't need to have your web designer lay it out as HTML page and have two versions of the same content that you need to maintain and update separately.

Instead, just refer to your document from your website and see it become HTML right before your eyes. I've actually made some screenshots from the public site of one of the Ontario Ministries. Here's a word document:

Oracle UCM — Sample Word Document

And here's how Stellent Dynamic Converter makes it look on the web:

Oracle UCM — Word Document Displayed as a Web Page

Rating: 5 out of 5

Taxonomy Features

Does it support tags? It does if you put them in metadata fields. Remember, it's easy to add custom fields when you need them. Yes, you can use custom metadata fields to implement multiple tag vocabularies (e.g., one for blog posts, one for product directory). You can even display them as a tag cloud — but there's a small caveat: you'll need to script the actual tag cloud page fragment.

That said, it's not as hard as it sounds. Stellent comes with a complete integrated development environment, a Basic-like scripting language (iDoc script) and a full featured IDE.

Oracle UCM — Site Studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

It doesn't come with an out of the box taxonomy support.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Content Versioning

There's no limit on the number of versions of any given document. And it's just a click to revert back to a previous version of a content item.

Oracle UCM — Content Versioning Interface

It's also easy to preview what the document used to look like, but there's not always an easy way to compare versions side by side.

Rating: 4 out of 5


This is where Content Server really shines. You can easily create any number of workflows. Any of them can have an unlimited number of steps and is fully customizable. You can add custom event handlers and scripting. You can really do anything you want from within the workflow.

Here's how the Workflow Admin application looks:

Oracle UCM — Content and Document Workflow

Rating: 5 out of 5

Multi-lingual Support

Yes, Stellent supports multi-lingual content. Even though there are no localized versions of the administration interface itself, it's easy to customize as the administrative interface itself is nothing but a set of templates and corresponding service calls.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Editorial Features

Once in contribution mode, the user gets seamless access to Web CMS features. For instance, editable regions are marked with these type of icons:

Oracle UCM — Web Content Management (WCM)

You can either get a standard Content Info page and access to all of the Content Server features or simply click on the icon for Check Out And Open feature.

If a native document was placed behind this editable region, that document will open in its native application (i.e. MS Word will pop up). Otherwise, Oracle UCM's built-in content editor is used to update it:

Oracle UCM — Site Studio Contributor

You can also restrict certain content to only text, image or a WYSIWYG element. You can even build a query and have its result display in a list. It's easy to use and it's user-friendly.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Web 2.0 Tools/Integration

What about Web 2.0? We touched on it briefly when we discussed the tag support. Stellent does have blogs, wikis and RSS feeds, but those are not its strongest points.

Remember, Oracle UCM is a content management platform much more than it is a social media or online collaboration platform. The public facing and presentation features are not UCM's strengths. If you need a best-in-class online collaboration tool that (IMHO) leaves SharePoint in the dust — use Oracle Web Center. It's also free with some of the UCM license options.

Oracle Web Center has full support for team workspaces, online calendaring, personal web sites, pluggable portlets and many more. And it can interact with content stored in Oracle UCM nearly out of the box.

Rating: 5 out of 5 (with Web Center), 2 out of 5 (without Web Center)


Oracle UCM is built on a services-oriented architecture (SOA). The services are well documented and you don't have to be a developer to call them. For instance, a site administrator may call the services to create hierarchies, retention schedules or automate content migration.

Available APIs include a full range of SOAP Web Services, Java API, JSP, ASP, COM and .NET and iDoc Script, the built-in Basic-like scripting language — all well documented. Content Server itself includes plenty of code samples — in many programming languages — from .NET to Java to C++.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Content Delivery Architecture

Here is another very important review point — Content Delivery and Publishing Performance. I still remember the pain-rich experience of explaining to business users of a large financial institution why they had to wait for up to 6 hours for the content cache to get flushed and their updates finally show up on the website.

Oracle Content Server has both a fully dynamic and static HTML publishing model. And even if you chose the dynamic one, content delivery is almost static-html-fast. Remember, all content is stored in a file system and Content Server doesn't need to access the database (not even to check permissions).

Web content may need to be assembled from a template and a number of fragments, but the performance is still very good.

The static publishing model brings the delivery speed another notch up — to an absolute maximum. It also eliminates security treats.

That said, the penalty is a slight delay in publishing (up to 10 min for very large sites), for the conversion of incremental changes to static HTML.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Templating & Theming

With Oracle UCM Web Content Management, every page has a template associated with it. You can use the same template for all of the pages on the site — and this is exactly what most web sites do — or you can define a variety of templates.

Any reusable blocks of content can be saved into the Fragment Gallery and used in any number of templates.

A template can have one or more regions where the actual page content resides. You can be very specific in defining what type of content users can place there — like plain text, image, rich text, list of query results and others. You can even specify what controls in the WYSIWYG editor will be hidden.

You can also place a native document, such as MS Word, Excel or PDF and have Content Server Dynamic Converter deliver an HTML rendition for you. Or you can have the UCM convert your AutoCAD drawing or a Visio Diagram to PDF and deliver as a downloadable file.

Another popular feature is the ability to build pages right in the query string — by specifying the template and the Content ID of the document that goes into its content area.

Templates themselves can be authored in JSP, ASP and built in iDoc script. iDoc templates are JSP-like HTML documents sprinkled with blocks of script.

Oracle also provides a fully-functional IDE for authoring web content (see Site Studio Designer screenshots above) and its light, web-based version for remote authoring and administration. Creating a web page in Site Studio is not any harder then doing so in FrontPage, Dream Weaver or any other leading HTML Editor. All you need is just a 10 minute introduction to its basic constructs — the templates, fragments and document regions.

All of the above is very well documented and fully supported by Oracle. The only thing that Stellent Web Content Management doesn't offer is theming. But you can easily change the look and feel of your website by modifying the template(s) that it's built on.

All pages will instantly reflect the changes.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Similar Products

If all you need is to add revision history to your non-managed documents, sprinkle some online collaboration and web publishing, SharePoint would be an excellent alternative.

You can also check out other systems like Open Text, Documentum, Nuxeo and Alfresco. But when it comes to having a complete stack encompassing document management, web content management, records management, online collaboration and imaging — it's hard to find another one stop shop, and another reputable and established vendor like Oracle.

In Summary

While slightly "behind times" on tags and taxonomy support (even though you can add your own with just a few days of scripting), Oracle UCM offers a killer set of features and serves a formidable spectrum of needs. Its document and web content management features are excellent and the Web Center — its often freely included companion product — delivers an audit-proof-complete list of the latest online collaboration features.

In my opinion Oracle UCM is a must-see for any organization looking to invest in a new enterprise content management platform. So don't stop here. Scan a few articles on Oracle UCM. Get a feel for it. Form your own opinion. Even if your current organization doesn't use it now — it's a worthy platform and you'll be all the wiser for understand the offering.


About the Author

Dmitri Khanine is one of just two Oracle-recognized non-employee experts in the field of Content Management, world-wide. He also runs the Independent Oracle UCM Knowledge Center.

Open Text to Cash Out CDN $35 Million for Nstein

Hey, look, it took no time at all. As we predicted a little while ago, Open Text (site) is getting ready to make yet another acquisition in the Web CMS space.

This time around, it’s their Canadian neighbor Nstein Technologies Inc. (news, site) — the makers of TME (Text Mining Engine). Data mining and analysis, and not necessarily WCM or DAM, is likely the main focus of this deal.

(Still) Continuing the CMS Quilting Exercise

As if the RedDot and Vignette saga wasn’t enough, Open Text is bringing on yet another Web CMS product into its quilt of content management technologies.

With Nstein, however, there’s also a nice touch of semantic search technologies, as we in detail showed you recently, when the vendor released Semantic Site Search (3S). Not to mention Nstein's Text Mining Engine (TME), which we think might be the main focus of this deal.

The Deal

As of now, the two entered into a definitive agreement, by which Open Text will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Nstein through an Nstein shareholder-approved amalgamation with a subsidiary of Open Text under the Companies Act (Québec).

Nstein shareholders will receive CDN $0.65 in cash for each Nstein common share. As of Friday 02/19/2010, Nstein shares were at $0.34, with average volume of 28,675 shares and the 52-week range from $0.23 to $0.55. All in all, not a bad deal for Nstein shareholders, as the Open Text purchase price represents a premium of approximately 100% above the 30-day trading average.

The entire transaction is valued at approximately CDN $35 million.

What to Expect

The transaction is expected to close in Q2, if two-thirds of Nstein’s shareholders agree, making Open Text shareholders warm and fuzzy, and showing some growth (albeit, not organic) for Open Text itself.

Aside from upcoming layoffs at Nstein, we have a feeling that Open Text will concentrate on the data mining side of things with Nstein and, eventually, stop supporting the WCM/digital publishing arm of Nstein (after milking that cash cow).

Nstein has been doing a good job on the data mining and semantic search fronts lately, and there’s enough products in Open Text portfolio as it is to publish pages and manage digital assets, but:

A - decent, in-house built semantic search engine

B - Sentiment Analysis engine

C - Image-based search

D - data mining through Text Mining Engine (TME) (would be a nice addition to Vignette, no?)

are all, more or less, a breath of fresh air for Open Text.

As Open Text’s president and CEO John Shackleton hinted, "Nstein will … add complementary technology and expertise that enhances our ECM solutions portfolio."

Some of Nstein's rich media management technology can be weaved in nicely with one of Open Text's previous acquisitions — Vizible (check our coverage of that here). Vizible’s solutions provide the ability to create rich visual user experiences, including 3D navigation, and cross-channel content delivery (cell phones, PDAs, web).

Given the fact that we haven't heard anything about what Vizible is doing since the acquisition, we think that will change soon, as Open Text starts working on the marriage of Vizible and Nstein.

Another stranger we haven't heard from is Open Text Social Media product. Do you see any opportunities for Nstein's technology there?

It will be interesting to see what happens to Picdar, a U.K. digital asset management (DAM) vendor that Nstein acquired back in 2008. Open Text’s Artesia acquisition does precisely DAM, and there’s no good DAM reason to combine the two products, maybe only to continue selling them both (yet, with focus on the more expensive Artesia), but to different market segments.

GRC Roll-up: Google Buzz, HITECH and Protecting High Value Data

This week, GRC chases social media, hospitals find themselves unprepared for new changes in records management and corporations risk losing valuable data.

Privacy v. Google Buzz

It’s not often that the worlds of social media and GRC overlap, but such is the case with Google Buzz. As you probably know, Buzz is Google’s social networking and messaging tool designed to integrate into Gmail.

As the rest of the world tries to figure out how exactly to embrace Buzz, financial advisers are also trying to figure out the compliance and regulatory ramifications. Since Google automatically enrolled Gmail users to the Buzz service and revealed the identities of the people whom they email most frequently — users' full names, not their nicknames — to every one of their contacts.

Additionally, financial advisory professionals must archive their social media content, and at present Buzz doesn’t offer an easy solution. Concerns over privacy are at the heart of the matter, of course. Just another way that social media is shifting the line between private and public that is sure to keep the financial industry up at night.

HITECH Leaves Many Unprepared

New privacy and security requirements for health information technology contained in the economic stimulus law have gone into effect. Already providers are reporting difficulties in complying with the new rules.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act is intended to increase the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) by physicians and hospitals and according to a recent survey, nearly a third of the 200 hospitals said they are not ready to meet all the law’s privacy and security requirements by the deadlines.

Much of the uncertainty points to a requirement of significant resources for implementation, but little guidance for how to do it. 

Protecting High Value Data from Spammers

It’s becoming easier and easier to execute successful spamming strategies online. According to a NetWitness' report, 68,000 account logins were stolen from 75,000 botted PCs in corporate networks and as a result corporations are having a difficult time keeping ahead of it.

Organizations without continuous, real-time monitoring in place will find themselves unable to detect this type of activity. Rather than focusing on the defense of network perimeters or on meeting compliance checklists, corporations can be better prepared by focusing on protecting high-value corporate data.

DocZone XML Content Management Get a New Pay Per Page Pricing Model

The XML content management system vendor DocZone (site) which was bought out last year by Really Strategies (site) has just added another pricing scheme to its SaaS offering for publishers and technical writers, by offering them the option to pay-per-page.

Under the new pay-per-page option, users will be given full system capabilities for editorial and production with access to all features, the amount they pay is based on the number of final pages produced.

And really that’s not bad when you consider that DocZone Publisher is an "all inclusive" Web-based editorial and production system that supports the creation, management, translation and single-source publishing of content.

Powered by the open-source Alfresco CMS platform, DocZone Publisher includes:

  • An authoring tool for distributed teams accessed via a browser
  • Easy and efficient search and query of all content
  • Numerous content management abilities including versioning and access control
  • Workflow management
  • Language translation tools.

When Really Strategies bought DocZone in July last year we speculated that by combining the two most price efficient solutions on the market — Web CMS from Really Strategies and SaaS publishing from DocZone —  users could be looking at considerable economies for the future.

This new pay-per-page scheme would seem to bear that out with the only question now being what other pricing packages we will see in the future.

Softlayer Improves Cloud Offering, Deploys Isilon’s Scale-out NAS

Using the Cloud is getting cheaper all the time. And it should get cheaper with the announcement by Softlayer (site), a provider of on-demand virtual data center services, as it starts to deploy Isilon’s (site) scale-out NAS to power its cloud infrastructure.

While neither company is exactly new, the combination of the two products will allow Softlayer to offer its enterprise clients scalable storage according to their needs. What this means is that enterprises will really only have to pay for what they use.

Anyone that has looked at the possibility of pay-as-you go options will be aware that there are a number of them on the market, but this offering is lockstepped into customer demand, which means your storage space is fitted exactly to your needs.

Softlayer And The Cloud

SoftLayer has been racking hardware together in secure locations across America since 2005 for remote access by enterprise users. In keeping with this, SoftLayer has picked the appropriate title of CloudLayer for its range of new services to ensure CIOs know exactly what it is selling.

Highly scalable, clients can get as much storage, bandwidth and processing power as required from SoftLayer. Besides operating as stand-alone solutions, every CloudLayer service can interface with SoftLayer’s dedicated servers and automated services to create a fully integrated system.

The Softlayer Cloud

Computing costs go from US$ 99 for a single core, 1GB RAM and 100GB of storage to US$ 299 for eight cores, 8GB RAM and 100GB storage. Plain storage goes from just US$ 10 for 50GB.

Isilon Scale-out NAS

However with the introduction of scale-out NAS and its OneFS operating system even these costs could be reduced again. By deploying Isilon's scale-out NAS, Softlayer has unified all of its cloud-based operations onto a single high performance pool of storage and increased efficiency across storage facilities in three geographically disparate regions.

Scale-out NAS is part of Isilon’s fifth-generation storage , which gives enterprises easy-to-manage storage infrastructure at reduced capital and operational expenditures.

Designed to seamlessly scale on-the-fly as business needs dictate, it can add hundreds of terabytes of storage in just minutes.

Users can take on larger projects immediately, creating new and more content, and perform more in-depth research by instantly scaling storage performance and/or capacity — all without requiring additional IT staff.

Once racked, Isilon says you can have a cluster online in less than 10 minutes without having to use integration services. And every Isilon cluster is a single pool of storage with a global namespace, eliminating the need to support multiple volumes and file systems.

At the heart of it is Isilon's OneFS operating system, which is behind all Isilon IQ scale-out NAS solutions, which pulls every system component, or node, into a seamless, unified system.

Softlayer itself admits that before the introduction of Isilon Scale-out NAS, they were not properly able to deliver scalable storage according to enterprise need. With this new storage system they can. It will be interesting to see how this is reflected in storage pricing once it is fully in gear.

GRC Roll-up: Data Security Tips, Data Storage NOT in the Cloud?

This week in GRC delivers data security tips, options for storing data off the grid and an executive shift in priorities.

Protect Your Data, Save Millions

There’s no doubt that breakdowns in data security can cost companies money. The Ponemon Institute, an organization dedicated to privacy, data protection and information-security policy has defined that number. From 2005 to 2008, average costs associated with data security breakdowns rose from US$ 138 per record to US$ 202 per record, or from US$ 4.45 million to US$ 6.65 million per incident.

And experts predict that 2010 could be just as costly. That is, unless companies start doing all they can to protect customer data. Among the steps they can take:

  • Implement an adequate encryption system that covers data in storage and when it’s being transmitted.
  • Check the security mechanisms in place for your customers’ networks to safeguard against hackers and security compromises.
  • Conduct independent tests of your system at least once a year and any time the infrastructure is updated.
  • Re-establish customer trust and confidence with transparency and public responsiveness.

Company Data Goes Back on the Shelf

Forget storing your data on the cloud. Some archival and storage companies are doing it themselves. By storing detailed information of what's in a box, along with the box's location on the shelves, in a company database, storage companies aim is to be able to not only provide off-site storage, but make it simple for companies to access their information when needed.

These off site storage options, which comply with HIPAA and other federal regulations, are gaining popularity, mostly because of space issues within organizations. As rent increases, companies may simply not have the money or room to house files. And while some are working to archive documents electronically, they are still seeking to house paper copies at a remote location for backup.

Executives Focused on GRC

According to a global survey by KPMG International, nearly two-thirds of executives say they are focused on converging their company's many governance, risk and compliance initiatives, to improve risk management and reduce costs.

It’s good news for GRC, which seems to be taking a priority at the executive level. What’s driving the shift in priorities? Everything from a need to simplify overall business complexity (44 percent), to reducing organizational risk exposure (37 percent) , to improving corporate performance (32 percent).

Executives also seemed clued-in to the benefits that GRC initiatives can deliver, citing the ability to identify and manage risks more quickly (59 percent) and improve corporate performance (39 percent).

Of course, acknowledging the significance of these initiatives on a survey is one thing. Actually doing them, is another.

Oracle + Sun: What it Means for Content Management

After many intellectual property and anti-trust concerns, one of the biggest deals in the technology space has been approved. Sun fans wipe their tears, as Oracle (site) chooses a new motto "Software. Hardware. Complete." — aiming to provide a full stack of storage, hardware, operating systems, databases, middleware and Java.

All of the above are integral parts of the content management industry. Thus, we pondered a bit over what, if any, impact the Oracle/Sun merger will have on thee.

Middleware and Content Management

The "11g" series is the new black over at Oracle. Part of the Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g monster suite of products, Oracle Universal Content Management (UCM) is, as many of you know, largely based on Oracle's 2006 acquisition of Stellent. In the spirit of further consolidation, Sun products — according to Oracle’s ambitious strategy — will become part of Oracle Fusion Middleware.

Integrating Sun into its Oracle Fusion Middleware portfolio, Oracle says it is will provide maintenance to existing Sun middleware customers and will not force any migrations. Yet, the vendor doesn’t miss a chance to highlight a "variety of upgrade options."

It’s never easy to combine several WCM and/or ECM products in one portfolio — just look at Open Text’s ongoing struggles. And while it is still early, we think that Sun’s integration may bolster Oracle’s position in the content management market and, perhaps, add some fresh blood to the rather stagnated UCM.

Portal Technologies

The portal technology area seems to be a bit more uncertain at the moment. We have Oracle WebCenter Suite 11g and Sun’s (open source portal Liferay-flavored) Glassfish Web Space Server.

Out of all the portal technologies that this merger brings together in one basket, most likely, the focus will stay on Oracle’s own product, although the company plans to continue support of Sun portal customers.

But we don’t think it will be long before we hear about migrations. If you’re one of those early adopters, Oracle is already advertising and re-iterating an upgrade path for Sun GlassFish Web Space Server to Oracle WebCenter Suite.

Collaboration and Office Productivity

Microsoft and Google may feel more competitive pains as Oracle takes Sun’s rather successful under its wing. Sun’s productivity offering dates back to 2000 and includes web-based and desktop versions of office productivity apps, running in just about any browser or any device.

It would make sense for Oracle to continue to invest in both the open source and commercial (StarOffice) versions of On Oracle’s side, we see a gap in the office productivity tools space. We wouldn’t be surprised if the next thing Oracle does is integration of OpenOffice with Oracle UCM and connectors to other Java-friendly web content management systems.

The same probably goes for collaboration tools. Oracle’s own Beehive may overpower Sun’s Java Communications Suite, where similar to portals, Oracle’s investment in Beehive may skew the priorities list going forward.

Java: The Most Important Software Ever Acquired

Oracle stressed its commitment to Java on a number of occasions — even while waiting for the merger to be completed. Back in 2009, Oracle said:

"Java is one of the computer industry's best-known brands…and it is the most important software Oracle has ever acquired."

No surprise here. Oracle plans to cash in on Java, turning it into an even stronger alternative to MS .NET and extend its reach beyond the already considerable 10-million member community.

According to Oracle’s executive vice president, Thomas Kurian, the company plans to integrate and simplify the Java runtime. In the new version 7 of the Java Standard Edition client there shall be many improvements. The mobile version, Java ME, will be compatible with Java Standard Edition to lessen the pains for developers.

Kurian also said they plan to ease the pains of developers using JavaScript who want to also work with Java. This will be part of Oracle’s plans to invest US$ 4.3 billion into post-acquisition-integration R&D, said Oracle’s president Charles Phillips. Even as we watch trillions flushed away in the global derivative meltdown, that's no small number.

Thanks in part to their 2008 acquisition of BEA, Java is not new to Oracle. This event brought the highly popular — in the content management space — WebLogic J2EE application server under Oracle’s umbrella. With the Sun acquisition, Oracle now has the programming language itself. In addition, Oracle Fusion Middleware is built on top of Sun's Java language — all in all, and if strategy executes well, Oracle stands to benefit from complete ownership of the Java stack.

Now, the company is well aware of Java being comprised of many open source efforts, and we’re curious to see what, if anything, they do with the Java Community Process (JCP).

JCP was one of the factors that allowed the European Commission to approve the acquisition, since it was found that "Oracle's ability to deny its competitors access to important IP rights would be limited by the functioning of the Java Community Process (JCP), which is a participative process for developing and revising Java technology specifications."

For the content management space, let’s not forget that Sun’s Java is the heart and soul of many Web CMS, Document Management, DAM and Records Management solutions, not to mention strongly tied to standards like JSR-170 and JSR-283.

MySQL and the Database Market

Here's where it starts getting hot in the kitchen. Many people are concerned about the future of the open source MySQL database. One need not go far to find statements like "I hope [Oracle] don't try to ruin MySQL now."

Even before the Sun acquisition, Oracle has been dominate in the database market. Adding MySQL to its portfolio, Oracle (yet again) competitively nudges Microsoft with its MS SQL database. But that is not the whole story. Richard Stallman, the main author of the GNU General Public License asserts:

"Oracle seeks to acquire MySQL to prevent further erosion of its share of the market for database software licenses and services, and to protect the high prices now charged for its proprietary database software licenses and services."

MySQL is hugely popular in the content management space, especially for the lower end of the market. Many simpler products like XOOPS, Mambo, Drupal, Joomla!, WordPress, CMS Made Simple and TYPO3 rely almost exclusively on it. And  a good number of medium and upper tier WCM and ECM products also build on MySQL — Bitrix, EMC/Documentum, eZ Publish, Jahia, KnowledgeTree and Alfresco are all members of the club. There's another raft of products that support MySQL as well as other databases like PostgreSQL, MS SQL and Oracle.

It would be surprising if Oracle worked to undermine MySQL in any way. According to The Register, Sun retained the entire 400 person MySQL team after their acquisition, and "Oracle has vowed to leave its sales and development team independent and intact." Oracle’s strategy is to include this DB offering as part of the Open Source GBU, invest in and improve MySQL, and better integrate it with Oracle’s products.

The Register quoted Oracle's chief corporate architect, Ed Screven, saying that  "the difference between Sun and Oracle is that Oracle will make MySQL 'better'."

Time alone will tell. But given that Oracle makes a significant percentage of its revenue on software support, the MySQL strategy is not an outlier at Redwood Shores. There is some reasonable cause for optimism. Nevertheless, the question remains: How smart will Oracle allow MySQL to become? Monty Widenius, one of the MySQL project founders, is not too optimistic. His words say it best:

A weak MySQL is worth about one billion dollars per year to Oracle, maybe more. A strong MySQL could never generate enough income for Oracle that they would want to cannibalize their real cash cow. I don't think any company has ever done anything like that. That's why the EC is skeptic and formalized its objections.

Vendors highly reliant on the MySQL database will be watching closely. Hopes that functionality currently implemented in the software layer will migrate down into the database core should be regularly cross-checked with reality.

Cloud Computing

Oracle didn’t express much interest in Sun’s cloud utilities, and the prognosis for Sun Cloud — a public cloud platform — was not very bright, when Screven, Oracle's chief corporate architect, said "We're not going to be offering the Sun Cloud service." Some may refer to it as a setback to openness and interoperability in cloud computing, but it is clear that business-wise Oracle had to make cuts somewhere.

At the same time, Oracle does plan to revive the prematurely killed project. With some clarification, we know now that while Oracle's doesn't want to host several platforms (hence, the shutdown of, but will focus on as the hosted development community. So, perhaps, don't be to hasty to migrate to and the likes.

Tears of Joy?

In the days following the official announcement of the merger, Twitter was heartfelt comments aplenty. The end of an era, they said it was, when people saw redirecting to

Will Oracle + Sun combo have a profound effect on the web content management industry? Not likely. Some predictable changes aside, and with widespread M&As and industry consolidation, from what we see it’s nothing more than business as usual.

How Document Management Has Evolved in SharePoint 2010

It’s always useful to get some kind of insight into the thinking behind the development of features in new software, particularly when it comes to SharePoint 2010 (site).

In a recent entry on the Microsoft Enterprise Content Management Team Blog, Adam Harmetz, Lead Program Manager for SharePoint Document and Records Management, explains how new features in SharePoint 2010 build on SharePoint 2007 and what we might expect in the future.

The first thing he says is that many of the key document management infrastructures were introduced in SharePoint 2007, which was the first time that SharePoint enabled users apply structure and management to their document libraries as opposed to using it principally as a collaborative tool.

Those features and their integration with Microsoft Office client applications enabled users to create high-value knowledge repositories that were easy to interact with and were generally positively received by users.

SharePoint 2010 document management is built off the success of that and around a number of principal ideas including:

  • Managing unstructured silos
  • Use of metadata
  • Browser as document management application

Managing unstructured silos

Looking at the way users were using document management features in 2007, Harmetz says they noticed that SharePoint was being used to pull unstructured silos into realm of enterprise content management.

Users were using traditional document management features on collaborative sites and using them to apply policy and structure as well as gathering insights from unmanaged places.

This lead to the development of many new SharePoint 2010 document management features. In this respect Harmetz cites the idea of a document set, which allows users to group related documents, share metadata, workflows, homepage and archiving processes.

The feature was designed with dual purposes:

  • To manage very rigid processes (regulatory submissions, for example)
  • Informal process management where teams need to combine a number of file types in same process.

Extending the document set feature to enable its use informally extends the SharePoint ECM value for users, Harmetz says.

Use of metadata

In establishing how metadata would be used across SharePoint 2010, they combined the use of both structured taxonomies and keywords, and applied both to SharePoint 2010 repositories.

SharePoint 2010_document management_navigation.jpg
Instead of navigating by traditional folders, a user filtered the library to the virtual folder that contains just sales materials about Contoso’s tent products.

With SharePoint 2010, users get consistent metadata management with the result that any SharePoint site can hook into that metadata with virtually no effort.

There are two key principals in the use of metadata:

  • Use and application of tags: It’s easy for a site to use enterprise wide tags and taxonomies, and easy for users to apply them.
  • How SharePoint 2010 uses tags: The document library can be configured to use metadata as a primary navigation pivot.

Combined, it means that easy metadata entry enables users to tag items which in turn drives navigation. And because users need the metadata to navigate the repository, this encourages them to tag the items.

Browser as a document management application

SharePoint 2010 pulls together two features that SharePoint is best known for:

  • Website and page creation
  • Collaboration on, and management of documents

In the interests of efficient knowledge management, SharePoint 2010 applies the principal that the browser is the key to best managing documents — not just for document downloads but also for interaction with the document.

In this respect, users will now be able to interact with the document as well as having access to document context including metadata, wikis pages related to the document and related documents.

SharePoint 2010 enables this in a number of ways including:

  • Office Web Apps: The default click for the document library can be set for automatic document upload into the browser.
  • Content Query web part: Used to roll up all the documents related to a particular topic.

The result is a combination of wiki and traditional enterprise document management repositories.

There are a lot more document management features to SharePoint 2010, but Harmetz gives some context to it and suggests that future developments will be based along the same lines. He will be addressing other features and other document management issues over the coming months.

However, if there are particular issues in relation to SharePoint 2010 and document management that you would like him to discuss, leave a message on the blog, especially if you’re one of those that have downloaded the Beta version and are having problems on the test drive.