Documentum and VMWare support

For those of you who are not familiar with VMWare, it allows you to create a “machine within a machine”. Imagine running a Linux box as an application within Windows, where the Linux machine had its own IP address, virtual hard drive, and memory. Moving this virtual machine to another physical machine would only involve shutting it down, copying a file over, and then restarting the virtual machine on another server. This ability to abstract the BIOS and hardware layer of a computer has almost limitless possibilities.

But back to the issue at hand…DCTM currently supports VMWare deployments but if DCTM were to endorse and even favor VMWare deployments they could change the entire IT landscape. Imagine if DCTM were to pre-bundle their systems paired with a standard OS and database. For example, instead of downloading the content server setup program, a customer would download a virtual machine that was optimally tuned for their environment. Everything from the OS parameters, to the databases indexes, to the Content Server would be pre-configured at DCTM headquarters, for instant deployment at the customer site.

Documentum would be able to eliminate dependencies on any specific hardware, which would bring support and development costs for its cross-platform application down significantly. Customers would benefit from the increased stability of a well-tested platform. High availability, backup, maintenance, could all be part of the download package.

The single platform yields standardization for binaries, libraries, folder structures, and drivers which would then open up huge markets for DCTM and partners offering bolt-on services. DCTM could offer maintenance plans which would allow these machines to upgrade themselves with the latest libraries or patches. The systems would be so uniform that DCTM could even tout a “maintenance-free” mode where you could have the machine administered remotely by DCTM professional services.

I realize that it takes a change in mindset to allow an ERP to be self-contained versus leveraging the OS and database already established within an organization. But when you look at macro trends such as software-as-a-service, externally hosted applications, and the influence of VMWare upon IT deployment – it’s just a matter of time.

-Fabian Lee

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6 responses to “Documentum and VMWare support

  1. Just try to imagine this kind of install running a truly enterprise docbase with a few terabytes of documents… The right place for VMWare is sales/presentation/demos and learning environments (IMO)

  2. In theory, you can configure the repository to use external storage system as well as database that is not part of the VM image. I think what OP was suggesting is a simpler installation/deployment setup than what is currently offered.

  3. wow. so where would that leave guys like you and me? If a company could buy a bolt-on content management environment and out-source any development . . . I guess McDonal’d always needs people 🙂 or should it be 😦

  4. I find one of your comments interesting. You state that Documentum already supports VMWare environments. Please check out support note 43361. The last line of it says –

    “5. If Index Server is running on VMware, this is not supported.:

    We use VMWare for development all the time, but we had trouble getting the FAST fulltext indexing working correctly. After talking to support a few months ago about it we were told that it wasn’t supported (at least for indexing) and referred to thsi note. Did you hear something differently or was this address in a service pack?

  5. Hi Jeff, you are right about DCTM not offering enterprise support for FAST deployed on a VMWare server. But I know one of our guys in Boulder has made it work by specifying a fully qualified name to the FAST engine box, so I don’t really think its as much a technical issue as one of DCTM/FAST negotiating support contracts and feeling more comfortable with their partnership.

  6. We have our repository running in VMware with well over 2TB of data. We have tiered storage with a NetApp FAS3000 and Centera for archiving. The benefit for us is the ability to scale out/add content servers as our load increases. It also allows us to have a uniform build that can we can provision quickly for new projects. We have had problems with fast that lead us to a hardware solution. It’s definately not a one size fits all solution.

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