Sunday, March 30, 2008

MDM Summit Demo: Some Learnings and a Great Team Work ....

Still seas do not make skillful sailors ... that was the message emanating from the Gir conference room at India Engg. Center of SUN Microsystems on the evening of 27th Feb 2008 as team Ahi was working full throttle on the MDM Summit Demo to be delivered around 8:00 PM to Monrovia team that evening.

Though the work had already begun couple of days before on the individual components for the demo, real impetus came in when the integration started with entire team getting involved. The stage was set, goals were clear and the eyes were focussed. The team got into a common room after a pint of wisdom from Ahi. All discussions came to a screeching halt and it was time to execute and build the bones together.

What appeared to be a sprint started taking the shape of a marathon when the team was unable to find a stable Netbeans installer to use for the integration. Version that was used for trial integration was phased out from the build machine. Local copies were also lost. We all groped for an Installer for close to six hours before we got something that looked promising !

Learning #1: Archive the best working software pieces that are used in the integration dry run. You never know when you would need it.

By the time things started getting into the shape at Bangalore, team at Monrovia started coming in and waited for a while before we could send instructions and software to proceed.

Learning #2: Work in a parallel mode with geographically distributed teams. Anticipate latency when huge pieces of software components need to be moved over the web.

As we chugged our way to the dawn, we started facing unusual software issues that required quick fixes and patches. Problems started creeping in when we unplugged the test data that we were working with till then and started using rich data sets created specifically for the demo scenario. The data created had been laying unattended for hours while other minor engg. issues were being fixed at mid-night.

Learning #3: Do early integration (as early as possible) and save time and last minute surprises.

After wresting with issues till 11:00 AM next morning with only occasional forty winks on the respective office chairs, the team started wrapping up gradually. The final bugle was blown at about 3:00 PM and that was when Ahi and Nilesh left the cockpit and ensured safe landing with a successful demo. Srini, went last, ensuring that what we delivered worked fine !

Thats the smile of contentment that keeps the life going .. despite all odds. Part of the game .. eh!

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Using SUN Master Index at Research Labs

This came to me like a real use case while discussing Project Mural offerings with a delegate from Govt. Of India Research Labs during SUN Tech Days at Hyderabad.

His Lab deals with data on protein samples that they work on. The various lab functions are geographically distributed and each of them generate similar data on the protein samples that need consolidation at a central point. It often happens that the data shipped in for the consolidation has subtle differences in the way its reported. Generating Master Index out of data with mismatch in complex protein names and associated parameters is a nightmare and it takes lots of manual effort in narrowing down human errors and creating a single view of the data in the central data pool. The volume of data generated is huge and the shipping format is a simple delimited flat file.

To me the problem looks like a simple use-case where SUN MDM solution can create a difference. Master Index Studio application in the Project Mural suite is equipped to deal with volume of similar data and can spin out Master Index of Related data sets. The application facilitates matching, de-duplication, merging, and cleansing of data from various data sources and performs probabilistic matching on the fields in the data records. MIDM (Master Index Data Manager) spices up the offering by providing the web application interface to the Master Index data and allows the user to have better control over the data being indexed.

More of SUN Master Index Studio Application can be found at :
The SUN MDM solution also contains :
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Monday, March 3, 2008

Sun Tech Days - Hyderabad [Feb 27-29 2008]

Last week I visited Sun Tech Days at Hyderabad with my team. The goal was simple .. reach out to the world with what we have been doing for all these months. We went there to represent our open source community - Project Mural. Our pod was placed next to SUN OpenESB pod. Visitors found it quite useful to visit abutted Mural and OpenESB pods as it helped them visualize the SOA/BI strategy at a single stop.

Event was hosted at HITEX which is a world class facility situated at Hyderabad. The center is located next to Hyderabad IT hub and attracted quality crowd from the nearby corporate hub. People also flew down from metro hubs like mumbai, bangalore and chennai. Overall, it was a fantastic turnout and Mural/OpenESB pods were seldom without an inquisitive visitor discussing nitty-gritties of SUN technologies.

Mural pod was manned by Srini, Abhijeet and myself. We exhibited technologies like data integrator (eTL), Data Mashups, Data Cleansing and Profiling and Master Index creation tools. Pod witnessed visitors from varied backgrounds and capacities ... Directors, Architects, Tech Leads, Project Managers, Consultants, Research workers, Software code writers and Students from high profiled organizations like IBM, Center for DNA Fingerprint and Diagnostics (CDFD), Ministry of Science and Tech., NIC, Virtusa, Kanbay, Oracle, Cordys, RBI (Reserve Bank of India), Wipro, Infosys, Verizon, Zycus etc. Abhijeet demoed Data Cleansing/Profiling to the pod visitors and the exercise was well received. Students thronged in large nos to grab Mural T-shirts.

Abhijeet and I also presented a 5 min lightening talk and a very quick demo on the Mural Suite offerings which was well received. We invited a team from D E Shaw for an off line discussion as they found our mini talk thought provoking and wanted to see out eTL offering closely.

Srini's DataMashup and Prakash's sessions on BPEL went well. Despite of being scheduled late in the evening, these sessions were well attended.

SUN tech days was a three day event and was held between 27-29 March 2008. Event was well attended and real success is yet to be measured with how well SUN sales is able to connect back with the visiting community.

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