Five Advantages of Unified Information Access (UIA)

By Sid Probstein, CIO |  IT Management, enterprise search

Another reason organizations get into UIA is because of the business models typically favored by enterprise software companies, including especially repository vendors. Whether tied to CPUs, servers, virtual machines, document/data or query volume, the vast majority of licensing schemes require you to spend more and more money as you use more and more information.

With the exploding volume of information, is this really a viable situation?

Simply put...no! Tying the cost of information solutions to the amount of data or content they incorporate, or supply, is counter-productive. It forces managers to choose between some hard, quantifiable costs -- the money required for new hardware, for example -- and a more complex benefit such as productivity or better decision making. For some businesses, saving money will be the right choice but for most, the competitive advantages described earlier on are too important to give up on. Companies that leave data and content out of important applications because of cost are simply pushing that cost elsewhere -- probably their increasingly lean workforces. As companies become more and more distributed, this effect will become a negative cycle: bad decisions lead to poor results, which cuts spending for making better decisions.

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One solution to this challenge is to look at Free & Open Source Software (FOSS). Many companies have done this...and found an entirely new set of implementation, expertise and complexity issues. For some companies it is a good option that avoids the licensing cost question altogether. For the rest there are leading UIA platforms, the majority of which seem to have moved away from variable pricing models -- perhaps realizing that growth of information, as well as increasing use of virtualization, is just part of the macro-picture everyone must adapt to.

4. Scalability

If variable licensing is a big issue for the future of information access, scalability is a huge one. The Economist among others has shown that in the coming year, enterprises will have to manage an ever-increasing "data deluge." In the same way that paying per CPU or document is untenable, spending even a small amount of effort to make a system scale will be ruinous. This does not bode well for the traditional relational database, now at least 40 years old (according to Wikipedia). RDBs are notoriously difficult to scale up, especially for query volume and latency. Eventually you may reach the limit of what can be supported on your hardware/software combination and have...no further way to progress without rethinking things.

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