Monthly Archives: September 2008

SOA Doesn’t Change The Data Quality Equation

On 9/30, in the last 3 minutes of the market close, for some mysterious reasons Google stock price tanked while the rest of the market was going up especially after the 9%+ slide of NASDAQ yesterday, thanks to the bailout fallout. Being busy at work (no seriously), I missed out the opportunity to grab the stock at those lower prices. Ofcourse, it turned out that this is a big mistake and so NASDAQ is going to cancel many of those orders, so it wouldn’t really matter if I wasn’t busy at work :).

Anyway, the problem I want to mention is, companies like Yahoo! still are showing $322.99, almost 11 hours later inspite NASDAQ’s correction. So, I used one of the stock quotes web services that I am aware of and tried out online the stock quote for Google (thanks to Visual Web Service which provides online forms interface to submit web services with http binding). Here is what I got as the response.

Stock Quote Web Service

Stock Quote Web Service

So, essentially, if one popular web service goes wrong, all the business processes that make use of the web service would go wrong. The point is not to advocate that SOA is not good or anything, but just to point out that changing to SOA from traditional architectures will not solve certain types of problems.

Now, it beats me how NASDAQ’s system would let it go through even if the error originated at a different market center.

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Filed under SOA, Web Services

What’s the next killer startup?

Well, it’s not an easy question to answer. But then came a company that is supposed to help find the killer startups. And apropriately named, it’s called killerstartups.com. So, I clicked on the “Top 10” tab and then selected “All Time” subtab. Then, I took the first 5 company listed and got their alexa ranking to see how those companies are doing. Here is what I got.

Rank Startup Alexa Rank as of 9/27/2008 Live Alexa Rank
1 storymash.com 354,756 alexa
2 mediamingle.com 625,336 alexa
3 mostplays.com 124,960 alexa
4 yobler.com 558,214 alexa
5 shrinktheweb.com 57,402 alexa

Now, only the 5th website has a rank below 100K. And I don’t see how they can make any money.

So, what really is a killer startup? Should it have a lot of web traffic? Should it make a lot of money?

Of course, most people start companies to make money. But then, where are all the really successful companies out there on the list? Are people really interested in publicizing their company as a killer startup, till it actually is?

I think there is a need for the next killer startup that can properly identify the next killer startups. Hmm, is this recursive?

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Page Rank down to 4 again

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Revisiting SAAS BI in the context of Oracle’s Exadata Storage Server

A while back I wrote about SAAS BI and why I thought it may not be the best strategy to avail BI as a SAAS. A few commenters didn’t agree with me.

Guess what? Today, at Open World, Larry Ellison, the guy who would have better understanding of where the databases are going within the next decade, more than most of us, has unveiled one of the coolest products of the decade in the BI space. No, it’s not yet another cool reporting tool or a sexy graph renderer or a user friendly pivoting or some meta data layer that allows analysts create ad-hoc queries without learning about outer joins and SQL aggregations. The innovation is at the very core layer, the hardware layer.

When you hear Larry talk about TPC-H, the challenges that large companies are facing today with tera-bytes of data, mind-you, inspite of a big database grid, you wonder how the SAAS BI guys can solve the problem of extracting those tera-bytes of data into their own hosted environments.

Exadata Storage Server is essentially a specialized storage hardware that has database level knowledge (think of it as a hard disk with part of the database logic put together) and so, when a query has to be executed, instead of having to return blocks of data from the storage server, only the results set is returned back. This is a big big big thing. If you have a large table and your query requires a full-table scan on it, in the traditional approach, those thousands of data-blocks have to be returned (even with optimizations such as multi-block fetch for FTS). But in the new approach of specialized storage solution with built-in database logic, it just needs to return the summary data. That’s a lot of bandwidth optimization between the storage grid and the database grid. Apparently, currently the pipes between the Exadata storage server and the database grid have so much high-bandwidth that they are no longer the bottleneck. Seems, now instead the hard-drives are the bottleneck! Well, if only the SSDs (Solid-State Disks) mature and become more price effective, then perhaps that equation would shift. But, atleast for now, Oracle’s Exadata server blows the competition away by a huge margin. Forget about SAAS, we are talking about raw processing power here!

The benchmarks shown in the presentation indicate that this solution performed much much better than the solutions like Teradata and Netezza.

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Filed under Exadata, Oracle, SAAS BI

Is LinkedIn Mistakenly Passing Off Your Search Information?

I have a website and I have it in my LinkedIn profile. Recently I have noticed a few visits from LinkedIn to my website. But the strange thing is, the referer URL contained in one case the name of a person I know and in another case, the name of a person I don’t know. It’s not clear to me, whether the name in the URL is the name of the person searching for other people and visiting to their website, or the name of a profile from whom a person visited my profile and then to my website. Whatever it is, it made me concerned about it a bit.

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Filed under linkedin, Privacy

Consumer Privacy, Corporate Secrecy, Both Are Threatened By Google Chrome

There has been a lot of buzz about Google Chrome. I know this not just from the blogs and press but also from my own post about Google Chrome and applets which brought in more than 300 visits in just a day and from Google Grabs 1% on day one, some real statistics.

There has been concerns on the consumer privacy because the OmniBar of Chrome supposedly gathers and sends what you type in the url bar to Google. This is a serious privacy issue for me that I wouldn’t be using Chrome anytime soon.

In this age of online collaboration, more and more companies use CMS websites within their corporate infrastructure. So, when an employee using Chrome and types in the url of an intranet website url, that information would also be available to Google. Now imagine Apple had such a CMS and it had folders named iPod and iPhone long before these products were released to the public! While the press always finds ways to get this kind of information early on through employees/partners who anonymously leak this type of information, with Chrome, Google has a visibility to upcoming high-profile projects that are not known to anyone else. This is a real threat to corporations!

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Filed under Chrome, Privacy

Alexa Traffic Rank Hack

With so many websites sprouting up each day it’s more and more difficult to get a lot of traffic to a website without some serious advertising and SEO effort. One of the ways to keep tabs on the traffic is to use Alexa. One problem with Alexa is, while the weekly and monthly ranks are shown, the daily ranks are absent for most websites and this is because of their footnote

“* Daily values are not available for sites ranked outside of the Top 100K.”

Looks like, as a result of this, they don’t even show the trend in the graph. None of my websites have so far made into the 100K rank yet. So, I have been disappointed for a while about not being able to see my traffic trend. However, I have noticed that a few websites, inspite of their rank being larger than 100K, happen to have their trend graph being plotted.

So, today I realized that if I compare my website with a site that has a trend being plotted, then in the comparison chart, my website’s trend is also plotted! So, you no longer have to despair! Just take another website that has a rank close to 100K and compare it with your website and get your trend.

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