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Back to Basics: When sites run into trouble, it's usually the database that's the problem, not ColdFusion
Back to Basics: When sites run into trouble, it's usually the database that's the problem, not ColdFusion

[Ed. Note: We've run articles on this in the past, but - we can never say it enough!]

Cutting ColdFusion code is fun, and therein lies ColdFusion's biggest problem. It's too easy to get carried away writing code to do things that should be happening in the database itself - or often shouldn't be happening at all. It's also just too easy to use. You can get up and running far too quickly, and get into trouble even quicker. Sometimes experienced developers get carried away trying to do too much; beginners often start to run before they can walk.

When I came across a site where a simple query of news stories was taking a quarter of a second, I wasn't sure that writing their own object-caching mechanism in ColdFusion was entirely the right approach. I called a timeout - a morning to go over the basics. One simple run of the Query Analyzer diagnosed the problem: a date field was being used in a sort clause without an index.

The query time was reduced to around 15ms - around 6ms database time plus the ODBC overhead. If you use SQL Server, the Query Analyzer is a tool you should learn to love. As a basic rule, any query that does more than select a single record using a primary as the criterion will probably benefit from some sort of index.

Using it couldn't be simpler - simply open a window, enter your SQL query text and then press Ctrl + I to run an index analysis (see Figure 1). In SQL Server versions 7 and up it's become an invaluable tool. You can also take a look at the path analysis and turn on the "Show stats time" option in the Query->Current Connection Options dialog.

It's useful, but in a publishing application there's only so much you can do to tune database performance. You can get too worried about optimization - you're pushing about large text strings and that takes time. Hard-core optimization is more relevant in financial and engineering applications where the database is summarizing and calculating vast numbers of small records.

You're more likely to achieve better results if you concentrate your efforts on your ColdFusion code. ColdFusion offers two powerful ways of caching queries: the "cached within" feature and caching in a shared scope. Many developers aren't aware that you can cache any ColdFusion object in the application scope; structs and queries can just as easily be cached as scalar variables. You can cache queries that are unlikely to change in application.cfm:

<cfif NOT IsDefined("application.courses")>
<cfquery name="courses" datasource="#application.dsn#">
SELECT * FROM COURSES
ORDER BY COURSE
</cfquery>

<cflock scope="application" type="exclusive" timeout="10">
<cfset application.courses = courses>
</cflock>
</cfif>

(The locking after the query is vitally important; see article 20370 in the ColdFusion knowledgebase.)

By putting the actual query and assignment above into a separate include file and calling it whenever the table is affected, you can create your own full-fledged cache server. Alternatively, you can convert the query to a struct keyed by the primary key of the database table and put the struct into the application scope. There are custom tags in the developer's exchange to do this, but it's almost quicker to do it yourself.

Don't be scared of using the application scope. Memory's cheap and downtime isn't. If your entire database is only half a gigabyte and you have 2GB in your server, why not load it into the application scope?

Usually it's best to mix this approach with the cached within approach. Say you have a database of two thousand suppliers, listed by region, together with the services they offer. You want to use the "startrow, endrow" parameters of <CFOUTPUT> to show fifty at a time, but this means fetching the entire listing in the query, which takes nearly 150ms.

In this case you could put the fields you need for the listing in an application-level query and then, on a separate "view" page, select the main details in a separate query that you apply the cached within parameter to. This parameter of <CFQUERY> is one of ColdFusion's best features. It can send your sysadmin into a blind panic when he or she sees CF taking up 800MB ("It's got a leak!"), but it's so simple to use compared to rival offerings.

One technique I use all the time, caching formatted output, is a little more contentious. Say, for instance, you have fields in your supplier database for TEL, FAX, EMAIL, WEB - any of which may be blank or need formatting. In a listing page of fifty records this can take time. On one of my pages it was taking too much time just to do a simple list. My solution? Rather than copy the whole query into the application scope, I created a new query (see the Query-New() function) with fields for the primary key and formatted display.

Even more contentious: sometimes I put the formatted output back into the database. I do this all the time where the database is storing XML and I need to convert to HTML. Converting a page on the fly takes around 400ms (assuming XSL doesn't get stuck in an endless loop) and displaying a cached query takes less than 1ms.

This may sound like a lash-up (I less than impressed an old college friend who followed a slightly more formal career), but this is how the really expensive application servers work. Sure, they won't store large chunks of HTML in the database; they'll store serialized Java objects, but at least the HTML will still work when somebody changes the code. (Application servers store objects in a format that depends on the object definition [your code]. When you change that definition, the entire object store can be rendered unusable. It's very problematic, and I've seen plenty of implementations of expensive object servers where almost all the data is stored in plain SQL tables.)

Note: With reference to Ben Forta's February CFDJ article ("Faster and Safer Database Queries," Vol. 4, issue 2), you can't cache a query that uses a QUERYPARAM tag. You can, though, achieve the same security against malicious URLs by ensuring that all your tables have a numeric primary key and then validating any variables used in SQL queries with an "IsNumeric()" test. It's one more reason why all database tables should have a numeric primary key.

No matter how cheap memory gets, you do still need to apply a certain amount of discipline to your coding. One of the most common causes of database problems is fetching too much data from the database. Using derived tables and other advanced SQL constructs, you should be able to avoid fetching vast amounts of query data and looping over it.

A typical derived table query looks something like this:

SELECT TOP 1 A.NEWS_ID, A.HEADLINE, A.STORY FROM NEWS AS A,
(SELECT NEWS_ID FROM NEWS_CATEGORIES_JOIN
WHERE CATEGORY_ID IN (#cat_list#)) AS B
WHERE A.NEWS_ID = B.NEWS_ID
ORDER BY A.PUBDATE DESC

This will select a record from a correctly built many-to-many join (of which much more later) when a GROUP BY can't be used (i.e., with long text fields). This is just a simple example (a subselect could be used equally well here and run as quickly); derived tables are most effective when some sort of calculation needs to be performed, perhaps a summation or a count. If you find the idea of working with tables that don't exist a little frightening, you can often achieve the same affect by using a view, a stored query that can be queried and joined just like a standard table (see Figure 2).

Often underused, views are a great tool for making both your SQL and your CF code as simple as possible. They're second nature to anyone who's come to SQL Server from Access (where they're known as queries), but experienced programmers who have been using old-style databases often prefer to do everything in one query. Using views is usually quicker than performing joins or summaries at runtime. I saw a job advertisement recently that said "must be able to write join queries without using visual tools" and I thought: "Why?" There's no benefit, save a few techy kudos.

If you do need to loop over entire tables, try to avoid fetching the data into ColdFusion. Database cursors (described by Ian Rutherford in "Using MS-SQL Stored Procedures with ColdFusion," CFDJ Vol. 4, issue 2) will run much faster than dragging data into ColdFusion, processing it, and then running an update. It also won't take up a ColdFusion thread or valuable network capacity.

Speed Isn't Everything
As important as optimization is, sometimes there's too much focus on saving a millisecond here or cutting down white space there at the expense of properly structured code and databases. The key to software engineering, as in all engineering, is to keep it simple, and the main aim in a ColdFusion development should be no different from any other project: to keep the code to a minimum.

It's this discipline of keeping things simple that's the most important part of building reliable and scalable sites. It may seem strange, but sometimes code that runs slower can make for better Web sites. Take, for example, what for me is the litmus test of good database design: the use of many-to-many joins. A typical database application might be a listing of schools and the courses they offer. The original data, as always, is in Excel, looking something like the example in Figure 3. The experienced developer will recognize the need for a separate table of courses and a third "join" table indicating which schools have which courses.

The temptation, though, is simply to import it into the database and use it as is, relying on ColdFusion's list handling to determine which courses are offered by which schools. That would be bad, but what would be even worse would be some attempt to code the courses offered as separate database fields (see Figure 4).

Why you shouldn't do this is hard to explain, although it's simple: in a SELECT query it'll run two to three times as fast as using a many-to-many join, and it's easy to program using ColdFusion Studio. You just point the wizards at the right table and five minutes later you're done. But by doing something like this, you have hard-coded "data" into the "structure" of your system. To build truly scalable systems, you need to keep a very definite division between the structure and the data. The Golden Rule is this: if your ColdFusion code is completely separate from your database, then your system will scale. If you've hard-coded data as fieldnames - you just can't do this - your data is inextricably tied up with your application.

Using ColdFusion, it isn't always possible to adhere to the strict three-tier model (database, application, presentation), but creating a division between the structure and the data is still a must. You should be able to edit the data directly without using your ColdFusion application and still see the changes reflected on your site.

So, for instance, were you to add a new course to the table of courses, your site should display that course wherever relevant. Often this doesn't happen; data fields are hard-coded and the layout of the pages is dependent on the data structure.

Sometimes you might use the ColdFusion application to enforce certain database rules - for instance, that a salesperson can have a maximum of only 10 customers. This is fine. In fact, database theorists call such a rule an application rule for the very reason that it doesn't affect the underlying data. If a salesperson had 11 clients it wouldn't affect the data in any way. But if the only way you could add or remove clients was through the ColdFusion-based Web interface, then something would be amiss.

A simple example like the one shown in Figure 4 doesn't really illustrate the necessity of relational design. Once you're bug-free, the example will run faster than a relational design, and it will scale. It's simple and, above all, that's what matters.

You wouldn't have to get much more complicated before a flat file system like this would start to break down, though. It's not just raw performance that's the issue - the extra complexity of the code and the difficulties in making changes will all contribute in different ways to a lack of scalability. If a system relies on a single overworked developer to make simple changes, then it won't be scalable no matter how optimized the code.

As with any rule, the one about keeping the data separate from the code is easily broken. It's quite possible to make such a convoluted mess of triggers, derived tables, cursor loops, and other database constructs that no amount of processing power will save you. Keep it simple, though, and it will scale.

Easy in Theory
Although it makes things simpler in the database system, relational design can, if you're not careful, make things more complicated in the Web application. Using separate tables for many-to-many joins requires extra INSERT queries, and SELECT functions often have to employ grouping, subselects, or derived tables.

Perhaps the principal reason many-to-many joins don't get used is that most database editing systems don't have a standard component for implementing them. Access doesn't (you have to create a subform or use some VB), and if you're using HTML forms, you unfortunately can't use the "query" attribute of <CFSELECT> as it doesn't support multiple values for "selected". You can, however, use a simple loop:

<cfselect name="course_id" multiple="Yes">
<cfoutput query="application.courses">
<option #iif(ListFind("#current_vals#",courses_id),
DE("selected"), DE(""))# value="#courses_id#">#course#
</cfoutput>
</cfselect>

Alternatively, you can use checkboxes; another effective device for editing many-to-many joins is a swap box. It's especially useful when you have many possible options to choose from, and it's more intuitive than multiple select boxes where the user has to control-click (see Figure 5).

There are several custom tags to do this in the developer's exchange, and my own <CF_SWAPBOX> is available from my site (see "Resources" section). It has almost identical syntax to CFSELECT, and also supports multiple values for "selected".

One thing you can't do much about is the complexity of inserting and updating the "join" tables (the third table used for many-to-many joins). You can cut down the number of queries needed by using an "insert into" with a subselect, for example:

INSERT INTO COURSES_SCHOOLS_JOIN
(COURSES_ID, SCHOOLS_ID)
SELECT COURSES_ID, #form.SCHOOLS_ID#
FROM COURSES
WHERE COURSES_ID IN (#form.courses_id#)

but this won't run any faster than using multiple inserts in the same query. Nor can you run this as a stored procedure (you can't pass a list of integer primary keys as a VARCHAR and then use it in a subselect), nor can you use the <CFQUERYPARAM> tag. It's best just to run a separate insert for each row of the join table.

Perhaps, though, the biggest obstacle to correct database design isn't a technical one, but the very familiar problem of client demands. Before you can build a sound database, you need to convince the client that that's what's needed. The temptation for clients is to think of their Web site like a magazine: "I want to put that over there, that over there." Convincing clients they need to "think data" is the hardest part of any project.

In the most difficult project I ever worked on, the editor of the site was so incensed at no longer being able to work on the HTML pages himself that he got hold of the administrator password and replaced all the ColdFusion code with HTML pages he'd "saved as" from his browser. All the dynamic functions duly broke, but because the site still looked the same as it did before, the client never really understood what had happened. As far as he was concerned, my code didn't work. The editor was there to edit pages and that was what he was doing.

The concept of changing a page not by editing the page itself, but by editing a separate data system, is a surprisingly difficult conceptual hurdle for many people. It's such a simple concept that it's easy to forget how revolutionary it is. Those who have come from a print media background aren't going to buy into the database idea until they've had that hallelujah moment and seen just what an impact information systems can have. Until that time they're going to find using a database frustrating and too inflexible.

If your client isn't of the database mind-set when you start a project, it's vital that you help him or her see the light before you start programming. Otherwise you'll end up putting in hooks and hacks to try and satisfy client demands ("sometimes we might want to do something different"). They'll come back to haunt you.

I've found that the most important ingredient of a successful site isn't the design or my code, but getting the client used to the idea of editing a database. A client who comes to you not with ideas for "new pages" but a "new section" and a sketch of the underlying data is worth more than any amount of milliseconds saved from a database query.

Resources

  • To download <CF_SWAPBOX>: www.articlemanager.com/download.cfm
  • A good guide to relational database design: Hernandez, M.J. (1997). Database Design for Mere Mortals. Addison-Wesley.
    About Tom Peer
    Tom Peer has been in electronic publishing of one sort or another for ten years, including a stint as manager of New Scientist Online (www.newscientist.com). He specializes in taking printed publications online and has recently completed the online edition of The World Handbook of Stock Exchanges (www.exchange-handbook.com).

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    Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
    "Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
    Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
    "MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
    "There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
    It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
    WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
    A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
    Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
    To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
    An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...

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    Sponsorship opportunities are now open for Internet of Things at Cloud Expo 2018 New York, taking place June 5-7, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, and Internet of Things at Cloud Expo 2018 Silicon Valley, November 6-8, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For sponsorship, exhibit opportunities and show prospectus, please contact Carmen Gonzalez, carmen (at) sys-con.com.



    @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers Include

    MATTHIEU
    Octoblu

    MAHADEV
    Cisco

    MCCARTHY
    Bsquare

    FELICIANO
    AMDG

    PAUL
    VenueNext

    SMITH
    Eviot

    BEAMER
    goTraverse

    GETTENS
    goTraverse

    CHAMBLISS
    ReadyTalk

    HERBERTS
    Cityzen Data

    REITBAUER
    Dynatrace

    WILLIAM-
    SON

    Cloud
    Computing

    SCHMARZO
    EMC

    WOOD
    VeloCloud

    WALLGREN
    Electric Cloud

    VARAN-
    NATH

    GE

    SRIDHARA-
    BALAN

    Pulzze

    METRIC
    Linux

    MONTES
    Iced

    ARIOLA
    Parasoft

    HOLT
    Daitan

    CUNNING-
    HAM

    ReadyTalk

    BEDRO-
    SIAN

    Cypress

    NAMIE
    Cisco

    NAKA-
    GAWA

    Transparent
    Cloud

    SHIBATA
    Transparent
    Cloud

    BOYD
    Neo4j

    VANDER-
    MINDEN

    Flatiron
    Strategies

    JAME-
    NSKY

    Embotics

    KOCHER
    Grey Heron

    SPROULE
    Metavine

    BLACK
    SQLstream

    WARD
    DWE

    MILLER
    Covisint

    EVAVOLD
    Covisint

    MEINER
    Oracle

    MEEHAN
    Esri

    WITECK
    Citrix

    LIANG
    Rancher Labs

    BUTLER
    Tego

    ROWE
    IBM Cloud

    SKILLERN
    Intel

    SMITH
    Numerex
    @ThingsExpo New York All-Star Speakers Include

    CLELAND
    HGST

    VASILIOU
    Catchpoint

    WALLGREN
    Electric Cloud

    HINCH-
    CLIFFE

    7Summits

    DE SOUZA
    Cisco

    RANDALL
    Gartner

    ARMSTRONG
    AppNeta

    SMALLTREE
    Cazena

    MCCARTHY
    Bsquare

    DELOACH
    Infobright

    QUINT
    Ontegrity

    MALAUCHLAN
    Buddy Platform

    PALIOTTA
    Vector

    MITRA
    Cognizant

    KOCHER
    Grey Heron

    PAPDO
    POULOS

    Cloud9

    HARLAN
    Two Bulls

    GOLO
    SHUBIN

    Bit6

    PROIETTI
    Location
    Smart

    MARTIN
    nfrastructure

    MOULINE
    Everbridge

    MARSH
    Blue Pillar

    PARKS
    SecureRF

    PEROTTI
    Plantronics

    HOFFMAN
    EastBanc

    WATSON
    Trendalyze

    BENSONOFF
    Unigma

    SHAN
    CTS

    MATTELA
    Redpine

    GILLEN
    Spark
    Coginition

    SOLT
    Netvibes

    BERNARDO
    GE Digital

    ROMANSKY
    TrustPoint

    BEAMER
    GoTransverse

    LESTER
    LogMeIn

    PONO
    -MAREVA

    Google

    SINGH
    Sencha

    CALKINS
    Amadeus

    KLEIN
    Rachio

    HOASIN
    Aeris

    SARKARIA
    PHEMI

    SPROULE
    Metavine

    SNELL
    Intel

    LEVINE
    CytexOne

    ALLEN
    Freewave

    MCCALLUM
    Falconstor

    HYEDT
    Seamless

    @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers Include

    SCHULZ
    Luxoft

    TAMBURINI
    Autodesk

    MCCARTHY
    Bsquare

    THURAI
    SaneIoT

    TURNER
    Cloudian

    ENDO
    Intrepid

    NAKAGAWA
    Transparent

    SHIBATA
    Transparent

    LEVANT-LEVI
    testRTC

    VARAN NATH
    GE

    COOPER
    M2Mi

    SENAY
    Teletax

    SKEEN
    Vitria

    KOCHER
    Grey Heron

    GREENE
    PubNub

    MAGUIRE
    HP

    MATTHIEU
    Octoblu

    STEINER-JOVIC
    AweSense

    LYNN
    AgilData

    HEDGES
    Cloudata

    DUFOUR
    Webroot

    ROBERTS
    Platform

    JONES
    Deep

    PFEIFFER
    NICTA

    NIELSEN
    Redis

    PAOLALANTORIO
    DataArchon

    KAHN
    Solgenia

    LOPEZ
    Kurento

    KIM
    MapR

    BROMHEAD
    Instaclustr

    LEVINE
    CytexOne

    BONIFAZI
    Solgenia

    GORBACHEV
    Intelligent
    Systems

    THYKATTIL
    Navisite

    TRELOAR
    Bebaio

    SIVARAMA-
    KRISHNAN

    Red Hat
    Cloud Expo New York All-Star Speakers Included

    DE SOUZA
    Cisco

    POTTER
    SafeLogic

    ROBINSON
    CompTIA

    WARUSA
    -WITHANA

    WSO2 Inc

    MEINER
    Oracle

    CHOU
    Microsoft

    HARRISON
    Tufin

    BRUNOZZI
    VMware

    KIM
    MapR

    KANE
    Dyn

    SICULAR
    Basho

    TURNER
    Cloudian

    KUMAR
    Liaison

    ADAMIAK
    Liaison

    KHAN
    Solgenia

    BONIFAZI
    Solgenia

    SUSSMAN
    Coalfire

    ISAACSON
    RMS

    LYNN
    CodeFutures

    HEABERLIN
    Windstream

    RAMA
    MURTHY

    Virtusa

    BOSTOCK
    IndependenceIT

    DE MENO
    CommVault

    GRILLI
    Adobe

    WILLIAMS
    Rancher Labs

    CRISWELL
    Alert Logic

    COTY
    Alert Logic

    JACOBS
    SingleHop

    MARAVEI
    Cisco

    JACKSON
    Softlayer

    SINGH
    IBM

    HAZARD
    Softlayer

    GALLO
    Softlayer

    TAMASKAR
    GENBAND

    SUBRA
    -MANIAN

    Emcien

    LEVESQUE
    Windstream

    IVANOV
    StorPool

    BLOOMBERG
    Intellyx

    BUDHANI
    Soha

    HATHAWAY
    IBM Watson

    TOLL
    ProfitBricks

    LANDRY
    Microsoft

    BEARFIELD
    Blue Box

    HERITAGE
    Akana

    PILUSO
    SIASMSP

    HOLT
    IBM Cloudant

    SHAN
    CTS

    PICCININNI
    EMC

    BRON-
    GERSMA

    Modulus

    PAIGE
    CenturyLink

    SABHIKHI
    Cognitive Scale

    MILLS
    Green House Data

    KATZEN
    CenturyLink

    SLOPER
    CenturyLink

    SRINIVAS
    EMC

    TALREJA
    Cisco

    GORBACHEV
    Systems Services Inc.

    COLLISON
    Apcera

    PRABHU
    OpenCrowd

    LYNN
    CodeFutures

    SWARTZ
    Ericsson

    MOSHENKO
    CoreOS

    BERMINGHAM
    SIOS

    WILLIS
    Stateless Networks

    MURPHY
    Gridstore

    KHABE
    Vicom

    NIKOLOV
    GetClouder

    DIETZE
    Windstream

    DALRYMPLE
    EnterpriseDB

    MAZZUCCO
    TierPoint

    RIVERA
    WHOA.com

    HERITAGE
    Akana

    SEYMOUR
    6fusion

    GIANNETTO
    Author

    CARTER
    IBM

    ROGERS
    Virtustream
    Cloud Expo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers

    TESAR
    Microsoft

    MICKOS
    HP

    BHARGAVA
    Intel

    RILEY
    Riverbed

    DEVINE
    IBM

    ISAACSON
    CodeFutures

    LYNN
    HP

    HINKLE
    Citrix

    KHAN
    Solgenia

    SINGH
    Bigdata

    BEACH
    SendGrid

    BOSTOCK
    IndependenceIT

    DE SOUZA
    Cisco

    PATTATHIL
    Harbinger

    O'BRIEN
    Aria Systems

    BONIFAZI
    Solgenia

    BIANCO
    Solgenia

    PROCTOR
    NuoDB

    DUGGAL
    EnterpriseWeb

    TEGETHOFF
    Appcore

    BRUNOZZI
    VMware

    HICKENS
    Parasoft

    KLEBANOV
    Cisco

    PETERS
    Esri

    GOLDBERG
    Vormetric

    CUMBER-
    LAND

    Dimension

    ROSENDAHL
    Quantum

    LOOMIS
    Cloudant

    BRUNO
    StackIQ

    HANNON
    SoftLayer

    JACKSON
    SoftLayer

    HOCH
    Virtustream

    KAPADIA
    Seagate

    PAQUIN
    OnLive

    TSAI
    Innodisk

    BARRALL
    Connected Data

    SHIAH
    AgilePoint

    SEGIL
    Verizon

    PODURI
    Citrix

    COWIE
    Dyn

    RITTEN-
    HOUSE

    Cisco

    FALLOWS
    Kaazing

    THYKATTIL
    TimeWarner

    LEIDUCK
    SAP

    LYNN
    HP

    WAGSTAFF
    BSQUARE

    POLLACK
    AOL

    KAMARAJU
    Vormetric

    BARRY
    Catbird

    MENDEN-
    HALL

    SUPERNAP

    SHAN
    KEANE

    PLESE
    Verizon

    BARNUM
    Voxox

    TURNER
    Cloudian

    CALDERON
    Advanced Systems

    AGARWAL
    SOA Software

    LEE
    Quantum

    OBEROI
    Concurrent, Inc.

    HATEM
    Verizon

    GALEY
    Autodesk

    CAUTHRON
    NIMBOXX

    BARSOUM
    IBM

    GORDON
    1Plug

    LEWIS
    Verizon

    YEO
    OrionVM

    NAKAGAWA
    Transparent Cloud Computing

    SHIBATA
    Transparent Cloud Computing

    NATH
    GE

    GOKCEN
    GE

    STOICA
    Databricks

    TANKEL
    Pivotal Software


    Testimonials
    This week I had the pleasure of delivering the opening keynote at Cloud Expo New York. It was amazing to be back in the great city of New York with thousands of cloud enthusiasts eager to learn about the next step on their journey to embracing a cloud-first worldl."
    @SteveMar_Msft
    General Manager of Window Azure
     
    How does Cloud Expo do it every year? Another INCREDIBLE show - our heads are spinning - so fun and informative."
    @SOASoftwareInc
     
    Thank you @ThingsExpo for such a great event. All of the people we met over the past three days makes us confident IoT has a bright future."
    Yasser Khan
    CEO of @Cnnct2me
     
    One of the best conferences we have attended in a while. Great job, Cloud Expo team! Keep it going."

    @Peak_Ten


    Who Should Attend?
    Senior Technologists including CIOs, CTOs & Vps of Technology, Chief Systems Engineers, IT Directors and Managers, Network and Storage Managers, Enterprise Architects, Communications and Networking Specialists, Directors of Infrastructure.

    Business Executives including CEOs, CMOs, & CIOs , Presidents & SVPs, Directors of Business Development , Directors of IT Operations, Product and Purchasing Managers, IT Managers.

    Download Cloud Expo Show Guide
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    Join Us as a Media Partner - Together We Can Rock the IT World!
    SYS-CON Media has a flourishing Media Partner program in which mutually beneficial promotion and benefits are arranged between our own leading Enterprise IT portals and events and those of our partners.

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    @ThingsExpo Blogs
    Recently I read somewhere this statement – As we end 2017 and look ahead to 2018, topics that are top of mind for data professionals are the growing range of data management mandates, including the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation that is directed at personal data and privacy, the growing role of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in enterprise applications, the need for better security in light of the onslaught of hacking cases, and the ability to leverage the expanding Internet of Things.
    In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to iterate use cases, bring understanding to those seeking to explore complicated technical concepts and ...
    "IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be looking at some significant engineering investment. On-demand, serverless computing enables deve...
    “Why incur the expense of generating and collecting all of this IoT data if you’re not going to monetize it?” Organizations are racing to embrace the Internet of Things (IoT) as the pundits create “visions of sugar-plums dancing in their heads.” McKinsey Global Institute released their study “The Internet of Things: Mapping the Value beyond the Hype” in June 2015 that highlighted the staggering financial value that IoT could create! (See Figure 1.)
    So data warehousing may not be cool anymore, you say? It’s yesterday’s technology (or 1990’s technology if you’re as old as me) that served yesterday’s business needs. And while it’s true that recent big data and data science technologies, architectures and methodologies seems to have rendered data warehousing to the back burner, it is entirely false that there is not a critical role for the data warehouse and Business Intelligence in digitally transformed organizations.
    There is a war a-brewin’, but this war will be fought with wits and not brute strength. Ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declaration that “the nation that leads in AI (Artificial Intelligence) will be the ruler of the world,” the press and analysts have created hysteria regarding the ramifications of artificial intelligence on everything from public education to unemployment to healthcare to Skynet. Note: artificial intelligence (AI) endows applications with the ability to automatically learn and adapt from experience via interacting with the surroundings / environment. See the b...
    Will I ever understand the nuances of the advanced analytics landscape? Well, maybe the better question is will the advanced analytics landscape ever stop changing? The advanced analytics landscape, into which I include Deep Learning (DL), Machine Learning (ML), Reinforcement Learning (RL) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), seems to be in a constant state of evolution. New advanced analytic algorithms and tool sets seem to be coming out of every university, every startup, every digital media company and every technology company. And many of these new advanced analytic algorithms and tool sets a...
    Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and optimization to employee training and insights, all ultimately create the best customer experience b...
    Well, my developer friends, 2018 is your year. Businesses in practically every industry have a fever. And the only prescription? You. I know, I know. The demand for developers is nothing new. But 2018 is different. 2018 is the year where we see some of this decade's most exciting technologies become commercially viable, and others finally go mainstream. We'll see new forms of immersive entertainment, and inanimate objects will come alive in ways that really feel real. Trying to undermine this progress are intelligent and dangerous threats that must be outsmarted and outworked. There's endles...
    Since releasing the University of San Francisco research paper on “How to Determine the Economic Value of Your Data” (EvD), I have had numerous conversations with senior executives about the business and technology ramifications of EvD. Now with the release of Doug Laney’s “Infonomics” book that builds upon Doug’s EvD work at Gartner, I expect these conversations to intensify. In fact, I just traveled to Switzerland to discuss the potential business and technology ramifications of EvD with the management team of a leading European Telecommunications company.
    Special thanks to Brandon Kaier (@bkaier) for his research and thoughts on the Digital Twins concept. Unilever, one of the Consumer Package Goods (CPG) industry’s titans with over 400 brands and annual sales greater than $60B, recently bought Dollar Shave Club for $1B. Now normally I would not think twice about such an acquisition, peanuts in the world of mergers and acquisitions. However, this one feels different. Two billion people use Unilever products every day according to Unilever’s 2015 annual report. Dollar Shave Club only has around two million members; the vast majority of w...
    From government to retail to oil and gas, it seems like everyone is exploring how to use AI in their industry or business. It’s time for you to do the same. There’s no question that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is on a lot of people’s minds these days, and is beginning to grow rapidly in adoption. Quoting Accenture, Forbes reports AI-driven productivity gains of perhaps 40% by 2035, and publications like the New York Times are noting the buzz, even as they ask, why now? Even if you don’t think you’ll be adopting AI for yourself just yet, you need to at least consider the broader impact the te...
    A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, which can process our conversational commands and orchestrate the outcomes we request across our persona...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
    This month, an AI (artificial intelligence) system passed a medical exam in China for the first time. I wonder how its bedside manner will be? In addition, Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to a robot named Sophia. With all these rapid advancements, I think it is time we explore the spiritual life of robots. Up till recently, programmers coded and configured algorithms, AI, automation and machine learning system and took personal responsibility for all the code. Today, however, AI has escaped the confines of human oversight and has been empowered and employed to self-program, self-optimize, ...
    The Federal Communications Commission announced that it will vote on December 14 to enact the exceptionally misleadingly titled “Restoring Internet Freedom” order. If passed, it will do the opposite of restoring anything resembling freedom — it will repeal the current net neutrality rules which were enacted to ensure that Americans would have equal access to the Internet. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re already interested in the topic. Still, some quick background: Renamed “Open Internet” a while back, net neutrality provided a regulatory framework that specifically prohibited:...
    Digital technologies have altered how people and businesses interact. The potential for dislocation from ongoing digital transformation has created unprecedented levels of C-suite discussion. The decisive market leaders have heeded the warnings and taken bold actions. That said, if you’re one of those Chief Technology Officers (CTO) that previously responded to this scenario by making small incremental adjustments to your IT agenda, then you’re potentially at risk. Any relief from those prior tweaks tend to be short lived. The same issues will likely resurface.
    Over the last few years, the Internet of things (IoT) has become a trending phrase for consumers and a top priority for businesses embarking on their digital transformation. Even with the growth and interest in IoT however, the meaning can still confuse people. So, what is IoT? IoT is a network of things connected to the internet and is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system. These “things” may include a variety of devices like home appliances, commercial vending machines, fitness trackers, industrial gateways, connected cars, and smart factories.
    I love it when I get feedback from a blog that I’ve written. I appreciate the different perspectives and insights that others bring to a topic of interest. And no blog that I’ve written has drawn more comments than my blog, “Isaac Asimov: The 4th Law of Robotics.” The section of the blog that fueled the most comments stem from a scene in the movie I, Robot where Detective Spooner (played by Will Smith) is explaining to Doctor Calvin (who is responsible for giving robots human-like behaviors) why he distrusts and hates robots. He is describing an incident where his police car crashed into anot...