Friday, April 1, 2016

Intelligent Data Management Framework (IDMF)

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Hi there, 
There has been a lot of talk about the Intelligent Data Management Framework (IDMF) in AX 2012, and for a good reason!  This is because the Intelligent Data Management Framework allows the system administrators optimize the performance of Microsoft Dynamics AX installations, which is something that we all should be concerned about when implementing AX 2012.

Why? Well, first of all, the system requirements for AX 2012 are going to be much more than the ones for AX 2009.

This has been proved by a recent installation in Bank of America where they thought the hardware required was much more of what is needed for AX 2009. For this reason, the IDMF assesses the health of the Microsoft Dynamics AX application, analyzes current usage patterns, and helps reduce database size.  In addition, the IDMF lets you analyze the database and maintain an optimal database size by providing the purge and archive functions.

A Microsoft articles says “the purge function removes or deletes data from a set of related entities, or tables, from the production database. The archive function moves data from all related tables from the production database to a standby database called the archive database. Users can use the archive database for reporting purposes but cannot update it”

Further, both the purge and archive operations depend on a hierarchical relationship tree of related tables based on the Microsoft Dynamics AX metadata, and to create a hierarchical relationship, you select a parent table and discover all related tables based on the AX metadata.  
Moreover, the parent table in the relationship is put at the root level of the tree and the discovery process creates a nested relationship tree from a parent entity to a child entity. This is done until there are no relationships left at the lowest level.

Also, a purge object is used to remove selected records from all tables in the relationship tree from the AX database. Similarly, an archive object is used to move selected records from all tables in the relationship tree from the AX database to the archive database.

After creating a purge object or an archive object, you can apply business rules and selection criteria to entities and transactions to determine which records are deleted or moved from the production database.

System architecture

The IDMF was created using the Microsoft .NET development environment and provides a single document interface (SDI). In addition, the IDMF uses a database, called the management database, for the storage and retrieval of data, and communicates with Application Object Server (AOS) through COM Business Connector or .NET Business Connector.

Now, just be aware that during installation, the IDMF installs a Windows service called the Intelligent Data Management Framework for Microsoft Dynamics AX service. This service is used to run scheduled jobs and is referred to as the scheduler service for the Data Management Framework.

Bring more data

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Dear graduates, school data management is the best career you've never heard of.

Everyone has been taught, so everyone knows that teaching is a viable career choice. Schemes like Teach First and school-led initial teacher training programmes mean that there are more ways than ever to train. So if you want to be a teacher, and you are capable, there's a good chance you'll get to be one.

However, speak to any head and they'll tell you that they need more than great teachers. All kinds of non-teaching roles also contribute to a school's success. And in the world that I work in, the key person is the data manager. It's a sometimes unheralded, but always pivotal, position.

You can't be an outstanding school without being on top of your data. But where do you go to find a great data manager? It's a question that's regularly asked in the country's secondary schools, since nearly all of them employ at least one data person. And the reason they need to ask it is because it's devilishly hard to find them.

There are lots of reasons for this supply/demand imbalance:
  1. Graduates don't know the job exists. You won't find any evidence of the role at careers fairs. So graduates don't consider it as a viable pathway. Most people fall into it by accident - they stumble across an ad, or they hear about the role from a savvy school-based acquaintance who spots their relevant skills (numeracy, IT, spreadsheet wizardry etc) and converts them to the cause.
  2. Schools are not always well placed to train data managers. Most schools only have one data manager, so there's rarely a more experienced colleague around to pass on their accumulated wisdom. Data managers may be line managed by either a school senior leader (the assessment co-ordinator, for example), the Head, the Finance & Resources Director or the IT manager. This means that there's a high chance that their boss doesn't know how to do the job in detail. That's entirely understandable given the other things these people do - but it does make training tricky.
  3. There is no relevant accreditation or induction of any sort. I am not aware of any formal data manager qualification. That's a problem that you don't find in other professions where practitioners may have a unique skillset within their organisation. For example, before they go "in-house", lawyers and accountants go through a slick training process via a large employer or a university to turn their raw talent into proper expertise.
  4. Prospective data managers can be put off by the misguided perception that there is a lack of career progression. Many data managers I've met have expressed a concern about how to move onwards and upwards in the data manager world. After all, if you're the only person with your skillset in the school, you can't really aspire to a more senior position within that school. But I think there are loads of great things that data management can lead to... and so below I'll give some options.
Points 1-3 are structural problems with education that I've discussed before, and my team spends quite a bit of time thinking about how ARK can help to solve them. For example, we're building a team of great central data people who support our schools, and in some cases actually do the job of a data manager on behalf of our schools. In the latter case, the school buys into a service from our skilled team, rather than relying on a single individual based at the school to do the job. Our hypothesis is that this is cheaper (because the school only pays for the number of days they need) and better (because the service is provided by a well-trained team with a range of specialisms). But it's early days, and there's loads we need to do to improve things further.

Point 4 stems from a lack of understanding of the richness of the broader education data sector, and also of the transferability of the underlying skills. Here are just some of the things you could do with a data management background:
    • Move to a different education data role. There are way more relevant roles than you might imagine. This very useful blog lists 14 UK SIS providers - and they all need school data skills. Most local authorities have data teams, usually containing people with a school data manager background. Data is huge in higher ed. Edtech more generally values people who understand school data. You could create your own edtech startup. I have a pretty cool job - and I'd probably be better at it if I'd been a data manager at one point. I could go on.
    • Move to a different data / analytics role in a different sector. Data is a huge growth area. There aren't enough people with good data skills. So if you want to move to another sector, with a bit of CV finessing you'll be very well placed. For example, our data people are starting to useTableau - an awesome data visualisation tool. Try googling jobs for people with experience of working with Tableau. There are more and more of them every week, and they pay well. So school data is a great entry-level route into data more generally.
    • Move to a different school. Increasingly, you can progress just by moving to a different school or academy group. I've met data managers who cover two or more schools within a Multi Academy Trust. Academy groups also now have people covering lots of schools called things like "Director of Data". Bigger schools can have 2+ data people. And you could use the skills anywhere in the country. Career progression doesn't have to mean more money - it could involve the opportunity to use your skills in a different part of the country where you'd be happier.
So if you're smart, and struggling to find your calling, and you like numbers / spreadsheets / databases / technology, you should look seriously at a career as a data manager. And if this tempts you as a career option, but you're not sure what to do next, do get in touch for a chat (twitter is a good way of contacting me). One of our team would be glad to meet up with you to discuss the sector in more detail...

Another "What is BIG DATA" blog

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Every other technical blogger must have written something about Big Data.  Big data is not a new concept.  In the Gartner’s Hype cycle this year, big data has already gone past its peak point and is in the downward trend.  So why another Big data blog and why should you read it.  It is about the Big data that has been existing from the time of earth.

I love simplicity and strongly believe if you have the basics strong, everything else will be simple when you put it in perspective.  This blog is inspired by 9 year old son.

Call it father time, I have trying to reason out everything with my kids.  I believe in God and as a traditional father I want my kid to do the same.  The conversation with my kid, last week is below

·         Me         :  Do not talk rude to your mother or brother

·         Son        :  why?

·         Me         :  it is  bad to say rude things to others.  God is always watching what you do

·         Son        :  Why is he always watching me?  Does he not have any other work?

·         Me         :  God watches everyone and everything son.  That is why he is God.  He looks at all good or bad everyone does and rewards / punishes them accordingly

·         Son        :  He has only 2 eyes, how can he watch everyone at the same time, all the things that everyone is doing.  How does he remember so many things?

Damn.  BIG DATA!!!!.  The almighty has been using BIG DATA from the day of the earth and it took us geniuses so long to find out.  Heck, I had watched Bruce Almighty and remember the scene where Jim Carey is dealing with all those prayer requests, it did not strike me, it was indeed Big Data.  The kids are awesome.  They teach you so many things.

In theory / practice, depending on which side of the equation you are, God looks at all the activities, the good, the bad & Ugly and instantaneously processes them.  Real time data – VELOCITY

He also looks at different types of activities – what you say, what you do, how you treat different set of people … VARIETY

Of course, he stores them for dealing with you during and after your time - VOLUME

Finally when your time is done, he validates your history to decide where you end up (Heaven / Hell) – VALUE

In addition to this, he is constantly analyzing the data to provide with alerts, reward and teach you a lesson depending on the data you generate for him – DATA ANALYTICS (Descriptive and Prescriptive)

That is it friends, this is BIG DATA and its 4 V’s