Welcome!

Government Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Gopala Krishna Behara, Raju Myadam, Kevin Jackson

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Microservices Expo, PowerBuilder, Weblogic, Eclipse, Recurring Revenue, Artificial Intelligence, Log Management, Server Monitoring, @CloudExpo, Government Cloud

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Tips for Efficient PaaS Application Design

Simple Data Entity Modeling

On yet another application review with a prospective client the issue of potentially troublesome data entity relationships came up.  A number of our clients are existing QuickBase users who have made an initial attempt to design their applications and find that some assistance is needed.  The first thing we look at to understand their application requirements are the data entity relationships.

This is done in the context of both their existing application as well as their general business requirement because often applications are not correctly designed to support the structure of the business information.

One of the most common mistakes we see is when application designers build inflexible structures into their applications because of a lack of understanding of relational data.  During the client call mentioned above we saw that they had set up a table of Projects and then wanted to capture monthly budget data.  To do this the application designer created twelve fields, one for each month, on the project form to capture the budget information.  For spreadsheet abusers this kind of flat structure may seem natural.  However, in a database environment the goal is to structure related data to support reporting, visibility and analysis of information.

Data Entity Modeling 101
Whenever we start development of a new client application our first step is to model the data entity relationships.  The key to this is asking detailed questions about how information in the organization is structured, used and viewed.  A simple line of questioning can help flesh out data entity relationships.

1. Start with element of data that is at the core of the process being evaluated.  In most cases this should be relatively easy to identify; for example, when discussing a Project Management application the core data element is typically a Project.  CRM or Sales force Automation applications can be more challenging but typically have an entity such as an Opportunity, Case or Lead as the core.

KEY QUESTIONS

  • What is the main function of the application?
  • What do you call the form that you currently fill out as part of the process?

2. Identify primary relationships to the core data entity (see Example A).  Almost all business processes involve data that has some kind of hierarchy so it's should be expected that a core data entity will have one or sub-entities.  A sub-entity is a child relationship where the core is the parent and the sub-entity has one or more pieces of information related to the parent core entity.  There are many examples of this; Projects almost always have a list of associated Tasks, Quotes have Lines or Quote Items, Sales Orders have Order Lines.

KEY QUESTIONS

  • What other information is captured as part of the primary function?
  • Is additional information singular to the core entity or might there be more than one piece of information of the same type?
  • Is information entered on a separate form linked or referenced to the core entity?

3. Identify auxiliary entity relationships to the core and primary data entities (see Example B).  We often refer to this auxiliary information as meta data because it is really information that helps qualify another data entity.  Auxiliary information is best defined as information that helps define, assign or organize a core or primary data entity.  Often information that is contained in a drop-down field is converted to an auxiliary data entity to allow for easier management of the list.  Another very common auxiliary data entity is a Staff or Resource table used to assign a Task or a Project Manager.

KEY QUESTIONS

  • Is the field on the primary or core entity a drop down that needs to be selected from a dynamically changing list?
  • Is there additional information that needs to be passed to the primary or core entity from a selection other than just the selection value?
  • Is there categorical or list data that is likely to be used in more than one place in the application?

The Benefits of Proper Data Entity Modeling

Circling back to the example above where the budget data was set up as a flat structure with a field for each month there are a number of considerations to point out.

1. It's would be confusing to interpret a project budget that spans the end of the year because there would be data points in the ending months and beginning months but no specification as to which year the months belong in.

2. No project budget could ever be more than year long (there are only 12 fields to capture data).

3. Reporting trend and aggregate data would be very difficult due to the inability to easily identify the budget year and not having budget amounts in 12 different fields.

The ideal solution would be to set up a Budget entity related to the Project and capture each month as a single entry with the month, year and amount entered.  This would allow QuickBase and really just about any database to much more effectively report the budget information.

This small example is just one of many such data entity challenges we have seen.  In some cases the limitations caused by inefficient structures is not realized until substantial data and process development has occurred and correcting it can be a major project.  Therefore it is critically important when designing any database application to go through the data entity mapping exercise as an early step.

More Stories By Govind Davis

As a Partner in MCF, Govind has played the lead role in designing custom business process solutions for MCF customers. The philosophy behind his methodology is to work closely with clients to develop a deep understanding of their unique business process culture and design solutions to fit their environment. This process has led to the successful deployment of more than 50 custom applications. He spent three years as a Web 2.0 architect in a multi-billion dollar consumer products company driving solutions through out Global Sourcing. His development efforts tied together multiple North American locations with 3rd party suppliers in Asia. Hundreds of millions in purchasing dollars have run through his internally developed web applications. http://www.mcftech.com

@ThingsExpo Stories
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
DXWorldEXPO LLC, the producer of the world's most influential technology conferences and trade shows has announced the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO "Early Bird Registration" is now open. Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
"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.
I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager - it's starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
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 ...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
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...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
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...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...