Browsing articles tagged with " database"

Your Master Data is a Graph: Are You Ready? Whitepaper, Webinar

Apr 27, 2015   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data, Data Modeling, Database, Events, NoSQL, Speaking  //  1 Comment

Neo4j White Paper: Your Master Data Is a Graph: Are You Ready?I recently wrote a whitepaper, sponsored by Neo4j, on how your master data (think cross-application data like CUSTOMER, PRODUCT, ORGANIZATION, etc.) is much more valuable to your organization if you can leverage the relationships between the data.  You might think that relational databases are all about relationships, but they aren’t.  The relational in relational database comes from the fact that data is a relation (a table-like structure of columns and rows).

The best thing we have for describing relationships in a relational database is a foreign key (FK).  An FK is a constraint between two tables.  In a relational database, FKs enforce integrity between exactly two tables.  But in the real world, relationships are more than constraints.  They are implied, inferred and, maybe even just plausible.  That’s not a constraint; that’s a relationship.  And these relationships often exist because they span multiple tables.  Think about CUSTOMERs that are related because they live at ADDRESSes near each other, they have TRANSACTIONs at the same RETAIL STORE and they buy the same PRODUCTs and SERVICEs.  That’s a specific relationship, one that has nothing to do with foreign keys.

You can download my whitepaper at http://neo4j.com/resources/wp-master-data-graph/

Note that while Neo Technology sponsored this paper, they had no editorial control over its content.


 

This week I’m also doing a webinar about some of the content of the paper.  Kamile Nixon of Neo Technology will join me in this discussion.  You can register at http://info.neo4j.com/0430-register.html

I think this one will be a lot of fun. Kamile and I have worked together on many things over the years. She and I share the same sort of sense of humour. You have been warned.

 

Webinar: Your Master Data is a Graph: Are You Ready?

Thursday, April 30 at 09:00 PDT | 18:00 CEST

REGISTER NOW

As you tackle your ongoing Master Data Management challenges, it’s important to keep a few things in mind: Hierarchies don’t really exist Relational isn’t about relationships Foreign keys aren’t relationships, but constraints It’s crazy, isn’t it?

Join Master Data Management expert Karen Lopez and Neo Technology’s Kami Nixon as they discuss today’s MDM requirements and explore the companies that are getting MDM right.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • Why hierarchies aren’t real
  • How to choose the right technology for the stories your data wants to tell, so your business can use data in ways it couldn’t do before
  • Why relationships are just as important as the things they relate
  • What foreign keys really do to your architecture
  • How companies like Cisco and Polyvore use graphs to get real business value from Master Data

Karen LopezKaren Lopez, Data Evangelist, InfoAdvisors

Karen Lopez has more than 20 years of data architecture and database design experience. She specializes in the practical application of design approaches, balancing development time frames with the need to deliver solutions that will support business agility and data quality needs. Known for her practical and sometimes snarky views on the data world, Karen works to find the right tools for the job, even if it means learning something new. She wants you to love your data.

 

Kami NixonKami Nixon, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Neo Technology

A recipient of the 2012 “Graphie”, Kamille was a fan of Neo4j for several years before she happily joined the team. Kamille has helped several successful database companies (DataStax, Comindware and Embarcadero Technologies) to identify and execute on market trends so they could pull ahead of the pack. Her efforts have led to doubled vertical bookings, increases by 30% to 100% in year-over-year revenue, and several awards. In addition to the Graphie, Kamille has received several other commendations, including co-authoring with Karen Lopez story #5 in Information Management’s Top 10 for 2011, and Best Investigative Journalism in a national competition.

Holiday Pairings with DBMSs & Datastores – Part I

Nov 26, 2014   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data, Database, DLBlog, Fun, NoSQL, Parody, WTF  //  1 Comment

It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving weekend in the US and the rest of the world is thinking about how much MORE WORK we are going to accomplish while our American teammates are stuffing themselves with Tofurky and mashed potatoes….what?…hold on…. Oh, right. Turkey and a box of wine that someone’s sister got for a great deal at a Piggly Wiggly last June and has been saving it in the trunk of her car for her boozy in-laws (that would be YOU!).

This got me thinking about what sorts of holiday beverages the rest of us should be pairing with our database management systems and datastores. I have to say datastores because some pretentious people data professionals insist that database means relational database. Of course, those of us old experienced enough know that there were databases long before Ted Codd had that wild road trip with his friends  Raoul and Dr. Gonzo and discovered  developed the relational model for shared data banks.

So while the Yanks are dipping into their third helping of candied yams with marshmallows on top, we in the rest of the world can be productive. But since we aren’t in the US no one will think us odd for supplementing  our work with appropriate hydration products. To help you out, I’m recommending holiday beverage pairings based on what data technology you are touching over the next four days. Four blissful days of the most productive work week of the year.

Comma Separated Values Files (CSV files)

Moonshine in Ball Jar. Chris Herbert.

CSVs were the original data hipster, before XML became cool. It was text. In a file. On a disk, with magnets, that spun around. Your data might be comma-delimited or length delimited…it doesn’t really matter.  It’s text and anything you want to do with it you have to do by hand. So obviously, these data formats pair well with moonshine, the homemade booze of choice in most of the US. This data could also pair well with bathtub gin, but only if the bathtub is clean enough. Typically not an option, therefore, for DBAs and most of the rest of us in IT.

Excel

For Excel I’m going to split the pairings based on vintage year of release.  Excel is the perfect candidate. Let’s not kid each other here: business are run on spreadsheets, not databases (Ed. – I don’t think you can say that Me:  It’s my blog and besides that I’m drinking, I mean sampling, all these pairings. In other words, I may or may not be drunk already).

That means that Excel is everyone’s real data storage solution of choice, so it pairs well with the common denominator beer of choice, Budweiser. It’s cheap, there’s always some in the fridge, and it works, for the most part. So for Microsoft Excel 2003 and earlier, this Bud’s for you. The working man.  The typing women.  Yes, you.

Excel + Power BI

image

But with the release of Excel 2013 and self-serve BI via the Power…wait, hold on…. let me look up to see if it has a space or not…okay, there’s a space today….Power BI, Excel gets a bit more kick. Power Query, Power View, Power Pivot, Power Stuff, really. We’ll need the picante version of Budweiser Chelada. A chelada is beer plus Clamato. Clamato is tomato juice mixed with clam juice. The spicier version is Chelada Picante, so Budweiser + Tomato Juice + Clam Juice + salt + lime + chili peppers. Phew! I need an Excel slice and bad pie chart to show this. But I’m too busy drinking. This isn’t to say that Excel plus Power BI isn’t a great BI tool framework, but if it’s your datastore, you’ll need more booze in the morning. And like its primo the Bloody Mary, a Chelada makes for a great 7 AM meeting drink.

Oracle

Glenfiddich 50

Ah. Now we are on to the expensive stuff. Larry has to fund his yachts some way (Yes, that joke is getting old. But I’m drinking, so it’s okay. I mean sampling, so it’s okay.) Again, we need to factor in various versions of the Oracle suite (Presidential Suite, I should say) of products.

 

Exadata

For Exadata, I recommend this lovely 50 year old scotch. At about $30,000 a bottle, this is the equivalent of about one licensing core with no add-ons. It’s older than Oracle itself, but 50 is the new 25. So I hear.

It’s perfect for you and your sales guy to share. In the Presidential Suite. Of a club. but the price point seems spot on for the work you’ll be doing and the rate you should be charging.  You are charging Oracle rates, aren’t you?

Oracle Enterprise Edition

For Oracle Enterprise Edition, nothing beats a XO Cognac. With hints of rose petals, tobacco and leather, it’s going to feel just like it did when you signed that license agreement on your date with the Oracle sales guy. (Ed. – I don’t think you can say that. Me: I just did. And I’m drinking. You, editor, have never had to date an Oracle salespro as part of your assigned project duties and these pairing samples aren’t going to drink themselves.) The good news is that this comes with fine Baccarat Crystal glasses (aff link). They are free, until you use them. After you use them, of course you will have to pay for support on the glasses, at 23% of list price per annum.

Oracle Standard Edition

hennessy0.jpg

With Oracle Standard Edition, I recommend a  pint of Hennessy with a silicone flask cover to ensure you have a good grip on your booze and yourself. Both the Hennessy and Standard Edition fit “affordable and full featured”, if by full featured they mean “keeps you warm in the data centre”. If you are using Standard Edition, you can’t afford those grown up bottles yet because they aren’t paying you Larry rates. Plus the silicone will remind you of… (Ed.- STOP.  Right there.  Just STOP.  Me: Okay!!! {shhh…I may refactor this when my editor is sleeping off his turkey.})

Sybase

File:Honey-Fruit-Mead-Brewing.jpg

Oh, the father of SQL Server, sort of.  At least they have a common ancestor in the evolution of databases.  Do people use this DBMS anymore?  I’m so old experienced that I can remember when Sybase was called SQL Server 6.5 (Ed. – I don’t think that’s true.  Me: Shhh..don’t yell so loud. I’m sampling here.  And I’ve lost my Glog.  Mead…whatever.)

If you are supporting this DBMSs, I recommend mead. Because your Sybase DBA has been around so long it was probably his first drink. Don’t get me wrong: fruit, alcohol, honey – it’s all good stuff.   If you use Sybase as a special one-off DBMS to support a vendor package, I recommend a can of Redbull and a shot of whatever you find under the sink in Executive washroom.  Even if it’s a cleaning product. Maybe add a teaspoon of honey.

DB2

File:Burning Manhattan Cocktail.png

Ah, DB2. One of the first fully relational databases (Sorry, Ted) I ever worked with. I’d have to say that this classic DBMS, in mainframe, client server and whatever zombie hellspawn we classify AS/400 Power i as will always be close to my heart.  I want to go old school here, but still classy, so I’m going to recommend a Manhattan. Who can’t love rye (“Canadian whisky”), sweet vermouth and a cherry? Really, this is the only “manly” drink that legitimately requires a cherry.  For the Power i series, I’ll have to go a bit more retro and recommend that you just pick up some fallen fruit in your office parking lot.  It’s probably well fermented at this time of year.

 

SQL Server

image

SQL Server 2008 R2D2 and earlier
I recommend here Tito’s Vodka in airline bottles. Prior to version 2012, SQL Server was primarily licensed with a server + CALS licensing scheme. You bought a server license, plus CALs for each user/device/whatever your salesperson said needed a license.  I like Tito’s vodka. It’s good and affordable. Plus I can buy airline bottles of it on the plane which helps me with portion control, much like those 100 calorie snack packs of Oreos one eats to lose weight. So I’m told. FYI: a good flight attendant cuts you off after 6 of these little bottles. A bad one cuts you off after two. A fantastic flight attendant says "Oh, did I give you your 6 bottles already? No? Okay, have these." The same thing worked well with CALs – the more you had the happier everyone one was.  It was easy to plan for new servers because this is the way it had always been done. But now….

image

Then along came SQL Server 2012 and a new licensing model. CALs were gone and core licensing came along. That means magnum 6+ litre-sized bottles of vodka for everyone! But not everyone can afford to fill those magnum bottles to the top with high-priced vodka. The good news is if you’ve already purchased giant bottles, you can pour out a few core’s worth of liquid to save money. Then cry about the room in the bottle that could be filled with vodka but isn’t.  In the long run, the new licensing model is simpler.  But for now, you might just have to live with less kick until you can right-size your servers.

Microsoft Windows Azure SQL Database Azure SQL DB

SNAGHTML6f6584

I’m not even sure what the brand name for cloud products are any more.  It’s not just Microsoft, either.  I figure since there are no boxes of DVDs to ship around, brand names change on a whim.  Just like trends in database design.  For Microsoft Azure cloud-based databases and datastores the good news is that you can just pay as you drink. Just like at your local bar. You don’t have to do much – most of the administration and maintenance is taken care of for you.  At work home I recommend you purchase a Star Trek Replicator and order a Blue Cloud cocktail every time you create a database. The good news is you can also have them delivered. This is known as Cocktail as a Service (CaaS). You need to go put this into your cloud budget request now, before we hit year end. Do it now.

Finally…

These pairings are based on my experiences purchasing, renting, and borrowing these technologies.  Your mileage may vary.  If so, I’d love to hear about it below.  And yes, I have more pairings coming soon about other data formats and databases (Ed. – Please promise me you aren’t going to write about NoSQL datab…datastores.  Me: I promise {I will}).

Thanks to my co-samplers & writers Joey D’Antoni (blog | @jdanton ), Karen’s Whisky (@karens_whisky) and Thomas LaRock (blog | @sqlrockstar)  You should follow them because they know booze and snark.

You might also like: 5 Things to Do to Help Your Family’s Tech Ecosystem Over the Holidays with Pairings

Half Day Seminar 7 April #EDW11 – 10 Physical Data Modeling Blunders – Discount Coupon

Mar 30, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data, Data Modeling, Database, Speaking  //  No Comments

imageFor 24 Hours of PASS Virtual conference,  I gave a short, 40 minute overview of 5 Physical Design blunders.  At Enterprise Data World in Chicago on 7 April, I’m giving a half day seminar on 10 Blunders (NOW with 5 BONUS BLUNDERS!).  Unlike the virtual conference, this workshop will have demos and labs – PLUS 5 BONUS BLUNDERS!

If you act quickly, I have a special deal for those of you who want to join me for this event: A discount coupon.  The normal one day admission is $795.  But if you register now, you can register for the Thursday full day, including my seminar, for only $195.  Yes, that’s a $600 savings to be part of the biggest blunderfest best seminar of the conference.

Coupon code DATACHICK for $600 off ($195 net total)

Use this registration link to get yourself set up.  And don’t forget to use the coupon code DATACHICK to save that $600.  There are still great hotel rates, too.

Join me at the world’s largest vendor-neutral data management conference.  See you there!

I’m Speaking at #SQLSat65 Vancouver, BC Database Design Contentious Issues

Feb 26, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //    //  1 Comment

 

image

I will be presenting on Database Design Contentious Issues at SQL Saturday 65 on 26 February 2011. Like all SQL Saturdays, this event is free for attendees (with a  fee for a real lunch) due to the support of wonderful sponsors in the SQL Community.

View on Vancouver on October 1, 2005

Database Design Contentious Issues

A highly interactive and popular session where attendees evaluate the options and best practices of common and advanced design issues, such as:

  • Natural vs. Surrogate keys
  • Classwords and other Naming Standards
  • Varchar Minimums
  • Identity Crisis
  • Who Calls the Shots and Who Does What? …and others.

Bring your votes, your debates, and your opinions.

Session Level: Intermediate

This session has been a popular session at all kinds of user group meetings – in fact, it is my favourite presentation.  SQL Saturdays are a great way to get free training and to network with other data professionals including DBAs, Data Architects, Developers and more. Most SQL Saturday registrations are closed well before the date of the event, so hurry up and register now.  Vancouver is a beautiful place.  I hope you can join us for Canada’s first SQL Saturday event.

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I am Speaking at #SQLSat60 Cleveland Database Design Contentious Issues

Feb 5, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //    //  No Comments

image

I’ll be presenting on Database Design Contentious Issues at SQL Saturday 60 on 5 February 2011. Like all SQL Saturdays, this event is free for attendees (with a $10 fee for a real lunch) due to the support of wonderful sponsors in the SQL Community.

Database Design Contentious Issues

A highly interactive and popular session where attendees evaluate the options and best practices of common and advanced design issues, such as:

  • Natural vs. Surrogate keys
  • Classwords and other Naming Standards
  • Varchar Minimums
  • Identity Crisis
  • Who Calls the Shots and Who Does What? …and others.

 

Bring your votes, your debates, and your opinions.

Session Level: Intermediate

This session has been a popular session at all kinds of user group meetings – in fact, it is my favourite presentation.  SQL Saturdays are a great way to get free training and to network with other data professionals including DBAs, Data Architects, Developers and more. Most SQL Saturday registrations are closed well before the date of the event, so hurry up and register now.  I hope you can join us.

Bad Data Models / Database Designs Kill – Under Modeling

Jan 6, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data, Data Modeling, Database, DLBlog  //  3 Comments

imageDr. Danielle Ofri has a frightening post about how data design can cause serious consequences.  She talks about running up against a 1000-character limit when trying to create a patient history for someone about to undergo a risky surgery:

I panic for a moment, fearful that the computer has frozen and that I’ve lost all my work — something that happens all too frequently. But I soon realize that this is not the case. Instead, I’ve come up against a word limit.

It turns out that in our electronic medical record system there is a 1,000-character maximum in the “assessment” field. While I’ve been typing, the character number has been counting backward from 1,000, and now I’ve hit zero. The computer will not permit me to say anything more about my patient.

If you’d done any database design, you know that even if you design a good, business-driven design, others who use the database might apply their own rules to the data on the way in or out of the database.

I remember designing a Point of Sale system database for an appliance retailer.  Our data model needed to support the selling of high-end appliances as well as bulk purchases for high-end appliances.  So our transaction amount columns were significantly large.  A developer on the application team thought our monetary field lengths were insanely large, so he enforced  a limit on a transaction of $9,999.99 for the total transaction.   To make matters worse, this system went all the way into production with that limit.  So on day one of the roll out, sales people couldn’t sell the most highest margin items such as a professional quality stove ($14,000) or sell to developers who were buying 100 low end stoves in one transaction.  Their orders had to be chunked up into tiny $9,000 mini-transactions.  Order completion was taking hours instead of minutes.  Credit cards were being rejected for too many large amount transactions back to back.  In other words, a nightmare deployment because organizations trying to spend tens of thousands of dollars were walking out and going to other retailers with “real systems” to make their purchase.

However, no lives were being lost (that I know of).  Some people may have gone longer without heat (furnaces) or with rotten food (freezers and fridges), but in the overall scheme of things the impact on customers was not life and death consequences.

If we get back to Dr. Ofri’s situation, though, she was faced with a terrible data dilemma: how to describe a complex patient history in 1000 characters.  This number probably sounded like a huge number when the project team was adding that “feature” to the system.  I’d even bet their own test data only went as high as 200 characters or so.

I’m also guessing that since this system is a fairly high-risk project that some expert user (or many) was responsible for approving the design of field lengths.  Perhaps he or she also thought that 1000 characters was enough.

In desperation, I call the help desk and voice my concerns. “Well, we can’t have the doctors rambling on forever,” the tech replies.

That response from IT (even if it a help desk tech who has no clue as to why there is a limit) makes me mad and afraid at the same time.  You’ve all heard it in your design reviews, haven’t you?

  • That’s way too long of a field.
  • It won’t fit on one window without scrolling
  • No one has an e-mail address THAT long
  • You are over modeling it
  • That’s ridiculous.  No one is going to sit there and type that long
  • 255 was good enough for the last 10 years, it’s good enough for the next 10 years
  • The indexes on that column will be too large
  • Go ahead and make the column that long; we’ll just truncate it in the application

The business users are frightened by the negative comments and agree that 25 is sufficient for e-mail address, not even realizing that some of their own e-mail addresses are longer than that.

As I blogged recently about Over Modeling, it’s only over modeling if it doesn’t meet the business need.  Sure, we might make concessions to technical feasibility (“make every column 2000 characters, just in case”), but our designs should be business driven.

Dr. Ofri ends her story by saying:

I’ve finally condensed my patient’s complicated medical conditions to exactly 1,000 characters. I quickly hit “save” before I lose everything. I wish him good luck on his operation, wondering if his surgeons will have to condense the entire operative report to 1,000 characters as well. What happens if there are complications?

For my next medical evaluation, I think I will use haiku.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to read that about my own patient record.

Next up: What could we have done differently on our project

I am Speaking: OEMUG – Cleveland 1 Dec 2010

Nov 26, 2010   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data Modeling, Database, Social Networking, Speaking  //  1 Comment

On Wednesday, 1 December 2010 I’ll be speaking three times at the Ohio Enterprise Modeling User Group:

10 AM ET

Classic Data Modeling Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

We’ve all been there: a shortcut here, a compromise there, an over-modeling over there. In this presentation, Karen demonstrates classic and all-too-common data modeling mistakes that are easy to make and yet just as easy to avoid. We’ll look at data modeling generalizations, applying surrogate keys, understanding the difference between design and business requirements, data model changes, flags, and sharing data models.

11 AM ET

Modeling Global User Community Webcast: Normalization of Social Networking in the ERwin Community

In this webcast, panelists discuss social networking from an ERwin data professional perspective. Facebook, InfoAdvisors, LinkedIn, Twitter, My CA, ERwin.com, and data-centric tool social networks offer many options for you to join a virtual data community. If you are new to social networking, a seasoned tweeter, or just want to use social networking more efficiently, this webcast is ideal for you.

  • Social Networking 101
  • Deeper Dive / Benefits for Data Professionals
  • Security / Personal and Professional Boundaries
  • “Why Be Normal?”

1 PM ET

Data Modeling Contentious Issues

A highly interactive session for seasoned modelers, attendees evaluate the options and best practices of common and advanced data modeling issues, such as:

  • Party/party role
  • Natural vs. surrogate keys
  • Varchar Minimums
  • Identity Crisis
  • SOAs, Ontologies, ESBs, New TLAs and Shoe Strings
  • What is Logical? What is Physical? Why Do We Care?
  • Politics vs. Customer Satisfaction

Participants in this session will be presented with an issue along with a range of responses or possible solutions. We will vote on preferred response, then the group as a whole will discuss the results, along with the merits of each possible response. The goal of this workshop is to help practitioners identify potential points of conflict in data modeling, as well as alternative approaches to resolving the issues.

During the event there is a presentation by Donna Burbank about upcoming release of ERwin v8.

I hope to see you there.

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