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Terabyte Territories

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DQI Bureau
New Update

Organizations of all sizes-from grocery chains to multinational financial

services firms-are amassing and exchanging more information than ever, thanks

to Internet and e-business technologies. Decision-makers from CXO level, down to

first-line managers, need to closely monitor the information to assess business

performance. By doing so, they can streamline business processes, track IT

assets in a better way, improve inventory flows and boost customer service.

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But that can be an unpredictable exercise if you cannot draw meaningful

insight from information on demand, making it possible to make faster and better

decisions as market and supply chain conditions change. According to IBM

estimates, the size of a typical enterprise database has grown 100 times over

the past five years, from gigabytes to terabytes of information. While original

information on paper continues to grow, it mostly comes in the form of office

documents and email. There is also a flood of digital media flowing freely on

radio, television and the Internet.

That information resides in so many environments that quickly extracting this

insight has become a daunting challenge. And it's only going to become a

bigger challenge as emerging technologies such as wireless, embedded and RFID

generate more information-and increase number of people and points of access.

Business Intelligence (BI) extended now enables companies to mine information

scattered throughout their organization, in all forms-including e-mail,

graphics, video and voicemail. Companies are also extending BI technologies to

business performance management. Organizations are looking beyond real-time

financial management to other operation areas, such as human resources, CRM,

supply chain and system performance. This will make it possible to better access

their own operational and sales performance in real-time.

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Imagine a company looking at all its information at once. That's

information integration-a new technology that is significantly opening new

opportunities for business intelligence such as spot hidden trends before they

occur and recognize opportunities before they knock. That's the new business

intelligence enabled by information integration.

BI enhanced with information integration makes it possible to adopt a

"sense and respond" model of doing business. When that happens, the

headaches are reduced-and the odds of winning in business are substantially

higher.

CIO directions



Given the pressures of the economy, today enterprises are trying to achieve

better quality of service (performance and high availability) as well as reduce

their cost of computing. There is a clear move in the market towards

consolidation to reduce costs and increase simplicity. Analysts have predicted

that pricing models, integration, and consolidation will be key moves for

achieving RoI in 2005. To address these challenges, many vendors have introduced

infrastructure software specifically designed for the next generation of

computing-enterprise grids. With enterprise grid computing organizations can

build a powerful infrastructure with a variable cost structure that can be

adjusted as needed. Grid infrastructure software adapts to your organization's

changing business needs.

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The size of a typical enterprise database has grown 100 times over the past five years, from gigabytes to terabytes of information

Database management is the most significant overhead in the cost of managing

data centers. Oracle, for example, responds with grid, self-managing databases,

integrated BI solutions and Linux support while IBM addresses this with

outsourcing, Linux support and federated databases. With a grid computing

architecture you can quickly and easily create a large-scale computing

infrastructure from inexpensive, off-the-shelf components like server blades and

commodity storage. There are three steps that companies should undertake on

their journey to grid computing:

  • Standardization on low-cost, high-density modular servers and storage

    based on technology such as Intel Itanium processors, blade servers, and

    Linux or Windows
  • Consolidation of servers clusters and storage shared among one/more data

    centers
  • Automation of all day-to-day management tasks, enabling a single

    administrator to simultaneously handle hundreds of servers in clusters
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Each stage brings its own possibilities for savings and

efficiencies: Gartner estimates that typical enterprises with mainframe, Unix

and Windows deployments could save between 8.5% and 10.5% of the data center

budget by implementing standardization, consolidation and automation; Giga

estimates that companies can potentially save 20% or more through consolidation.

Just to give the readers an idea of the underutilization of

resources, amongst Enterprises, the figure on an average varies from 40—60%

(computing power as well as storage). What a CIO must keep in mind is to choose

a vendor who provides the grid infrastructure that is platform independent. The

organization should be able to pool servers and storage into a flexible,

on-demand computing resource for all enterprise computing needs.

With contributions from editorial advisors -R

Dhamodaran
, VP and Country Executive, Software Group and Developer

Relations, IBM India and Sundar Ram, GM, Technology Sales Consulting,

Oracle India

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Choosing the Right Database

Information today is more important than ever. In this age of

information overload, it is necessary to disregard any information that is not

related to one's needs.

Filtering one's data can help arrive at smart information.

Avoid the following:

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  • Information that is not to the point

  • Duplicate information

  • Erroneous information

  • Abstract information

  • Subjective information

To provide the requisite information, a systematic study of the information

requirements is necessary. When considering information requirements, one key

point needs to be kept in mind.

While choosing a database, the information system in an organisation needs to

be kept in mind. A good information system is one that divides the information

of the organisation into secured and unsecured layers. The basic database

structure should suit different types of information seekers and also avoid

duplicate data entry system. Most critical of all, databases should be simple,

so that easy debugging of complicated problems is possible. That should be the

guiding principle for anyone choosing a database for his organization.

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When it comes to actually buying a database, the CIOs face the biggest

challenge. It is tough for them to marry the requirements of the organisation

and its various information seekers to the framework set out by the CFO. While

choosing a database for the organisation, the following points need to be taken

into account:

A database should cater to the corporate objectives of the company like

meeting demands for flexibility in load handling (managing peak in demand) and

the speed to deploy new applications

A database should make the most efficient use of hardware and IT resources-that

is, the architectural framework should be such that it reduces the complexity in

terms of integration, multiplicity of vendor solutions and the need for multiple

skills.

A database should be forward-looking-a solution for the future in terms of

moving database management towards a utility rather than making it more arcane.

A good DB should automate time-consuming, error-prone administrative tasks,

so database administrators can focus on strategic business objectives.

With Grid Computing or Utility Computing being the buzzword in integration, a

database that coordinates the use of large numbers of servers and storage,

acting as one self-managing Grid for the highest quality of service on low-cost,

modular hardware proves very beneficial to an organisation and heavily reduces

investment costs.

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