Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Enterprise Storage optimization


For any Enterprise, even in the age of social computing, Email still remains as the primary medium of information sharing. It is source of information on current state of Business, communications with partners, customers etc.  It is also leveraged for sharing non-business related information.

Depending on the no. of employees, their daily activities, business transactions, the no.  of emails that are generated by them, storage requirements will grow. That too, if those emails are carrying business critical, heavy weight documents, storage requirements will still grow. Other factors that will impact storage requirements include no. of persons with whom a document is shared and no. of subsequent versions of that document before its final version is getting frozen.

Even if the Enterprises have governance mechanisms, IT policies ensuring the restrictive, optimized usage of emails, some of the business critical factors still demands increase in the per employee email storage quota and hence impacts storage requirements. Imagine a scenario where an Enterprise has 10,000 employees. Assume every employee generates 1 email per day with 1 MB average size of document. Total size of the content generated will be 10 GB / day.

Adding to these, imagine every employee shares his email with on an average with 10 other no. of employees. This will result in generation of the document copies, sizing 100 GB approximately.

Now you can visualize the impact of the Email system on the storage requirements.

Significant increase in the storage requirements will also impact the back office operational routines such as back-up / restore and it will also make things complex in DR planning for business continuity.

One solution which can be considered to tackle this problem is capability to minimize the no. of document copies that are generated & stored.

Imagine only these employees generate 1 MB of the document and the same copy will be shared with other employees. Based on our above mentioned scenario, storage requirement will get reduced by 100 GB

With the availability of Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013 from Microsoft, this capability is available now!

Site Mailbox – it leverages the combined power of Email storage capability of Exchange 2013 & Document storage capability of SharePoint 2013.

Instead of sending document as attachment in every email, he can save it in the Site mailbox. So that only one copy will exist; for the end users, they can still have the same experience as if they are accessing the document from the Email attachment.

Site mailboxes can be accessed by the users from the Outlook in a seamless manner, without compromising the native “Outlook” experience

In addition to storage optimization, Site Mailbox provides more benefits to an Enterprise …really more  !!….

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Flexibility through product customization - How Secured it is ?

When providing solutions based on the multiple products, the success of the solution depends on what level of OOB features of those products helps in addressing the business / functional needs and what level of flexibility those products offers in terms of customization.

Also, how those products help in addressing business needs is very important in terms of time-to-market through:

  • Capabilities for seamless integration with federated business partners through adapters (like what Microsoft BizTalk, & StreamInsight  have rich set of adapters minimizing the development time),
  • Partner ecosystem with solutions  (like what partners have solutions based  on SharePoint in addressing various business requirements such as document storage, DRM / IRM, BI etc)

 
In addition to above mentioned factors, success depends on how the products allow developer community in extending its capabilities to address complex techno-business requirements.

 
While allowing the developer community for customization, it is also very important how a product provides capabilities for the secured execution of those custom code blocks – at the same time, without affecting the performance of the application and without allowing the code blocks to block resources – CPU, RAM, Threads etc. – especially in the scenarios of “careless “/ malicious code blocks, bringing down the entire application execution environment.

 
SharePoint is one such product that allows developer community to address complex techno-business requirements and other needs of an Enterprise through extensive customization and also ensures reliability of the application through “Sandbox” – secured code execution environment.

 
In addition to secured code execution capability, for the developer community, it is a must for the availability of the sophisticated tools for carrying out post code engineering activities such as performance tuning, code profiling etc.  Microsoft development platform provides tools for carrying such activities on SharePoint customization code blocks that are marked for Sandbox environment

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Service Modeling Realization

When we enable a platform / a set of capabilities for consumption through the enablement of custom development, some of the points to be considered for wider reach .

Wider reach means to provide flexibility such as facilitating development on heterogeneous platform through supporting interoperability, various communication protocols and data encoding formats.

  • Data encoding format – XML, JSON
  • Protocol – Http , Tcp-ip
  • Type of communication - Synchronous / Asynchronous communication
  • Consumption  type – Proxy objects, RESTful communication

In addition to this, other key infrastructure & administration related factors to be considered are:

  • Reliability – Data submitted is not lost. The infrastructure behind the service model should be reliable without losing any submitted messages that is submitted

  • Security  - Integration with the consumer’s security infrastructure

  • Performance – Of course, first & fire most requirement of any exposed services and will be governed by SLAs

  • Service Metering – very important especially in the “pay per use” model

  • Centralized Dashboard – for the consumers to have insight into logs & exceptions


Frist point in consideration in realizing a service model is to select a platform that has the potential to offer various required capabilities. For example, Windows Communication Foundation from Microsoft provides lots of options to provide flexibility such as :

  • Encoding – Plain text for interoperability, Binary to optimize performance, MTOM for large payloads
  • Channels – one way, Duplex , Request-Response, Streaming
  • WS-*
      • WS-Addressing – extra additions to SOAP headers which makes SOAP free from underlying transport protocol
      • WS-Security,WS-Trust,WS-SecureConversation
      • WS-ReliableMessaging
      • WS-Coordination , WS-AtomicTransaction
      • WS-Policy (for more dynamic features of a service), WS-Metadataexchange

So, for a successful realization of a Service Model, choosing a capable platform is very much important !