Tag Archives: Google Drive

Microsoft Flow – Platform Review

It looks like Microsoft created a generic workflow platform, product independent.

Microsoft has software solutions, like MS Outlook with an [email] rules engine built into Outlook.  SharePoint has a workflow solution within the Sharepoint Platform, typically governing the content flowing through it’s system.

Microsoft Flow is a different animal.  It seems like Microsoft has built a ‘generic’ rules engine for processing almost any event.  The Flow product:

  1. Start using the product from one of two areas:  a) “My Flows” where I may view existing and create new [work]flows. b) “Activity”, that shows “Notifications” and “Failures”
  2. Select “My Flows”, and the user may “Create [a workflow] from Blank”,  or “Browse Templates”.  MSFT existing set of templates were created by Microsoft, and also by a 3rd party implying a marketplace.
  3. Select “Create from Blank” and the user has a single drop down list of events, a culmination events across Internet products. There is an implication there could be any product, and event “made compatible” with MSFT Flows.
    1. The drop down list of events has a format of “Product – Event”.  As the list of products and events grow, we should see at least two separate drop down lists, one for products, and a sub list for the product specific events.
    2. Several Example Events Include:
      1. “Dropbox – When a file is created”
      2. “Facebook – When there is a new post to my timeline”
      3. “Project Online – When a new task is created”
      4. “RSS – When a feed item is published”
      5. “Salesforce – When an object is created”
    3. The list of products as well as there events may need a business analyst to rationalize the use cases.
  4. Once an Event is selected, event specific details may be required, e.g. Twitter account details, or OneDrive “watch” folder
  5. Next, a Condition may be added to this [work]flow,  and may be specific to the Event type, e.g. OneDrive File Type properties [contains] XYZ value.  There is also an “advanced mode” using a conditional scripting language.
  6. There is “IF YES” and “IF NO” logic, which then allows the user to select one [or more] actions to perform
    1. Several Action Examples Include:
      1. “Excel – Insert Rows”
      2. “FTP – Create File”
      3. “Google Drive – List files in folder”
      4. “Mail – Send email”
      5. “Push Notification – Send a push notification”
    2. Again, it seems like an eclectic bunch of Products, Actions, and Events strung together to have a system to POC.
  7. The Templates list, predefined set of workflows that may be of interest to anyone who does not want to start from scratch.   The UI provides several ways to filter, list, and search through templates.

Applicable to everyday life, from an individual home user, small business, to the enterprise.  At this stage the product seems in Beta at best, or more accurately, just after clickable prototype.  I ran into several errors trying to go through basic use cases, i.e. adding rules.

Despite the “Preview” launch, Microsoft has showed us the power in [work]flow processing regardless of the service platform provider, e.g.  Box, DropBox, Facebook, GitHub, Instagram, Salesforce, Twitter, Google, MailChimp, …

Microsoft may be the glue to combine service providers who may / expose their services to MSFT Flow functionality.

Create from Blank - Select Condition
Create from Blank – Select Condition

 

Create Rule from Template
Create Rule from Template
Create from Blank Rule Building UI
Create from Blank Rule Building UI

 

Update June 28th, 2016:

Opportunities for Event, Condition, Action Rules

  • Transcoding [cloud] Services
  • [IBM Watson] Cognitive APIs
    • e.g. Language:Translation; E.g.2. Visual Recognition;
  • WordPress – Create a Post
    • New text file dropped in specific folder on Box, DropBox, etc. being ‘monitored’ by MSFT flow [?] Additional code required by user for ‘polling’ capabilities
    • OR new text file attached, and emailed to specific email account folder ‘watched’ by MSFT Flow.
    • Event triggers – Automatic read of new text file
      • stylizing may occur if HTML coding used
    • Action – Post to a Blog
  • ‘ANY’ Event occurs, a custom message is sent using Skype for a single or group of Skype accounts;
    • On several ‘eligible’ events, such as “File Creation” into Box,  the file (or file shared URL) may be sent to the Skype account.
  • ‘ANY’ Event occurs, a custom mobile text message is sent to a single or group of phone numbers.
  • Event occurs for “File Creation” e.g. into Box; after passing a “Condition”, actions occur:
    • IBM Watson Cognitive API, Text to Speech, occurs, and the product of the action is placed in the same Box folder.
  • Action: Using Microsoft Edge (powered by MSN), in the “My news feed” tab, enable action to publish “Cards”, such as app notifications

Challenges \ Opportunities \ Unknowns

  • 3rd party companies existing, published [cloud; web service] APIs may not even need any modification to integrate with Microsoft Flow; however, business approval may be required to use the API in this manner,
  • It is unclear re: Flow Templates need to be created by the product owner, e.g. Telestream, or knowledgeable third party, following the Android, iOS, and/or MSFT Mobile Apps model.
  • It is unclear if the MSFT Flow app may be licensed individually in the cloud, within the 365 cloud suite, or offered for Home and\or Business?

Time Lock Access: Seal Files in Cloud Storage

Is there value in providing users the ability to apply “Time Lock Access” to files in cloud storage?  Files are securely uploaded by their Owner.  After upload no one, including the Owner, may access / open the file(s).   Only after the date and time provided for the time lock passes, files will be available for access, and action may be taken, e.g.  Automatically email a link to the files.  More complex actions may be attached to the time lock release such as script execution using a simple set of rules as defined by the file Owner.

Solution already exists?  Please send me a link to the cloud integration product / plug in.

As a Data Deluge Grows, Companies Rethink Storage

At Pure Storage, a device introduced on Monday holds five times as much data as a conventional unit.

  • IBM estimates that by 2020 we will have 44 zettabytes — the thousandfold number next up from exabytes — generated by all those devices. It is so much information that Big Blue is staking its future on so-called machine learning and artificial intelligence, two kinds of pattern-finding software built to cope with all that information.
  • Pure Storage chief executive, Scott Dietzen, “No one can look at all their data anymore; they need algorithms just to decide what to look at,”

Source: As a Data Deluge Grows, Companies Rethink Storage – The New York Times

Additional Editorial:

Pure Storage is looking to “compress” the amount of data that can be stored in a Storage Array using Flash Memory, “Flashblade”.   They are also tuning the capabilities of the solution for higher I/O throughput, and optimized, addressable storage.

Several companies with large and growing storage footprints have already begin to customize their storage solutions to accommodate the void in this space.

Building more storage arrays is a temporary measure while the masses of people, or fleets of cars turn on their IoT enabled devices.

Data is flooding the Internet, and innumerable, duplicate ‘objects’  of information, requiring redundant storage, are prevalent conditions. A registry, or public ‘records’ may be maintained.   Based on security measures, and the public’s appetite determine what “information objects” may be centrally located.  As intermediaries, registrars may build open source repositories, as an example, using Google Drive, or Microsoft Azure based on the data types of ‘Information Objects”

  • Information object registrars may contain all different types of objects, which indicate where data resides on the Internet.
    • vaguely similar to Domain name registrar hierarchy
    • another example, Domain Name System (DNS) is the best example of the registration process I am suggesting to clone and leverage for all types of data ranging from entertainment to medical records.
  • Medical “Records”, or Medical “Information Objects”
    • X-ray images, everything from dental to medical, and correlating to other medical information object(s),
  • Official ‘Education’ records from K-12 and beyond, e.g. degrees and certifications achieved;
  • Secure, easy access to ‘public’ ‘information objects’ by the owner, and creator.  Central portal(s) driving user traffic.  Enables ‘owner’ of records to take ‘ownership’ of their health, for example

Note: there are already ‘open’ platforms being developed and used for several industries including medical; with limed access.  However, the changes I’m proposing imposes a ‘registrar’ process whereby portals of information are registered, and are interwoven, linking to one another.

It’s an issue of excess weight upon the “Internet”, and not just the ‘weight’ of unnecessary storage, the throughput within a weaved set of networks as well.

Think of it in terms of opportunity cost.  First quantify what an ‘information object’, or ‘block of data’ equates to in cost.  It seems there must already be a measurement in existence, a medium amount to charge / cost per “information object”.  Finally, for each information object type, e.g. song, movie, news story, technical specifications, etc. identify how many times this exact object is perpetuated in the Internet.

Steps on reducing  data waste:

  • Without exception, each ‘information object’ contains an (XML) meta data file.
  • Each of the attributes describing information objects are built out as these assets are being used; e.g. proactive autopopulate search, and using an AI Induction engine
  • X out of Y metadata type and values are equivalent
    • the more attributes correlate to one or more objects, the more likely these objects are
      • related on some level, e.g. sibling, cousin
      • or identical objects, and may need meta relationship update
    • the metadata encapsulates the ‘information object’

Another opportunity to organize “Information Asset Objects” would be to leverage the existing DNS platform for managing “Information Asset Repositories”.   This additional Internet DNS structure would enable queries across information asset repositories.   Please see “So Much Streaming Music, Just Not in One Place”  for more details.