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Future posts related to technology are directly published to LinkedIn

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

User Experience - HTML5

Approximately two years back, I have made a post on "Rich Internet Applications" where the development of user experience focused on the plug-ins on the browser or run-time environments like Adobe AIR for rich experience. (See Desktop Widgets post.... )

As the technology progressed in last two years, the new/emerging HTML 5 seems to take on the web user experience design to the standard based, plug-in independent mode.

Some examples can be found on :

Another dimension today is the "mobile devices" along with the browser on desktop/laptop. 

When it comes to the mobile devices and integration with the specific device capabilities, one should develop "native applications" to take full advantage of the native hardware of the device. Standards are good but Native Applications can do better. On the other hand, using the standards we can develop once and deploy on multiple devices where as native applications development requires "effort/time" on each platform...

So, there is no silver bullet for the problem of Rich User Experience needs of ever changing world!  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ancient advice applicable for projects & tasks

I have been writing this techno functional consulting blog for past 4 years and I like to bring some ancient touch for modern Project Management:

अफलानि दुरन्तानि समव्ययफलानि च
अशक्यानि च कार्याणि नारभेत विचक्षणः

aphalAni = Those without fruit, durantAni = those with a bad ending (i.e., ends in failure), sama-vyaya-phalaani ca = and, those who are equal in effort and result (i.e., that do not end in either profit or in loss!), aSakyAni ca = and, those which is beyond the capability (i.e., impossible ones!) kAryANi = activities, projects, tasks na+ArabhEta = should not be started or initiated by vicakshaNaH= the wise man.

In my view there is only a 50% success rate in the Information Technology projects. So, it is wise to start only the projects that are sure to be successful. so, the ancient scholar of the above verse saying:

Don't take up a task/project if it is known to be:
a. meaningless or fruitless,
b. sure to land in a bad-end,
c. is of no-gain; no-loss
d. impossible or beyond one's own capability

We will improve the "success rate" if we follow this basic advice before taking up the projects & tasks!!

Given a chance I will put this in the beginning of PMP and PRINCE 2 certification material. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tiered data storage

Hierarchical Storage Management
Not too long ago (about 10 years back), I have done a strategy for "Data Archival" options for a system that has lots of data which need to be preserved for 25 years due to legal reasons. (sort of Records Management requirement) The requirement is to have it fully query-able fine grained data in the system. The key challenge was keeping all data in on-line storage with the technology available at that time. So, we need to have a clear "Archival Strategy" to move the data off from the disk to tape and preserve the "Tapes" in a way they can be retrieved (by methods of proper labeling etc.,) on-demand within the given service levels. This technology later named as Hierarchical Storage Management. Overall strategy included manual tiering of data between the disks and tapes sometimes using a mechanical robotic hands and associated software around them.

Information Life-cycle Management 
As the technology advanced, the disk storage evolved to multiple bands of cost/functionality. The database software like Oracle came up with options like table partitioning and advanced compression. Combining these advances in the database management systems and the storage a new strategy emerged as Information Life-cycle Management. Logically partitioning the tables and putting them in the different types of storage like Enterprise Flash Disks (EFD), Fiber Channel (FC) and SATA disks using an automated storage tiering is the trend of the day.

Thin provisioning technologies like EMCs Fully Automated Storage Tiering - Virtual Pooling FAST VP and Hitachi's Dynamic Tiering etc., when used with Oracle's ASM and the partitioning & advanced compression options gives the best flexibility, performance and value for money. There is a good whitepaper from EMC with published few months back that can be found here

Most of the storage vendors now have the Tiered storage technology embedded in the disk controller software layer that can automate the data migration or intelligently cache and tire the data across multiple types of storage. Using the available technology with right mix of logical features of database and storage virtualization  leads to better data availability at the optimal cost. Still the "right solution" is a job of a knowledgeable Architect! (who can understand the Business and Technology well!!)