To Image or Not to Image

Having chosen my career path towards project management, I am not as strong in desktop support as many others. However, I can work my way through just about anything but it might just take a little longer. I thought I would share my experience over the past week in attempting desktop support for myself.

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ProStor and Oracle IPM — First Look

ProStor Systems sells a line of disk cartridge archival systems with some very compelling features. A representative of ProStor attended Nexus 2009 to demonstrate their systems, and as an Oracle IPM architect I was intrigued to see how well ProStor’s InfiniVault® would work in an IPM environment. So an associate and I visited ProStor’s headquarters in Boulder, Colorado with an Oracle IPM test system to put the InfiniVault system through its paces.

We hooked up a direct network crossover cable to the archival system in the same NT Workgroup, and then attempted to configure IPM to talk to it. We found we had to set the IPM services account name and login to be exactly the same as configured in InfiniVault. Note that InfiniVault requires at least an 8 character password so the IPM services account must follow suit.

Once we had communication, images and universal documents flowed quickly into the archive system. Retrieval of objects from the archive system was very fast. We think setting IPM to archive older objects from expensive RAID 5 magnetic storage to InfiniVault can provide an opportunity to utilize the faster storage for current daily object retrieval, while placing less often accessed objects into long term storage.

The ProStor system comes with a built in full text indexing feature we thought might be useful with IPM but unfortunately IPM stores all universal documents in a proprietary binary, with no file extension, which is what InfiniVault keys on to apply IFilters in order to index the data from many common file structures.

InfiniVault also comes with a sophisticated records management capability but this can’t be used with IPM in any meaningful way due to the way IPM stores and tracks objects. However, the records management system could be used with many other common activities in an enterprise since InfiniVault can be used for all general archival tasks within an organization.

Many more features are available with ProStor archival systems and we will be recommending them to our customers for IPM object archival. Feel free to contact me or  ImageSource for more information.

Clint Lewis
Senior Technical Architect
ImageSource, Inc.

Implementing Content Management Systems with Multiple Environments

A common recommendation we have when designing Enterprise Content Management systems is the use of multiple environments.  I am referring the use of Development, Test, and/or QA environments to complement a Production environment.  There are many advantages to deploying systems with multiple environments, and I would like to discuss the role of multiple environments and the advantages to implementing them for your ECM system.

Depending on the size and complexity of the solution different supporting environments are recommended.  For, example with a smaller departmental level solution with little or no custom development, it is common to only recommend one supporting environment used for development and testing.  Now let’s take another example where a customer has an enterprise level ECM system with custom development and a requirement for minimal system downtime.  The following is a common layout for this type of system:

  • Development Environment – Used for custom development and preparation for testing changes to the ECM system.  This environment is usually much smaller than the Production Environment and is commonly running on virtual servers/machines.
  • Test Environment – Used for end to end testing of changes to the system.  Changes are certified in this environment prior to moving to the QA or Production.  This environment is usually smaller than Production, but it is imperative that the functionality is consistent to ensure proper testing and certification of the changes.
  • Quality Assurance Environment – This environment serves a couple of purposes and it closely mirrors the architecture of the Production Environment.  Performance load testing and client acceptance are performed in this environment.  In some instances, this environment can also serve as a disaster recovery environment in the event of a Production outage.
  • Production Environment – Used for the ECM Production System.

This environment configuration is representative of a common layout for multiple environments, but depending on the organization and solution it can vary.  The ECM solution architects play a valuable role in recommending the optimal configuration.  At ImageSource, we have extensive knowledge and experience with ECM architecture and take a great deal of pride in designing the correct layout for the customer and the solution.
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