EMC provides a glimpse into the future of structured data storage with its acquisition of X-Hive Corporation, an industry leader in the XML-based data management arena.As organizations become more reliant on XML for information storage and data transfer, these same organizations will look to their incumbent enterprise content management vendors for help. EMC looks to meet these needs by ensuring that the XML data management portion of their industry leading Documentum product stays on the leading edge technology-wise.
Furthermore, the inclusion of X-Hive's XML-based data management capabilities within the Documentum infrastructure can only help to improve the web content management functionality of Documentum - an area where it has traditionally struggled. EMC wants to meet all the content management needs of their customers, not just their document management needs. The acquisition of X-Hive can help to bring the ability of Documentum to publish and manage web content on par with the rest of the industry.
As captivating as the news of this acquisition is to the enterprise content management industry as a whole, the comments made by a few ECM insiders about this union are even more interesting.
Specifically, Eric Kuhnen - Director of Product Management for Astoria Software, had the following insights to share:
* "EMC Documentum’s recent acquisition of X-Hive might just be the most important event of 2007
* "EMC’s action signals a fundamental unsuitability of any solution architecture based on relational database technology to the expanding need for enterprise-wide XML content management
* "Object-oriented design is the most appropriate architectural basis for managing XML content in its native form
* "As content creators steadily increase the number of XML objects under management, relational database systems suffer from accelerating performance degradation. Object-oriented systems do not
* While relational database technology cannot support management of highly granular XML content, object-oriented systems can."
While one can certainly appreciate the excitement exuded by the above commentary, it is also important to take a step back and keep a few important points in mind:
* If the technology created by X-Hive does make operations on complex and highly granular XML data faster and more reliable, then there is no denying the vision of EMC in adding this capability to their software architecture. However, it could be years before this functionality makes into the Documentum core.
* To borrow from the great Mark Twain, the claims of the death of the relational database management system have been greatly exaggerated. In other words, there is a reason why Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and IBM DB2 still dominate the enterprise database market - and it is not because they have fallen behind technology wise.
Personally, I would love to have a representative of one of the aforementioned database vendors weigh in on this issue in the comments below.
Overall, anything that improves the technological capabilities of the leading enterprise content management system and serves to raise the bar across the industry is a positive for customers and end-users everywhere.
For more information about X-Hive, please visit their web site.