Score one for the Phoenix airport for having free wireless… why can’t more airports do this?
I am on my way home from TechEd 2009. Overall it was a good conference. As always, it seems that the contacts I made and conversations I had were as valuable (if not more so) than the presentations I attended. As mentioned earlier, I was able to sit in on a “strategy session” for the semantic layer, which was quite interesting. There are a number of changes coming that are apparently already in the pipeline, but we didn’t stop there. We talked about all sorts of possibilities. Some folks might not remember that the semantic layer concept was one of the very first patents that Business Objects was awarded. It’s nice to see (at least in my opinion) that it’s finally getting some attention. We have been coasting along for years. As I have said more than once, it means that they did a really good job with the universe concept when they revised it for version 4.0 over 10 years ago, since we’re using essentially the same technology today. If even half of the ideas we talked about come to production in the next two years we’ll have some really nice updates. Finally.
Last night I attended a presentation about TREX. When I got there, it seemed that the presentation wasn’t exactly what I thought it was. (That’s my own fault, instead of a conference backpack this year SAP gave everyone a thumb drive with all of the presentations included on it. I should have reviewed it first.) Despite that, it turned out to be quite interesting. For those that haven’t heard about it yet, TREX seems to be the name for the in memory technology used by the accelerated version of Explorer. I was expecting to hear more specifics about that, but instead I found out that you can use the same TREX technology to power an enterprise search. For example, one of the items they showed in the presentation was how they pointed the search indexing process at their corporate shared drive. When the index process was complete, they had their own internal search engine that was lightning quick due to the in-memory storage of the search index. Very cool stuff.
I am wondering if I can use that to index my corporate Business Objects documents and such as well.
After I get home, I get a brief rest and then dive into the GBN conference which starts officially on Sunday with a welcome reception. At some point I might even have to get some work done.
Interesting footnote in a presentation on the accelerated version of Explorer… the presenter said something along the lines of, “… and of course eventually we want to accelerate everything.”
All I can say is “wow, I can hardly wait” for some of the features discussed in a private strategy session for the semantic layer. I need to find out how much I can say (and when) before I say much more on a public blog though.
Yesterday I went to a “best practices” session for universe design on SAP. I would have to say it wasn’t really a best practices session. I expected some tips and rules on when to use what technique, but instead got an overview of universe technology and a workshop where we created and updated universes on BEx queries and relational databases. We used Island Resorts for the relational exercise. At the very least I did learn some about building universes on BEx, which isn’t very difficult. They have improved that process in 3.1 as you can use the “View – Refresh Structure” option to review changes that may have been made in the query (or a BW cube) since the universe was built.
I think I need to learn more about how cubes or queries are built in SAP to completely appreciate what’s going on.
As an SAP Mentor I did get a really fun rugby shirt. It has my name on the back which has proved to be beneficial as several folks have recognized me and come up and talked to me. One gentleman was in from Australia; I had met him at the Mastering Business Objects conference earlier this year.
Last night I attended “Insight Night” which was the first edition of this event. The plan is for this event to evolve into a community event, where folks that show up are presented with a problem and given tools (and some time) to solve it, then they will share their solutions or at least the proposed solutions to the audience. Last night we watched a demo of how SAP products (including Explorer and Xcelsius) were used at a yacht race in San Francisco. I should be able to dig up a link and post it; it was fun to see how the different technologies were used by the various race captains.
The crowd here is certainly smaller than last year. I asked someone yesterday, and they suggested that attendance was bout 3,500. I believe last year it was over 6,000 so the number of attendees is really off this year. On the other hand, the folks that did come certainly seem to be appreciating the content.
Yesterday was the first day of Tech Ed 2009. I didn’t attend a lot of specific sessions but had some good conversations with various folks. The main presentation that I did attend was the “roadmap” for the BI products. Nothing too surprising… Crystal and Web Intelligence and Xcelsius featured prominently and Deski was not mentioned even as a legacy product. It’s like they didn’t want to acknowledge that it exists today. There was talk about a “common semantic layer” which is going to involve something new in the universe arena, but they were fairly quiet about specific details.
I was looking forward to the Demo Jam again this year but that got trumped by a dinner invitation. I will make up for it by attending the “Insight Night” tonight instead, which is more specific to the BI products.
Not much more to say right now, more to come later.
The last few weeks have been busy. Oh, I know it doesn’t look like that with the lack of new posts coming out on my blog. But trust me, things have become quite hectic. I am getting ready to head off to SAP TechEd 2009 in Phoenix next week. I get to follow that up by attending the GBN Annual Conference for 2009 right here in Dallas. I was able to almost (but didn’t quite yet) make my goal of documenting all of the slides from my GBN presentation last year as blog posts. I have one more post to finish that will complete the extended version of the Designer presentation from 2008. (Maybe I will get the post done one evening at TechEd.)
I hope to put out some daily blog posts from both conferences. My focus this year for TechEd is going to be to try to learn as much as I can about BW and BEx and how they integrate with Business Objects tools. I haven’t done much in that area yet, and I am starting to see more questions on BOB related to these concepts and I would like to know what’s going on.
Another task that has occupied time over the past few weeks was moving to a new laptop. My older laptop had done a great job over the years of supporting my demonstrations, but it was getting “tired” and not able to keep up with the larger virtual machines required to run the latest software. My new laptop should do a real nice job running VMware: I am running the 64bit version of Vista with 8GB of RAM (half of which I can dedicate to the virtual machine). It has a dual-core CPU (3GHz clock speed and 6MB of cache and 1066MHz front-side bus) as well as a 7200 RPM hard drive and… and well, you probably don’t care about the rest of the hardware specifications. Suffice it to say, it runs XI 3 in a virtual image along with Oracle and all of my other goodies quite nicely.
I have several draft posts queued up to finish, including the already mentioned completion of the Time Sliced Measures implementation, part II of the rebate post that a couple of folks have mentioned, and I have a head start on some posts related to my 2009 GBN presentation ready to come out. All of this means there should be more than just filler “news” posts in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
A post in which I do some subtle ego-bragging while trying to appear to promote an upcoming conference…
I got to go to TechEd last year and really had a good time and learned something along the way as well. I am trying to figure out if I am going to be able to go this year. In order to help justify the cost I went to the web site this morning, and guess who was staring back out at me from the page?
Last year they had a professional photographer taking pictures of all of the mentors, and they told us that they wanted to do that in order to be able to use them for the web site rather than paying stock photography fees. It was a fun idea and obviously I participated. I just didn’t expect to see my face on the web site.
I’m not the only one that was part of the program, so if you go to the TechEd 2009 web site you might very well see Brian, Craig, Gregor, Ingo, Marilyn, or any of a number of my fellow mentors with their smiling faces. As I look at some of the others I seem pretty grim. I will try to smile more this year.