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Big Data, Metadata, and Information Governance; CMIS Enables Scale, Tagging and Predictive Analytics

Consumerization of content consumption models exposes opportunities to incorporate business process metadata with Big Data. Consumerization includes proliferation of social networks, content syndication and mobile devices, such as Apple iPAD, Samsung Tablet, etc.  Consumerization of content merging with Enterprise Business Big Data is a challenge best met by standardized content interfaces.

Big Data is defined as a set of technologies to consume content, business or consumer, created by the rising tide of a global middle class consumer workforce. The global nature of Big Data compounds Information Governance risk by crossing government and political boundaries.  Governments across the globe have compounding and conflicting rules for content sharing, retention and retrieval. Information governance boards own the responsibility of complying with country specific content retention and retrieval rules.

Retaining and retrieving are just two risks. The cost of Big Data is also on the rise. Annually, since 2007, IDC has produced a study called “Digital Universe Study: Extracting Value from Chaos.”  Using IDCs study DCIG calculated the combined annual growth rate (CAGR) for content to be 59%. Unfortunately, the same study indicates costs are dropping by only 36% annually. Based on a 23% difference in growth rate versus cost reduction, the IT cost to share, retain and retrieve content is increasing.

Impetus for change: increased risk and increase cost

The ripples of increasing cost and risk have expanded to create waves of innovation. The initial waves are in the form of simple and easy to use media content consumption.  The proliferation of blogs like DCIG.com encourages readers to abandon daily periodicals and begin using syndication readers, like Flipboard. Other media changes include the way we consume music and video through Pandora and NetFlix, respectively. As we transitioned decades, Apple and Steve Jobs perfected our tablet computing experience with the introduction of the Apple iPAD.

Changes to content consumption models in the consumer space are bringing big changes to our work space. Online content storage systems like Dropbox and Box.net are a normal part of our mobile and global workday.  These systems allow us to untether from the computer. Untethering requires us to abandon antiquated file and folder system. Content consumption is an interactive experience for consumers, but business users want that experience too. Evolving content consumption experiences offer unique opportunities to incorporate business process metadata.

Aligning Big Data, metadata and Information Governance

Increased risk and cost cultivates concern on every floor of your business. Ironically, companies are consuming reports and engaging in meetings on risk and cost using mobile devices.  Changing content consumption behavior is a unique opportunity for a business leader to align Information Governance strategy with CFO’s and CIO’s cost and risk challenges.

CIOs and CFOs have been spending billions of dollars on SOA, WSDL, WebDav, etc for the last 10 years. The costs and risks recently taken limit the desire to make a step change with new technologies.  Therefore, we must align Big Data, metadata and Information Governance such that we recognize ROI from existing investments.  But, maintaining existing investment shouldn’t serve as a deterrent to innovation that improves top line revenue and bottom line costs.

A uniform content manipulation and consumption interface will preserve existing investments, while engaging with Big Data and consumption changes. Standardized interfaces address uniformity; reduce risk and cost, provided enough vendors and customers are adopting them.

Can you change the way you integrate business process with storage?

Adopting, by mandate, a uniform interface that supports Big Data, metadata and Information Governance strategy shouldn’t require you to change vendors or storage types.  Further, any uniform interface must be expressive enough to support:

  • Security gate keeping, such as XML or WEB gateways
  • Predictive analytics and business intelligence
  • Existing SLAs by infrastructure teams

The adoption of a standard interface allows you to augment the way applications interact with information so you can create a vision to accomplish these goals:

  • Control budgets by managing Big Data in hybrid clouds
  • Reduce liability insurance and litigation costs and risks
  • Inter-country data transfer and compliance
  • Data preparation and transfer for the cloud
  • SLA, Cloud termination and mobility strategies

Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) is standards based uniform interface designed to support the challenges, opportunities and goals previously mentioned.  CMIS is an OASIS standard sponsored by 15 major vendors of content management systems, e.g. Adobe Systems, Alfresco, EMC, HP, Microsoft, OpenText, etc.  As a standard interface it is supported by those same vendors, ensuring that content consumption applications will work horizontally and globally.

CMIS supports vendor-neutral metadata.  Vendor neutral metadata ensures that any application can connect to your enterprise content stream to consume and interact with data. 
Content Management Interoperability Services

For example, Facebook Like and iPAD FlipBoard currently work well together.  Using the Flipboard consumer model, enterprise users may read enterprise business content streams as magazine articles.  While reading the streams users can “Like” them, add comments, append tags and other metadata.

CMIS also supports XML ensuring a secure XML or Web gateway vendor can use existing policy framework to control data flow. For example, a curator flipping through French projects on their Flipboard could set metadata relevant to France using CMIS.  Since the metadata and CMIS are open, any attempt to use the data outside of France could be blocked by secure gateway, like Actiance, Layer 7, M86 Security, Symantec and Vordel.

Existing XML gateways have additional uses.  Assume your curator has identified a few business projects that create sensitive and critical data for your companies five year business strategy. A curator can mark the data according to your Information Governance plan using CMIS application, and then a gateway supporting CMIS can block data from traversing a hybrid cloud environment, e.g. country specific private data centers, outsourced or public cloud like Amazon S3.

Call to action: Big Data, metadata and Information Governance

Big Data can create a formidable Information Governance challenge if ignored.  Managing Big Data as individual files or as containers or folders will result in death by paper cuts and hierarchy. Avoid container and file management by incorporating metadata based on business processes and projects. Metadata can be added by consumption applications and semantic search systems. Near term, metadata is used by policy systems to enforce Information Governance. Longer term, metadata will be used in new ways by consumption tools and predictive analytic systems.

Combining Big Data with metadata will require a strategic focus and a commitment to a uniform interface.  Bigdata combined with metadata will ease costs and complexity related to Information Governance.  Managing content using metadata through policy will enable you to scale Information Governance in data centers, between data centers and into the hybrid cloud space.

Four point plan for CMIS inclusion:

  1. Evaluate all vendors who support CMIS; supported products listed on OASIS
  2. Require vendors who supply content, data and storage systems to support CMIS
  3. Enable CMIS on existing products; supported products listed on OASIS
  4. Identify medium risk database and content management projects to be replaced by CMIS

Information Governance Goals:

  • Control budgets by managing Big Data in hybrid clouds
  • Reduce liability insurance and litigation costs and risks
  • Inter-country data transfer and compliance
  • Data preparation and transfer for the cloud
  • SLA, cloud termination and mobility strategies

Information Governance is challenging.  Eliminate technology barriers by normalizing access to Big Data and metadata using CMIS as THE standardized interface.

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Joshua L. Konkle

About Joshua L. Konkle

Vice President DCIG, LLC Joshua Konkle is Vice President at DCIG LLC, an independent storage analyst and consulting firm. Mr. Konkle has been a business advisor with them since September 2006.

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