Wednesday, October 01, 2008

CenterStage: A Technical Overview

Cross posting from my blog post on the EMC Knowledge Worker blog.

With CenterStage, EMC delivers an interactive web experience, together with the associated computational resources and web services, for accessing and managing communities and team workspaces within the framework of an enterprise information infrastructure. Designed as a rich internet application, CenterStage leverages AJAX (asynchronous JavaScript and XML) and web services to provide a dynamic user experience. Let's take a look at CenterStage high level architecture:

For version 1.0 release of CenterStage, two CenterStage clients will be made available in Q1 2009: CenterStage Essentials and CenterStage Pro. CenterStage Essentials provides basic content services; CenterStage Pro builds upon CenterStage Essentials to provide rich Web 2.0 and Social Networking capabilities. CenterStage Pro leverages CenterStage Essentials sub-systems and builds upon them.

Server Infrastructure
CenterStage leverages the robust customization infrastructure of the EMC Documentum Platform components as well as core services to provide both data model and services.
The following server components are provided with CenterStage:
  • Content server - This core server component provides data model management, security services and content management services
  • Full text index - Provides CenterStage with full-text search functionality
  • Thumbnail generator - This component generates thumbnails for common file formats. More advanced rendition capabilities (advanced formats, multi-paging) require customers to upgrade to the CTS framework and its Media Transformation Services (MTS) or Advanced Documents Transformation Services (ADTS)
  • Federated search - Allows users to aggregate searches across multiple sources. CenterStage Pro will provide search adapters for Google, ODBC/JDBC, Open Directory, and Open Search to name a few
  • Classification and Entity Extraction - The classification and entity extraction server components extract metadata from the content being uploaded in CenterStage based on semantic analysis of the content itself. The extracted metadata provides additional dimensions used by users to filter content
In addition to the above server components, the following modules need to be deployed to support CenterStage functionality:
  • Collaboration services: Provide the core collaboration infrastructure and is also used as the underpinning for the collaboration functionality available in Webtop
  • Rich media and transformation services: Support the ability to preview content in context within CenterStage
  • Extended search services: Provide the core set of services for search and clustering capabilities
  • CenterStage Essentials and Pro services: Provide the additional core services and data model for both CenterStage Essentials and Pro
Services Infrastructure
CenterStage application services are built on top of Documentum Foundation Services (DFS) providing CenterStage with a strong service orientation . CenterStage application services provide coarse-grained APIs built to address the needs of the user interface. Elements of the services infrastructure include:
  • The Rich Content Management Platform (RCMP) services, which handles the presentation layer requirement for:
    • Component delivery - the component registry and configuration management for the various UI components (or Widgets) exposed in the CenterStage UI
    • Container manager: the infrastructure for managing the user interface layouts
    • Bundle support: the packaging and deployment model leveraging OSGi at its core
  • The CenterStage Essentials and Pro application services which provide a broad set of APIs to address the needs of the user interface and support its team productivity, information discovery, business process and web 2.0 functionality
User Interface Infrastructure
Built as a true rich internet application, CenterStage leverages browser - based technology to bind to the proper services and render the user interface:
  • A thin UI infrastructure allows CenterStage to render the layout definition provided by the services. Service binding is achieved via either DWR (Direct Web Remoting), REST or SOAP depending on the UI technology leveraged in a particular UI widget. CenterStage leverages the ExtJS toolkit for most its user interface, but widgets can be built using a different UI technology such as Flex.
  • A plugin infrastructure is also provided to enable seamless integration with the desktop when working with files.
Many of the architectural subsystems described above are in place in CenterStage Essentials Beta. Other sub-systems will be introduced with the formal release of CenterStage. Building upon the strength of the EMC Documentum Platform and standard rich internet technologies, CenterStage will provide a strong foundation for social, intelligent content enabled applications.