Blended Data Warehouse SW/HW Solutions Phased Into the Cloud

Relational Database Solutions “In a Box”

Several of the relational database software vendors, such as IBM, Oracle, and Teradata have developed proprietary data warehouse software to be tightly coupled with server hardware to maximize performance.  These solutions have been developed and refined as “on-prem” solutions for many years.

We’ve seen the rise of “Database (DW)  as a Service” from companies like Amazon, who sell Redshift services.

Amazon Redshift is a fast, fully managed data warehouse that makes it simple and cost-effective to analyze all your data using standard SQL and your existing Business Intelligence (BI) tools.  It allows you to run complex analytic queries against petabytes of structured data, using sophisticated query optimization, columnar storage on high-performance local disks, and massively parallel query execution. Most results come back in seconds.

RDB Complex Software/Hardware Maintenance

In recent times, the traditional relational database software vendors shifted gears to become service providers offering maximum performance from a solution hosted by them, the vendor, in the Cloud.    On the positive side, the added complexity of configuring and tuning a blended software/hardware data warehouse has been shifted from the client’s team resources such as Database Administrators (DBAs), Network Administrators,  Unix/Windows Server Admins,… to the database software service provider.  The complexity of tuning for scalability, and other maintenance challenges shifts to the software vendor’s expertise, if that’s the abstraction you select.  There is some ambiguity in the delineation of responsibilities with the RDBMS vendor’s cloud offerings.

Total Cost of Ownership

Quantifying the total cost of ownership of a solution may be a bit tricky, especially if you’re trying to quantify the RDBMS hybrid software/hardware “on-prem” solution versus the same or similar capabilities brought to the client via “Database (DW) as a Service”.

“On-Prem”, RDB Client Hosted Solution

Several factors need to be considered when selecting ANY software and/or Hardware to be hosted at the client site.

  • Infrastructure “when in Rome”
    • Organizations have a quantifiable cost related to hosting physical or virtual servers in the client’s data center and may be boiled down to a number that may include things like HVAC, or new rack space.
    • Resources used to maintain/monitor DC usage, there may be an abstracted/blended figure.
  • Database Administrators maintain and monitor RDB solutions.
    • Activities may range from RDB patches/upgrades to resizing/scaling the DB storage “containers”.
    • Application Database Admins/Developers may be required to maintain the data warehouse architecture, such as new requirements, e.g. creating aggregate tables for BI analysis.
  • Network Administrators
    • Firewalls, VPN
    • Port Scanning
  • Windows/Unix Server Administrators
    • Antivirus
    • OS Patches

Trying to correlate these costs in some type of “Apples to Apples” comparison to the “Data Warehouse as a Service” may require accountants and technical folks to do extensive financial modeling to make the comparison.   Vendors, such as Oracle, offer fully managed services to the opposite end of the spectrum, the “Bare Metal”, essentially the “Infra as a Service.”  The Oracle Exadata solution can be a significant investment depending on the investment in redundancy and scalability leveraging Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC). 

Support and Staffing Models for DW Cloud Vendors

In order for the traditional RDB software vendors to accommodate a “Data Warehouse as a Service” model, they may need to significantly increase staff for a variety of technical disciplines, as outlined above with the Client “On-Prem” model.  A significant ramp-up of staff and the organizational challenges of developing and implementing a support model based on a variety of factors may have relational database vendors ask: Should they leverage a top tier consulting agency such as Accenture, or Deloitte to define, implement, and refine a managed service?  It’s certainly a tall order to go from a software vendor to offering large scale services.  With corporate footprints globally and positive track records implementing managed services of all types, it’s an attractive proposition for both the RDB vendor and the consulting agency who wins the bid.  Looking at the DW Service billing models don’t seem sensical on some level.  Any consulting agency who implements a DW managed service would be responsible to ensure ROI both for the RDS vendor and their clients.  It may be opaque to the end client leveraging the Data Warehouse as a Service, but certainly, the quality of service provided should be nothing less than if implemented by the RDB vendor itself.  If the end game for the RDB vendor is for the consulting agency to implement, and mature the service then at some point bring the service in-house, it could help to keep costs down while maturing the managed service.

Oracle Exadata

Here are URLs for reference to understand the capabilities that are realized through Oracle’s managed services.

https://cloud.oracle.com/en_US/database

https://cloud.oracle.com/en_US/database/exadata/features

https://www.oracle.com/engineered-systems/exadata/index.html

Teradata

https://www.teradata.com/products-and-services/intellicloud

https://www.teradata.com/products-and-services/cloud-overview

Teradata
Teradata

DB2

https://www.ibm.com/cloud/db2-warehouse-on-cloud

IBM Mainframe
IBM Mainframe

Note: The opinions shared here are my own.

Bose AR, Audio Augmented Reality – Use Cases

I’ve been enamored with Bose products for well over a decade. However,  we’ve seen quality brands enter the hi-fidelity audio market over that time.  Beyond quality design in their classic audio products, can Bose Augmented Reality (Bose AR) be the market differentiator?

Bose: Using a Bose-AR-equipped wearable, a smartphone, and an app-enabled with Bose AR, the new platform lets you hear what you see.

It sounds like Bose may come up with an initial design, sunglasses, but turn to 3rd party hardware manufacturers of all sorts to integrate Bose AR into other wearable products.

Bose Augmented Reality isn’t just about audio. The devices will use sensors to track head motions for gesture controls and work with GPS from a paired smartphone to track location.  The company also aspires to combine visual information with the Bose AR platform.

Bose AR Use Cases

  • Bose Augmented Reality device reenact historical events or speeches from landmarks and statues as you visit them.
  • The Bose and NFL partnership could be leveraged to get these AR units into the football player’s helmets.  Audio queues from the on-field lead, quarterback, and dynamically replayed/relayed at the appropriate time of required action by the receiver.
  • Audio directions to your gate when your GPS detects that you’ve arrived at the airport, or any other destination from your calendar.  Audio queues would be richer the more inclusive you are to the access to Calendars, To Do lists, etc.
  • Combine visual information with the Bose AR platform, too, so you could hear a translation of a sign you’re looking at.
  • Hear the history of a painting in a museum.

Time until it’s in consumer’s hands?  TBD.  Bose objective is to have the developer kit, including a pair of glasses, available later this year.

When I was on vacation in Athens, Greece, I created a post which had Greek actors running tours in their ancient, native garb.  The Bose AR could be a complementary offering to the tour, which includes live, greek local actors portraying out scenes in ancient ruins.  Record the scenes, and interact with them while walking through the Greek ruins in your Bose AR (Augmented Reality) glasses.

Greece, Prosperity, and Taxes: The World Will Come See You in AR

Please take a moment to prioritize the use cases, or add your own.

Takeaway

I’m a cheerleader for Bose, among several others in this space, but I question a Bose AR headset that produces a high fidelity sound. Most of the use cases listed should be able to “get along OK” with an average quality sound.  Maybe high definition AR games with a high level of realism might benefit from the high-quality sound. However, their site reads like Bose is positioning themselves as a component to be integrated into other AR headsets, i.e. “Bose-AR-equipped wearable

Information Architecture: An Afterthought for Content Creation Solutions

Maximizing Digital Asset Reuse

Many applications that enable users to create their own content from word processing to graphics/image creation have typically relied upon 3rd party Content Management Solutions (CMS) / Digital Asset Management (DAM) platforms to collect metadata describing the assets upon ingestion into their platforms.  Many of these platforms have been “stood up” to support projects/teams either for collaboration on an existing project, or reuse of assets for “other” projects.  As a person constantly creating content, where do you “park” your digital resources for archiving and reuse?  Your local drive, cloud storage, or not archived?

Average “Jane” / “Joe” Digital Authors

If I were asked for all the content I’ve created around a particular topic or group of topics from all my collected/ingested digital assets, it may be a herculean search effort spanning multiple platforms.  As an independent creator of content, I may have digital assets ranging from Microsoft Word documents, Google Sheets spreadsheets, Twitter tweets,  Paint.Net (.pdn) Graphics, Blog Posts, etc.

Capturing Content from Microsoft Office Suite Products

Many of the MS Office content creation products such as Microsoft Word have minimal capacity to capture metadata, and if the ability exists, it’s subdued in the application.  MS Word, for example, if a user selects “Save As”, they will be able to add/insert “Authors”, and Tags.  In Microsoft Excel, latest version,  the author of the Workbook has the ability to add Properties, such as Tags, and Categories.  It’s not clear how this data is utilized outside the application, such as the tag data being searchable after uploaded/ingested by OneDrive?

Blog Posts: High Visibility into Categorization and Tagging

A “blogging platform”, such as WordPress, places the Category and Tagging selection fields right justified to the content being posted.  In this UI/UX, it forces a specific mentality to the creation, categorization, and tagging of content.  This blogging structure constantly reminds the author to identify the content so others may identify and consume the content.  Blog post content is created to be consumed by a wide audience of interested viewers based on those tags and categories selected.

Proactive Categorization and Tagging

Perpetuate content classification through drill-down navigation of a derived Information Architecture Taxonomy.  As a “light weight” example, in WordPress, the Tags field when editing a Post, a user starts typing in a few characters, an auto-complete dropdown list appears to the user to select one or more of these previously used tags.  Excellent starting point for other Content Creation Apps.

Users creating Blog Posts can define a Parent/Child hierarchy of categories, and the author may select one or more of relevant categories to be associated with the Post.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Derived Tags

It wouldn’t be a post without mentioning AI.  Integrated into applications that enable user content creation could be a tool, at a minimum, automatically derives an “Index” of words, or tags.  The way in which this “intelligent index” is derived may be based upon:

  • # of times word occurrence
  • mention of words in a particular context
  • reference of the same word(s) or phrases in other content
    • defined by the same author, and/or across the platform.

This intelligently derived index of data should be made available to any platforms that ingest content from OneDrive, SharePoint, Google Docs, etc.  These DAMs ( or Intelligent Cloud Storage) can leverage this information for any searches across the platforms.

Easy to Retrieve the Desired Content, and Repurpose It

Many Content Creation applications heavily rely on “Recent Accessed Files” within the app.  If the Information Architecture/Taxonomy hierarchy were presented in the “File Open” section, and a user can drill down on select Categories/Subcategories (and/or tags), it might be easier to find the most desired content.

All Eyes on Content Curation: Creation to Archive
  • Content creation products should all focus on the collection of metadata at the time of their creation.
  • Using the Blog Posting methodology, the creation of content should be alongside the metadata tagging
  • Taxonomy (categories, and tags with hierarchy) searches from within the Content Creation applications, and from the Operating System level, the “Original” Digital Asset Management solution (DAM), e.g. MS Windows, Mac