Thursday, February 01, 2007

Workshop, Day 3

I know, I know, what happened to Day 2? Well, between busy sessions, picking up the kids, and teaching my night class at Brevard Community College, blogging fell to the way side. For my three avid fans, I sincerely apologize, but by now you are used to it :)

So Day 2 of the workshop, in all honesty was a bit of a fire fighting exercise. Since we are working with the very latest code for the platform (and I mean VERY latest), we ran into a couple of problems during the Subscriptions session that prevented us from seeing the results of the subscribed bursting examples that we set up. But the content was good and subscriptions in the stable builds is very very powerful. We have the ability with the platform to relieve the administration and information overload that occurs with the typical scheduled reporting process. Subscriptions also prove to be flexible and easy to use, which makes it a nice tool for consumers of Pentaho reports, analysis, ETL and processes.

The Day 2 afternoon session was all about advanced deployments of the platform, as well as customizing deployments for each user's environment. Brian Hagan walked through the complex details of manually deploying web application through JBoss and Tomcat, focusing on the touch points that are required when you have your own app server installation already in place. Overall a good session that could be helpful to anyone that struggles with J2EE deployments today.

Day 3 started out with Bill Seyler, a stellar Pentaho engineer, presenting the life cycle management features within Pentaho. For anyone who is not familiar with the term and what it means in Pentaho, life cycle management is versioning solution content for the platform. Bill covered the architecture of how Pentaho interacts with version control systems, which seems to be a very clean and simple implementation. The beauty of life cycle management in Pentaho is that due its simple interface, any version control system can be used, as well as using multiple systems for one Pentaho deployment.

Next up was Anthony DeShazor, our engineering wrangler, talking about scalability and clustering. Much of this session covered the general topology and infrastructure issues that prevent almost any application from scaling. The point I took away is we can control what the Pentaho application does, but how you get at your data and how you deliver it out to consumers can bottleneck any good app. It was great to participate in tis discussion, since many in the room are experienced in the field and had much to contribute. Anthony then took us through the JBoss Clustering presentation that James Dixon presented at JBossWorld late last year. It was a simple architectural discussion covering JBoss Clustering, ending with some pretty impressive benchmarks that proved Pentaho's ability to scale. The most interesting news that came out at the end of this session is that Pentaho has started to build a BI benchmarking bundle, based on the Transaction Processing Performance Counsel processes, and plans to release it to the open source community for benchmark responses. Feel free to email James ( and it will get forwarded) if you are interested in participating in that effort!

Our last session after lunch is Dashboarding and AJAX, a session that all the trainees, including myself are looking forward to. I'll fill you in tonight on how that session goes and how this all wraps up.