My brother Doc gave me some advice that I take to heart. Don't tell people what you're going to do. Do something, and then tell them what you've done. It's very good advice. But I wouldn't be me if I didn't speculate about the future and what I'm going to do next.
What I have done is learn Ruby. I'm right about now, good enough to be dangerous - which means I'm about 75% as proficient in Ruby as I am in Perl. So there's a subjective couple of statements. It turns out that Ruby is a lot more fun than Perl is, and that there is just about nothing that I would do in Perl that I can't do in Ruby. Those things where it might make the most difference, in the way Regex is interpreted, doesn't matter, because I've forgotten most of my Regex anyway. The advantages of Ruby are manifold. Firstly, all of the new generation APIs will speak Ruby. Secondly, it's object oriented - which gives me the confidence to put off my guilt about not learning Java after all of these years. And thirdly, it just makes sense to me as a language. I'm very comfortable with it.
What I have done secondly is learn Git. I know enough git to do 90% of what I'll ever do with it, and it too is a leapfrog technology that makes me glad I didn't bother with a lot of the other stuff I didn't bother to pick up. So I'm turning the corner, or turning back a page as it were, to become a real developer once again. I will be responsible for a lot of code and I will collaborate. Why? Because I'm building product - a different kind of product than I've ever worked on, but also something that the marketplace hasn't seen much of, all part of the Full360 mission, which is to deliver the next generation BI environment. It's something I've been talking about forever, that thing that would become 'mydatawarehouse.com'. That's where all of this is going.
I've also become stronger in Chef which is one major part of the glue, I've picked up the Rightscale AWS API, and I'm pretty comfortable with AWS itself. Next on the agenda is that new thing called Sinatra. All of this is coalescing into the Full360 architecture and environment for end to end full lifecycle design, development and service management of the next generation of BI. So let me talk about that for a minute.
Where we are going with all this is to enable what we call elasticBI and elasticPM. The practical concept is DevOps for EPM and BI. What is DevOps? It's the merging of development and operations. Practically speaking it is why Amazon.com can watch you buy a backpack today and market hiking shoes to you tomorrow (or later this afternoon). It's about being able to move new code into production on a daily basis, quickly and reliably at scale. Think about what that means in your environment. It means that as soon as somebody in finance comes up with a new KPI in their spreadsheet, we can integrate that into the production cube and have that KPI working for everyone the next day.
That sounds good in theory but there are 100 reasons that your IT department cannot do that in reality. That's the reality that we are working to change. We are going from speed of thought queries to speed of thought implementation. OK I exaggerate, but you get the picture.
Inherent in tackling such a challenge involves things like new strategies for disaster recovery, new strategies for scaling data marts into parallel clusters and new ways to upsize and downsize environments. New ways to monitor performance and manage security are involved as well as a dozen other kinds of things like new batch processing tactics. This is where we are focused and where we intend to succeed where almost no EPM or BI providers have gone before. I want to go from 'disk is cheap' to 'cubes are cheap' to 'environments are cheap' to 'migration is cheap'. And so we're building a whole new language of BI and EPM specific concepts in infrastructure.
This goes beyond a simple cloud 'play'. It's about rethinking the platform for BI and EPM given the advances that cloud scale eCommerce has demonstrated. There is no easy way to scale from the demands of 500 users, which is typical of a large Enterprise BI environment, to the demands of 50,000 users which is typical of a small eCommerce site. So quite frankly, enterprise IT has been leapfrogged. Our mission is to bring the methodology and technology of DevOps to the structured data space. Practically speaking, that means it should be no big deal to install a certified Hyperion Planning environment for 400 users in an afternoon. That's the kind of agility we are working to make practical, not only in pure cloud environments but in secured hybrid environments.
What I've been discovering by using the new tools I've gotten my hands on, is that this kind of operation is not just pie in the sky thinking, and I've got the scripts to prove it. Imagine the following scenario. You have been working with an ASO database for several years now, and you've been incrementally adding features that your users want. Query times have been slowing down, not too significantly but noticeably. As time has gone by, the crush time, end of the month close, has become unreasonable. But you have a very good idea of how to solve the problem - in fact you have a better performing cube in development right now. How much time and effort will it take you to test that new design in production, and what if it's not as good as you think it is? One of the aims of elasticBI and elasticPM are to allow you to experiment with that this afternoon. As quickly as you can dump the contents of your production cube and load that data into the new cube, you can begin testing in prod in parallel.
As you can tell, I'm really enjoying my time at Full360, and guess what. We're going to do some expansion this year. So if this sounds as fascinating to you as it does to me, drop us a line. We might just have a spot for you on the coolest team in the space.