Most relevant topics

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Current usage and future of XML Database Management Systems

Deepesh Joseph
April, 2009


The purpose of this document is to present a management report that analyzes the current usage of XML based Database Management System, its impacts and future trends of usage.

Present Landscape

Database Management Systems (DBMS) has been constantly evolving ever since first DBMS was installed and used based on Codd’s relational concepts. We saw steady pace of innovations in DBMS technology and usage starting from Hierarchical databases to Object/Relational databases and from centralized to decentralized database systems. DBMS evolution has also been supported by innovative ways of collecting, storing, processing and retrieving data such as from basic genealogy to complex forensic data (Hoffer J.A). These innovations shows how closely linked is DBMS to the advancements in general technology landscape, overall systems architecture and type and nature of Information Management (IM). For example, Object Oriented systems development has supported the development of Object Oriented DBMS. Similarly, distributed systems architecture has lead to distributed DBMS setup. Also, advanced needs of managing complex information has lead to the development of various sophisticated spatial/clinical/genetic databases.

The current landscape of DBMS is a collection of above mentioned trends that has continued to evolve in the past 30 years. Different data management domains calls for specific technology based DBMS viz. Relational versus Object Oriented. Again within each specialized DBMS technology domain, their exists number of vendor products that compete to provide efficient database management. For example, Oracle and DB2 compete each other in Relational database domain. Competition is also prevalent in the way the DBMS product license is offered such as with MySQL, PostgreSQL (IdeaByte) and recently with Sybase (Product: Sybase ASE 15 Express) when it announced to offer it free on Linux (

General Overview

XML (Extensible Markup Language, developed by W3C) based DBMS is one such innovative usage of DBMS prompted by pervasive usage of web based database applications and its related need of managing frequent storage and retrieval of not-very structured data in document format (i.e. as web pages). This need goes in line with what was described in the above section as related to evolving and specific IM needs. XML, in its basic sense of existence, is used to create, store and transport either data-centric (such as a SOAP request and response) or document-centric data (such as XHTML documents). In either case, XML provides an ordered way to arrange data in cascaded data tags which could be easily read and processed using XML query language (eg: XQuery). Even though XML was originally designed to create XHTML (Extensible HTML) documents, technologists and database vendors realized the importance of XML in storing and retrieving semi-structured data, efficiently (Obasanjo, D).

Strictly speaking, XML is not a database, but an efficient medium to represent and transport data across multiple systems. Also XML is not a DBMS in strict sense, but could provide some basic features of DBMS via XML documents, XML query languages, programming interfaces etc (Bourret, R.), i.e use XML documents to store data (eg: DTDs) which is queried and accessed by XML query language (eg: XQuery). This is the most basic model of XML DBMS and forms the basis of all modern Native XML DBMS available such as Sedna. Sedna is a DBMS that supports some traditional DBMS features such as update and query languages, query optimization, fine-grain concurrency control, various indexing techniques, recovery and security. Sedna also supports W3C based XQuery language which could be used to conduct complex data management operations such as XML data querying, XML data transformations and even business logic computation ( Another type of XML DBMS is the normal DBMS such as DB2 or Oracle that provides support for XML based data storage and retrieval through special storage and data management features. For examples, latest releases of Oracle provides native XML data type which could be used to store XML data. DB2 provides support for XQuery based data management where data could be exported/imported into the database in XML format.

As we saw from above analysis, XML DBMS’s core usage is based on the need to handle vast amount of document centric or XHTML centric data. This is the basic feature that distinguishes XML DBMS from current DBMS technology. If we have a database application that is web based and it requires heavy processing of documents/objects (storage/access/search of web pages, music/video files, directory/phone book type of data etc) and that requirements of structured document/data storage is not very relevant, then we could potentially reap benefits by using a native XML DBMS. Where as, if we plan to implement a heavy transaction oriented web application which involves atomic transactions, such as bank transactions, we should be using a traditional DBMS such as DB2 or Oracle (provided these support native XML transactions).

Impact and Future Directions

Degree of disruption:

XML DBMS has not bought any level disruption to the current DBMS market or its usage. It has been developed and used as an add on tool to support a specific IM need, mainly in web based database applications. The name ‘XML DBMS’ sounds like a misnomer since XML or native XML DBMS does not provide all features of a full blown DBMS. Since XML and its query language confirms to W3C standards, it is could be easily integrated with all popular relational/ object oriented DBMS as add-on feature.


Costs associated with implementing XML DBMS depends on the type of solution that is sought for. If we plan to use native XML DBMS, most of it is free/open source, which brings down total cost of ownership to zero. Most of the present day DBMS such as Oracle, DB2 etc comes with native XML support, so that no extra cost is incurred if we are already using one of these DBMS.


XMLS DBMS provides maximum benefit when used for driving heavy document-centric web applications as we saw in ‘General Overview’ section. XML DBMS provides most cost effective way to store and process document data since very little effort is required to present user data since the underlying data format for the transport and presentation layers are in the same, i.e XML or a derivative such as XHTML.

IT infrastructure changes:

Since XML DBMS is used to support the strategy of building cost effective XML data management, most of the supporting system architecture would be already in place - such as XML documents (that follows a specific XML schema) , XML parser/extractor and Query tool (which is supported by almost all of the web scripting languages and native XML DBMSs) and native XML support by the underlying relational DBMS. For example, if we plan to implement XML DBMS for a web based application which is LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) based, all supporting technology (DTD/XML schema support, XQuery/XPath based query language support, SAX/DOM based programming interface support, native XML support within MySQL etc ) is inherent to the underlying technology infrastructure. The most critical factor that drives selection of XML DBMS is thus the specific need to support XML centric application architecture.

Skills required:

The basic skill required to implement and manage XML DBMS is knowledge of XML, XML schema, XML query language, XML parsers/extractors, XML programming interfaces, usage of native XML functions (if using relational based DBMS) and knowledge of native XML DBMS (if native XML DBMS such as Sedna drives the database application).

Future directions in usage of XML DBMS:

XML technology in general is being widely accepted as a standard medium of data transport between disparate systems. The standards are W3C complaint and XML query tools and APIs are constantly improved to be interoperable with wide range of relational, object-oriented and non-relational databases,. This scenario supports the wide acceptance of XML based databases for powering systems which are less web centric in nature. To show the immense possibility of effectively utilizing the power of XML DBMS, provided is a sample system as shown below ( The system leverages XML DBMS technology to build and manage a Pattern Base Management System (PBMS) which enables user to store and retrieve patterns, just like data.

Figure 1. XML DBMS based PBMS (Image courtesy -

The idea of using XML based DBMS originated with the concept that patterns are “compact and rich semantic representations of data”, which could be effectively represented in XML schema. The figure shows how data is extracted from data sources via XML and further fed into underlying relational based (or a native XML DBMS) through appropriate XML query tool (in this case, it is a Pattern Definition/Query/Manipulation Language or PD/Q/ML).


XML - Extensible Markup Language, developed by World wide web consortium (W3C) to deal with shortcoming of HTML.
IM - Information Management
SOAP - Simple Object Access Protocol used as a medium to communicate between two systems, eg: an application and a web service.
Native XML DBMS - Pure XML based DBMS without underlying relational or any other traditional DBMS support
XQuery - An XML query tool
XHTML - Extensible HTML
SAX - Simplae API for XML
DOM - Document Object Model
DTD - Document Type Definition


1. Hoffer J.A (March 20, 2006). Modern Database Management. Prentice Hall 8th edition.

2. (2009). Database Management System trends - Retrieved April 18, 2009 from

3. IdeaByte. (February 13, 2003). IT Trends 2003: Database Management Systems - Retrieved April 18, 2009 from

4. (January, 2009). Database Technology Trends Behind The Scenes of Database Evolution -Sybase ASE 15 for Linux - FREE?- Retrieved April 19, 2009 from

5. Feuerlicht G. (n.d.). Recent Trends in Database Technology. Retrieved April 19, 2009 from

6. Bourret R. (September, 2005). XML and Databases. Retrieved April 19, 2009 from

7. Obasanjo, D. (n.d.). An Exploration of XML in DBMS. Retrieved April 19, 2009 from

8. (2009). About Sedna (XML DBMS). Retrieved April 20, 2009 from

9. (n.d.). XML-based Pattern Base Management system. Retrieved April 19, 2009 from

10. Jiang H. (n.d.). XParent: An Efficient RDBMS-Based XML Database System. Retrieved April 19, 2009 from

11. Zhou A. (n.d.). VXMLR: A Visual XML-Relational Database System. Retrieved April 20, 2009 from

(c) Deepesh Joseph, 2001
Related websites --

Thursday, April 30, 2009

High Tech Worker Immigration Issues

Deepesh Joseph
Kristen Schmidt
Raja Sekhar Tunuguntla

August 9, 2007

High-Tech Worker Immigration Issues


The United States has a long history of immigration, right from the time when the land was occupied by wanderers from Southeast Asia to the Vikings and later to the Europeans. Due to the peculiar nature of American history, even after independence, the U.S. has been following very favorable policies towards legal immigration. The first immigration law signed was the Naturalization Act of 1790, later replaced by United States Naturalization Act of 1795, which stated that “any alien, being a free white person, may be admitted to become a citizen of the United States” (, 2007). Various improvements were made to the original immigration polices, down the road, related to immigration from close borders (The U.S. Immigration Act of 1907); establishment and enforcement of Green Cards (Internal Security Act of 1950); modern day U.S. immigration system that sets quotas based on country, family relation, and special skills (Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952); and elimination of discrimination based on race, place of birth, sex, and religion (Immigration Act of 1968) (, 2007). The Immigration Act of 1990, one of the major immigration legislation, increased the number of legal immigrants who are allowed into the U.S. each year from 500,000 to 700,000. It also authorized 40,000 permanent job visas and 65,000 temporary job or H-1B visas.

Favorable immigration legislation and a flourishing U.S. economy attract a number of immigrants to the U.S. every year for work and permanent residency. Studies show that “growth in the native population has been in decline since the 1970s, so immigrant workers have filled in, providing half of the growth in the U.S. labor force since 1990” (Anderson, 2006). Parallel with the increase in number of immigrants, the technological advancements in the field of Information Technology (IT) has given rise to an ever increasing need for workers who can create, apply, and use IT in industries such as manufacturing, health care, education, and government (Mitchel, n.d.). A recent survey of mid and large-size U.S. companies conducted by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) concluded that there are about 190,000 unfilled IT jobs in the US today due to a shortage of qualified high-tech workers. This is because the number of students graduating with four-year bachelor's degrees in Computer Science or Information Technology is significantly less than the annual requirement of high-tech jobs. Research indicates that the foreign born make the U.S. economy more diverse, productive, and innovative. This characterization is especially true in professional fields like science and engineering, where immigrants currently hold seven percent of Bachelor’s degrees, 29 percent of Master’s degrees, and 39 percent of Ph.D. degrees (IEEE-USA, June 15, 2007).

The problem we currently face is that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a huge backlog in provision of H-1B visas and Green Cards (NAFSA, May 24, 2007). This poses various restrictions for highly-skilled immigrants to come and work in the U.S. Various immigration reforms are being proposed with targets for improving the situation so as to reduce the H-1B backlog and provide better options for the immigrating high-tech workforce. S. 1639, a bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes, was introduced on 06/18/2007 by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) to make major reforms to U.S. immigration laws. Regarding issues surrounding immigration of the hi-tech workers, section 419 ('H-1B streamlining and simplification') of the bill proposes to increase the number of H-1B visas available in the U.S. per year, and section 502 ('Increasing American Competitiveness Through a Merit-Based Evaluation System for Immigrants') imposes a point-based immigration system in the U.S. The new bill has raised various concerns regarding actual realization of reduction in H-1B visa and green card backlog, given various ambiguous clauses, a negative impact of a threat to the jobs of college-educated Americans, and efficacy of an untested merit-based immigration system.


This group issue analysis is written considering thoughts of three diverse personalities coming from diverse backgrounds. One of the writers is a graduate student of Information Management who is relatively new to the IT field in terms of tangible experience. This group analysis is also written from the perspective of an employee with a great deal of experience in IT who has experienced the transitions of the field in the past few years. Finally, our group perspective is informed by a graduate student of Library and Information Science, who has a goal to become a public librarian and had cursory knowledge but a sympathetic view of immigrants before working on this project. The topic is considerably sensitive and controversial to some extent. We have written the analysis considering and inculcating most aspects and research based on various corporations, governments, and citizens. High-tech workforce and immigration is a very important matter which has to be handled carefully by the coming governments to make the U.S. a technology leader.

Issue Questions

While analyzing the issues, we will address the following questions:

1. What impact might there be on the U.S. economy by the potential increase in H-1B visas and green cards?
2. How might the institution of a point-based system for U.S. immigration impact the skill level and number of high-tech workers in the U.S.?
3. If S.1639 is not passed, how can the U.S. retain and/or further its technological innovation and meet its high-tech workforce needs, given the threat of outsourcing and relocation of U.S. companies?

What impact might there be on the U.S. economy by the potential increase in H-1B visas and green cards?

Economist Giovanni Peri explains, in a paper for the Washington, D.C.-based Immigration Policy Center, “The United States has the enormous international advantage of being able to attract talent in science, technology, and engineering from all over the world to its most prestigious institutions. The country is certainly better off by having the whole world as a potential supplier of highly talented individuals rather than only the native-born” (Peri, 2006).

Graduate students who come to the U.S. to study science or engineering certainly benefit the U.S. economy and education system. They are critical to America’s technological leadership in the world economy. “Foreign students, skilled immigrants, and doctorates in science and engineering play a major role in driving scientific innovation in the United States,” according to a study by Keith Maskus, an economist at the University of Colorado; Aaditya Mattoo, Lead Economist at the World Bank’s Development Economics Group; and Granaraj Chellaraj, a Consultant to the World Bank. For instance, according to their research, for every 100 international students who receive science or engineering Ph.D.s from U.S. universities, the nation gains 62 future patent applications (Chellaraj, 2005).

A policy toward immigration that increases the number of H-1B visas could carry implications beyond the immediate future. At the 2004 Intel Science Talent Search, the nation’s premier science competition for top high school students, Stuart Anderson, Executive Director, National Foundation for American Policy, conducted interviews to determine the immigration background of the 40 finalists. The results informed that two-thirds of the Intel Science Talent Search finalists were children of immigrants. And even though new H-1B visa holders each year represent only 0.03 percent of the U.S. population, it turns out more of the children (18) had parents who entered the country on H-1B visas than had parents born in the U.S. (16). (Anderson, 2006)

According to Chairman of Microsoft Corporation, Bill Gates, “American competitiveness also requires immigration reforms that reflect the importance of highly skilled foreign-born employees” (Gates, 2007). Gates thinks this issue has reached a crisis point: “Computer science employment is growing by nearly 100,000 jobs annually. But at the same time studies show that there is a dramatic decline in the number of students graduating with computer science degrees.” Demand for specialized technical skills has long exceeded the supply of native-born workers with advanced degrees, and scientists and engineers from other countries fill this gap. Yet the 65,000 temporary H-1B visas provided by the U.S. each year to make up this shortfall is not nearly enough to fill open technical positions. (Gates, 2007)

Permanent residency regulations compound this problem. Temporary employees wait five years or longer for a green card. During that time they can't change jobs. This limits opportunities to contribute to their employer's success and overall economic growth. Reforming the H-1B visa and green card programs is necessary to make it easier to retain highly skilled professionals. These employees are vital to U.S. competitiveness, and we should welcome their contribution to U.S. economic growth. (Gates, 2007)

Technological and scientific innovation is the acknowledged engine of U.S. economic growth, and human talent is the main input in generating this growth (Peri, 2006). During the past 30 years, U.S. innovation has been the catalyst for the digital information revolution. If the U.S. is to remain a global economic leader, we must foster an environment that enables a new generation to dream up innovations, regardless of where they were born.

How might the institution of a point-based system for U.S. immigration impact the skill level and number of hi-tech workers in the U.S.?

The focus of point-based immigration policy is to increase the number of highly-skilled immigrants based on the combination of attributes and skills they bring to the U.S. economy. Section 502 of the bill under consideration states that visas shall first be made available to “qualified immigrants” selected through a “merit-based evaluation system.” Qualification is based on whether an individual earns certain designated total points for the listed merits, and preference is for those with maximum points. Under the new system, a Software Developer who has a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) based Master's degree, works in a STEM occupation, has employer endorsement, and who has solid English-speaking skills is more likely to be qualified than an individual who has less points on these items. This would eventually lead to an increase in the skill and creativity of the U.S.'s high-tech workforce.

Immigration methods will be less dependent on family ties, and the points-based system will give more power for the government to control and “socially engineer” its demography (Weiner E., May 24, 2007). The bill makes 247,000 green cards immediately available under the merit-based system, each year, for the first five years after enactment. This has a potential to increase the number of highly-skilled workers in the coming years. Under the new merit-based system, employees are not bound to the employers by any de-facto indentured servitude. This will give more freedom to workers to the extent of starting their own companies.

The new system will inherently replace the employment-based immigration system the U.S. has followed for decades. The merit-based immigrant system is not employer-driven and could fail to meet market demands from what we currently have: a one-to-one relationship (Schwartz E., June 5, 2007). Under the old system, an employer could recruit a particular person and sponsor them. Under the new system, there is no guarantee the person sponsored will get in. There is concern over the number of skilled immigrants getting improved, as the visa backlog will continue to increase since many predict the cap will be filled within the first day of filing.

A point-based system will remove the requirement of employers to verify that they will first fill in the position with U.S. workers, and this will fail the current labor market tests (Schwartz E. June 5, 2007). The new system will benefit the U.S. high-tech worker community in that it will reduce the ways in which the H-1B workers are exploited by cheap labor. The system will ensure that compensation is commensurate with skills, and this turns out favorable to U.S. programmers and engineers (Matloff, 2002). In general, the bill will lead to more high-skilled immigrants contributing more to scientific and technological innovation, paying more taxes, and utilizing fewer social welfare programs than less-skilled immigrants (Murphy, 2006).

Need for clear implementation methodology

Among the concerns raised against the new point-based system is that it is not tested and it lacks a methodology for implementation (NILC, June 25, 2007). There is no clear definition of hiring requirements, and many universities are concerned over how the limited time frame for hiring in campuses fits into the small pool of visas granted that is crunched by the huge backlogs. The numbers posted regarding the visas and points are not realistic and are not based on any thorough analysis or study (MPI, 2007). Evidently, there is a need to set up a “pass-mark” rather than maximum points to be attained, thus balancing formal and informal skills and education. Government should appoint agencies such as MPI (Migration Policy Institute) to revisit the system and ensure it is tested appropriately.

Balancing immigrants' flow

One major question that the new immigration reform bill raises is whether immigrants should be allowed into the U.S. on the basis of family ties or on basis of skills they can provide to the U.S. economy. The U.S. claims to be a pro-family nation. Efforts should be made to clear the family-visa backlogs so that long waiting U.S. citizens can reunite with their family members (Murphy K., 2006). In order to clear the huge backlog of immigrants belonging to other categories (such as those based on family ties), the legislation needs to be modified to fix the point-based immigration count. Even though a vague projection of how the immigrant backlog will be removed is available, it is not clear whether this is achievable with prior test data. This points to further research to be done on the present condition and breakdown of backlogs. This will lead to more reliable numbers which then can be allocated for the new system. As a point-based system is prone to bureaucracy and paper work, an effort should be made to reduce those aspects.

Creating a flexible point-based system based on economic & employer needs

Legislation should be modified to include a provision to tweak the point-based system according to changing needs of the employers. There should be a provision to pilot test the system for one year or more and then modify it with lessons learned. There is concern that, as the native-born labor force becomes older and educated, the new system will shrink the pool of native workers in industries such as agriculture, construction, and services, which might negatively affect long-term economic stability and growth (Murphy K., 2006). Efforts should be made to link the point-based system to the local labor markets and increased employment needs, thus serving as a complimentary system that supports current employment needs and economic stability. The desired qualifications and skills of immigrants will vary in the coming decades, so the ability to review the points system and revise as needed is crucial (MPI, 2007).

How can the U.S. retain and/or further its technological innovation and meet its high-tech workforce needs, given the threat of outsourcing and relocation of U.S. companies?

Technology is changing rapidly, and the U.S. is among the most influential nations in the world to keep pace with this change. The U.S. is the leading provider for software- and other technology-based products around the world. Studies show there is a tremendous requirement for a high-tech workforce in coming years. Most IT companies including Microsoft are lobbying for an unlimited number of H-1B visas to retain the U.S. as technology leader of the world. If the numbers of U.S. H-1B visas are restricted, companies based in other countries, especially South Asian countries, can innovate and pose a big challenge to the U.S. with their greater access to technology, improved economy, and technology infrastructure.

Companies are under tremendous pressure to perform, show results, and reduce costs and are outsourcing their jobs to countries like India. The Microsoft Hyderabad development center campus is the corporation's biggest facility outside the U.S. and the first one in India. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates addressed senators at Capitol Hill regarding the improvements in the U.S. education system and an “infinite” number of H-1B visas. Gates said, “Open our doors to highly talented scientists and engineers who want to live, work, and pay taxes here. [The] nation will find it infinitely more difficult to maintain its technological leadership if it shuts out the very people who are most able to help us compete” (Gates, 2007).

The proposed bill is a switch from an immigration system based upon family ties to one based on a "merit system" that gives greater weight to educational level, jobs skills, and English proficiency. Some sections of people who oppose the plan claim it's a high-risk, large-scale social experimentation that would have adverse effects on families and disregards a fundamental principle of American immigration policy and of real family values. The U.S. government should adopt the following steps to retain its technological innovation. (Migration Matters, 2007)

Improve U.S. education system to induce students into math and sciences

The current U.S. education system is considered to be one of the strongest and most effective in terms of the wide range of research areas it explores. However, most children adopt fields of interest other than math and science at an early age. This can be overcome by increasing the number of math and science teachers at schools, to convey to children the importance of these fields at early ages. Steps should be taken to increase number of graduates in engineering, science, and math in the coming years. To truly overcome the high-tech workforce deficit, parents and citizens should also encourage young students to take up these career professions.
The U.S. Department of Education estimates that over 60 percent of all jobs in coming years will require technical competency. As students, the IT worker shortage is an opportunity and a challenge. Computer Science graduates await opportunities and challenges. Students should prepare for a Computer Science-oriented career since the technical skills are in demand in the coming years. The lack of a sufficient number of qualified Computer Science graduates remains a sizable problem for prospective employers in both private industry and the public sector. There are still too many unfilled high-tech positions in industry and government, too few students available to attend graduate school, and numerous unfilled Computer Science/Engineering faculty positions in colleges and universities. (Herman D. Hughes, 2006)

Increase university research funding

Government should provide adequate research funding in the engineering field for all universities. Undergraduate students should be provided increased scholarships to encourage them to take up engineering fields. This is a great way to motivate students. Scholarships should be increased on a year-to- year basis, which can lead to increased enrollment among young students in the universities.

Corporate – government - university collaboration

Many large corporations currently collaborate with universities to provide world-class research labs to innovate and provide opportunities for students. Government should take appropriate steps to understand the requirements of the corporate world and universities. Based on the requirements, governments should analyze and provide all facilities to students and universities to innovate. Local governments can prop up students to make them utilize the state of art facilities and provide more funding to increase such collaborations.

Provide opportunities to qualified professionals

As part of retaining technological innovation, the U.S. should provide opportunities and retain talent from other countries. Most of the high-tech workers in the U.S. have good experience to take up high pressure and responsible jobs. If the U.S. restricts their entry, there is danger that many of these companies will change their strategies to meet requirements. They can move most of their innovative technology jobs outside the U.S., which can be a major blow. The current immigration bill's reliance on a merit system has its advantages. It is a useful strategy to retain U.S. technology advancements. The bill can be honored with suggestions from stakeholders, namely corporations, students, universities, citizens, and immigrants.


Supporters of expanding the H-1B visa cap claim the goal of the H-1B program is to help the U.S. economy by allowing companies to hire needed "foreign" workers. Those in opposition believe too many H-1B visas are being used to facilitate the outsourcing of U.S. jobs to other countries. (Ribeiro, 2007) Our stance is that, as immigrants increase specialization in the U.S. economy, they enhance the nation’s productive capacity, and aid innovation in the U.S. The best evidence suggests that immigrants improve their own lot and that of their children by coming to America and exert little adverse impact on natives. (Anderson, 2006) U.S. policymakers would be smart to increase the number of H-1B visas and merit-based permanent visas, contributing to the vitality of technology in the U.S. and lending strength to the U.S. economy.


Anderson, S. (2006). The debate over immigration’s impact on U.S. workers and the economy. Retrieved August 6, 2007 from

Chellaraj, G., Maskus, K.E., and Aaditya Mattoo. (2005). The contribution of skilled immigration and international graduate students to U.S. innovation. March 17, 2005; Stuart Anderson, America’s future is stuck overseas, The New York Times, December 1, 2006. (2007). The Naturalization Act of 1795. Retrieved August 2, 2007 from

Gates, B. (2007). How to keep America competitive: increase the H-1B visa quota. Washington Post, February 25, 2007. Retrieved August 6, 2007 from

Gates, B. (2007, March 7). Gates calls for 'infinite' H-1Bs, better schools. Retrieved August 5, 2007 at

Gates, B. (2007, January 31). Bill Gates' syllabus for tech and education. Retrieved August 5, 2007 at

GovTrack. (2007). S. 1639: A bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes (110th Con.). Retrieved July 30, 2007 from

Hughes, H.D., Ph.D. (2006). Opportunities and Challenges Await Computer Science Graduates. The Black Collegian Magazine. Retrieved August 6, 2007 at

IEEE-USA. (2007, June 15). Ensuring a strong High-Tech workforce through educational and employment based immigration reforms. Retrieved August 3,
2007 from

Iroegbu, O. (2007, May 28). Influence Magazine: High-Tech Worker Worries Cloud Visa Issue. Retrieved July 31, 2007 from
Matloff, N. (2002). Debunking the Myth of a Desperate Software Labor Shortage: Testimony to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration. Department of Computer Science, University of California at Davis. Retrieved August 4, 2007 from
Migration Matters, Progressive Immigration Reforms. (2007, June 20). A look at proposed Merit-Based system in Immigration Reform Compromise (2007, May 19) education. Retrieved August 5, 2007 at
Mitchel, G.R. et al. (n.d.). America’s New Deficit: The Shortage of Information Technology Workers. Retrieved August 1, 2007 from
MPI. (2007, May). Proposed points system and its likely impact on prospective immigrants. Retrieved August 7, 2007 from
Murphy, K. (2006, December). Attracting the best and the brightest: The Promise and Pitfalls of a Skill-Based Immigration Policy. Retrieved August 7, 2007
NAFSA. (2007, May 24). Senate Compromise Comprehensive Immigration Reform and International Education. Retrieved August 7, 2007 from

NILC. (2007, June 25). NILC Opposes Current Senate Bill Because It Would Preclude Real Reform. Retrieved August 6, 2007 from
Papademetriou, D.G. (2007, May). Selecting Economic Stream Immigrants through Points Systems Retrieved August 6, 2007 from
Peri, G. (2006). Immigrants, skills, and wages: measuring the economic gains from immigration. Immigration Policy Center, March 2006, p. 7. (2007). U.S. Immigration History. Retrieved August 7, 2007 from

Ribeiro, J. (2007). H-1B Visa Issue Has Wider Impact, India Warns: India's minister for commerce and industry, Kamal Nath, said moves to tighten H-1B visas could have a wider impact on trade issues between the U.S. and India. IDG News Service (Bangalore Bureau), May 17, 2007. Retrieved August 6, 2007 from

Schwartz, E. (2007, June 05). Immigration reform's high-tech impact. Retrieved July 30, 2007 from (2007, June 25). Legislative Notice: S. 1639: Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Retrieved July 30, 2007 from
Stanford University News Service. (1996). High-tech workers become new focus of immigration debate. Retrieved July 30, 2007 from
USCIS (2007) Lawful Permanent Residence ("Green Card"). Retrieved August 5, 2007 from
Weiner, E. (2007, May 24). Points-Based Immigration: Lessons from Abroad. Retrieved August 6, 2007 from

Related websites --

Future Trends in Enterprise Architecture

Deepesh Joseph
Date: 08-01-2008

Enterprise Architecture (EA) has been in practice since last 3 decades and it is considered as the core IM tool and key enabler of Enterprise business success through effective alignment of business and IT. EA is an interesting concept and is subjected to constant research and development to cater to varying needs of complex and evolving business models. The objective of this paper is to discuss future trends in EA development by providing some background on role of EA in an enterprise and current trends in EA development. The paper also attempts to present a draft concept about personal enterprise architecture (PEA), which is solely conceptualized by the author of this paper.

1. Introduction

Enterprise Architecture (EA) has been in practice since last 3 decades and it is considered as the key enabler of Enterprise business success through effective alignment of business and IT. EA is an interesting concept and is subjected to constant research and development to cater to varying needs of complex and evolving business models. The objective of this paper is to discuss future trends in EA development by providing some background on role of EA in an enterprise and current trends in EA development. The paper also attempts to present a draft concept about personal enterprise architecture (PEA), which is solely conceptualized by the author of this paper.

2. EA and its role in enabling enterprise building and maintenance

EA is a tool that enables structured setup and maintenance of an enterprise by ensuring constant success through careful alignment of business and IT strategies. Even though the concept of EA was materialized on paper during the late eighties, we should say that EA has long before evolved with its roots in Enterprise engineering and Information systems development. EA existed in some form (even when man first set up mainframe systems), but was not leveraged to actually visualize how structured an EA framework should be. Zachmans' and John Spewak's work on Information Systems architecture and EA planning method, laid down the basic framework and understanding of how EA can be conceptualized, established and used towards enterprise success.

The core idea behind establishing and maintaining EA is to incorporate controls within an enterprise setting in the form of EA framework, methodology and program plan which ensures that enterprise IT strategy is aligned with business strategy and that there is actual documentation of current and future states of the enterprise (in terms of IT and other resources) for taking informed decisions. Even though EA has its existence in the form of intangible framework and methodology, it gets life when exercised through various activities such as setting up of customized EA framework, identification and modeling of business processes, creation of EA artifacts (current and future) at various levels of the framework, identification and development of architecture segments, creation and updation of EA program plan, setting up and constant updation of IT strategy, Information architecture, systems, application and network infrastructure. Throughout this process of EA development and usage, the enterprise is equipped with necessary documentation and management controls to ensure success in vibrant business and technology environment.

3. Current Trends in EA development

There exists various frameworks, concepts and methodologies based on which current EA conceptualization, establishment and maintenance is carried out. Complex business environments leads to constant rethinking on how better can we do EA in order to maximize benefits and minimize costs. There exists no one-size-fits-all EA approach to cater to the various enterprise business models. Even the frameworks that offer wide range of flexibility has to be highly customized to particular business models. This situation has lead to constant development in the field of EA, creating specific frameworks and methodologies for specific needs such as Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA), DODAF (Department of Defense Architecture Framework), TEAF (Treasury Architecture Framework, Extreme EA framework, Synthesized Architecture framework for Agile and Virtual Enterprises, specific e-Governement EA frameworks, Network based EA, SOA based EA and so on.

Recent developments in EA frameworks and methodology such as TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework) and EA3 frameworks, has been a major step towards setting up common approach that is applicable to various public and private sectors. But, even then, until these generic models are proven successful for all possible business models and as complex business models evolve along with constant innovation in IT, the above trend in EA development will continue.

4. Future trends in EA development

EA is constantly evolving with developments in business models, architecture concepts and new technology. There are several areas of development that foresees future trends in EA, but we are restricting our discussion on major developments such as evolution of complex Virtualized Enterprises, development in Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), developments in Network based view and Information Visualization.

4.1 Evolution of Highly Virtualized Enterprises

Constantly changing business environment and enhancements in technology (eg: Collaborative Networks) drive enterprises to closely link their internal operations to external value chains including suppliers, customers and other entities. This has lead to increasing trend in creation of Virtual enterprises (VE), which is really a collaborative network of value chains. Two major capabilities that help VE being successful is their agility and interoperability. Agility is their ability to modify enterprise models according to vibrant environments. To support interoperability, there should be support for seamless communication between collaborating business entities. It is through effective EA that participating business entities achieve agility and interoperability.

Current EA frameworks and/or methodology is too generic to be utilized for specific types of business processes of participating business entities and does not fully support the configuration of VE. Research is undergone in this area to arrive at most suited frameworks to design and configure agile and interoperable VE. One of the major areas of concern is inter-relating the relevant elements of the value chain and allow seamless collaboration and integration.

Figure 1. Systematic modeling framework for Agile Virtual Enterprises
(Courtesy - Kim T.Y, Lee J.S, Infosys labs, Dept. of Industrial & Management Engineering, POSTECH)

One example of current development of framework is the Systematic Modeling framework (Figure 1) that integrates various aspects such as Zachman's framework, MDA (model driven architecture) based meta-modeling, options for model transformations to support changing views, modeling languages that supports well defined ontology and SOA based architecture to support loosely coupled systems. This systematic modeling framework, as introduced by Tae-Young Kim et. al, focuses on developing a synthesized architecture which provides the framework for modeling the entire VE. The various steps outlined in the systematic modeling framework towards creation and modeling of effective VE are EA design phase, Design of domain specific language (DSL) and domain integration language (DIL), Modeling the component independent models (CIM) and platform independent models (PIM) and deployment phase which involves implementation of platform specific models (PSM).

Systematic modeling framework as briefed above is a major attempt on building robust EA for VE. Research is still going on how we can automate and integrate the various modeling and design phases using standard practices that would the internationally recognized. Another area of concern is testing the framework for large and complex business models to arrive at more concrete results. The drive towards adoption of VE and current research would prompt further EA developments in the future.

4.2 Development in SOA

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is one of the system design models which has and will continue to influence the way EA is successfully implemented. SOA is an enabler of EA which aids enterprises to effectively provide their software and other information resources as commercially available, loosely coupled business services. SOA is currently a hot topic that drives EA deployments since enterprises strive to be highly agile and service orientation is being accepted as the best solution for an agile enterprise. SOA ultimately leads to decoupled business services that could be used and reused to satisfy the varied business requirements.

Figure 2. Simple SOA model

A simple SOA model (Figure 2) contains three distinct entities – organization, business processes and services. Ideally, SOA design model is particularly suitable when future EA models are designed and implemented. This is because, the enterprise need to transform from the "as-is" state to the future state with targeted improvements to align IT strategy with business strategy and SOA is applied when the rethinking process starts to plan for the future state. The beauty of SOA driven future EA state is that it still follows the core EA concept of strategy alignments and focuses on how the identified business processes may be designed and coupled using common services.

SOA components are usually registered as web services (independent programs that perform specific business logic/data centric operation) that are invoked and communicates with each other over technology neutral medium such as XML (Extensible Mark up Language), SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and WSDL (Web Services Description Language). SOA conceptualization looks at the "as-is" EA models and tries to model loosely coupled, independent web-services which collectively define the business processes as identified in the refined business strategy. SOA provides ways to implement (register) these services and define methods (service request/response and intra-service communication) by which various services interact to achieve specific or coupled business services.

The main concept that drives the increased usage of SOA in EA implementation is its simplicity and clear ways to model and transform business processes (which is reflection of business strategy) into technology based services (reflects what IT strategy is). This concept redefines the traditional IT implementation model to say that IT requirements are nothing but business service requirements to achieve business goals and objectives. SOA implementation implicitly looks at the service level agreement (SLA) to incorporate the service level performances and thus helps to achieve the ultimate goal of achieving operational and thus business service performance by improving communication across service interfaces. Another factor that drives the usage of SOA is its ability to easily adapt EA to changing business needs (by leveraging the loosely coupled and technology neutral aspects). We may see SOA extending itself, thus taking a major role in EA conceptualization and implementation in the next 5-10 years.

4.3 Developments in Network based view

Network-based analysis techniques have been in use since quite while aiding in representing systems as networks based on the inter-dependency of its individual components. The idea behind utilizing network based techniques is to enable visualization of the system as nodes and dependencies (links). Similar concepts have been recently applied to EA development which has far reaching implications in the way EA would be visualized.

The driving factor behind applying network based techniques in EA development is that dependencies occur during the design, production and use of enterprise components in order to align the task structure according to business strategy. This approach is in line with Zachman's original framework since it bases its core on the insight that the overall EA requires various views of the system and each view has its own architectural components (artifacts) that convey significant design decisions.

The network based EA model attempts to represent the overall EA as a network model with nodes and links where each node represents the Information system component and links represent the dependency between them (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Example Network based EA model (Courtesy-Case study by Iyer B. et. al, from Saha P.)

The represented model is capable to learn and adjust to the changing weights added or reduced, so that it could visualize a flexible, robust and adaptable EA model. This has immense possibilities for opening new avenues for the executives to take informed decisions based on visual models when they anticipate changes in business strategy. The model also serves as a powerful tool to the architect to derive relevant metrics and also as a valuable basis for communication among the architects, development managers, business managers, and senior management. By creating renderings of the information system at different points in time, stakeholders can see how the system evolves over time. Each instance show the abstract view of the entire organization and its information flows. Each node represent the LOB manager’s systems that organization uses everyday and links show manager’s dependencies with everyone else. EA conceptualization and implementation based on network based view is constantly evolving with these striking benefits that the approach offers. Focus on enterprise agility and componentization of business services and the need to visually represent the components and their dependencies in order to predict and analyze changes in EA, would be another driving factor behind adoption of this approach.

4.4 Holographic Information Visualization (IV)

Information Visualization is one major technological breakthrough which allows us to visualize the hidden organization, structure and meaning contained in information. There are two major areas of information visualization according to the way the information attributes are visualized. One approach to information visualization is to represent stored information as a 2D/3D model so that various correlations and patterns can be modeled and interpreted. Another approach is to visualize the actual information attributes as a virtual model in physical space. We are interested in this particular approach of IV and shall see how it will lead to developments in the field of EA.

The most immediate development would be creation of modeling frameworks, meta- models and languages that support visualization (or transform existing artifacts into visual information models) of EA models in visual space. The core concept of business-technology alignment would still remain the basic idea behind establishing and maintaining EA, only difference would be the way frameworks and models will be modeled and visualized. This is most likely to happen in next 10-15 years.

5. Personal Enterprise Architecture – A draft concept

The idea behind creating a draft concept about Personal Enterprise Architecture (PEA) is to introduce the EA concept to common man. PEA is an original work of author of this paper and is targeted at audience who are common individuals or small interest groups who would like to reap benefits of EA within their Information Management (IM) endeavors. The idea evolved as a result of knowledge gained through the EA course work and realization that EA when introduced to common man can create more structured and goal oriented Information Management mediums. This concept is envisioned to conceptualize and become a part of common life in the future, thus relating the concept to future EA trend.

What is PEA?

PEA or Personal Enterprise Architecture is conceptualized as the blueprint of Personal Goal Oriented IM Endeavors (PGOIME). The concept of PEA is most relevant when individuals are empowered by IM solutions and tools which equips them to function as individual virtual enterprises (with personal vision, mission, goals and objectives). The PEA does not deviate from the parent concepts that has been in practice within EA. When EA concentrates on the enterprise as a core business entity and its business-IT alignment, PEA blends into PGOIME of common man. To introduce the validity of the PEA concept, it would be interesting to see a few examples of PGOIME. Following are two examples of PGOIME -

E1. Distance learning student whose goal is to successfully complete the MS program, online

In this case, the vision of the student is to complete course work successfully and in least amount of time. He then sets the goals and objectives to accomplish the vision. The goals and objectives to successfully complete the course work requires him to perform certain activities to complete the distance learning. These activities are then needed to be supported by an IM system through which he realizes the goal of performing the online learning. The IM system established, thus supports the goal oriented personal endeavor, i.e student performing distance learning. PEA, in this case, is relevant in the way the initial vision is mapped to goals & objectives, which are then mapped to the IM system that student utilizes to realize success.

E2. Independent contractor who runs home office

Example of Independent contractor is a more realistic scenario where PEA can be applied. Vision might be to become premium provider of EA consultancy services across the globe. The goals and objectives to achieve the vision requires him to perform certain activities and collaborations to accomplish day to day activities. These activities are then needed to be supported by an IM system through which he realizes the goal of performing successful independent consulting. The IM system established, thus supports the goal oriented personal endeavor, i.e contractor performing independent consulting from his home office. PEA, in this case is relevant in the way the initial vision is mapped to goals & objectives, which are then mapped to the IM system that contractor utilizes to realize success.

PEA Framework

PEA in its simplicity is based on original Zachman’s framework. Basing the above simple IM needs on to Zachman’s framework, it is evident that it can be easily mapped to the various perspective rows (all views share the common individual with differing needs starting from owning the vision to actually implementing the IM solution). The intersection of perspectives and interrogative columns would represent the artifacts that the individual would have to have in place in order to apply and maintain PEA. Conventional means of documentation can be applied to arrive at “as-is” and future states of PEA. The “as-is” state would document how the current PGOIME is conceptualized. The future state would document how PGOIME would be achieved given predicted changes in personal goals and changes in technology. PEA does not propose extensive transformation plan, but suggests documentation of what activities, resources are required to be performed, acquired and integrated to reach the future state.

PEA - Concept Diagram

Figure 4 personifies the PEA concept by relating the PEA development to the above conceptual framework. As shown in the diagram, personal vision is set at the top (owner‘s perspective). Personal vision leads to identification of personal goals and objectives to accomplish the vision (Planner‘s view). Based on personal goals and objectives, demand issues are identified, which are essentially activities required to accomplish goals and objectives. The activities are then mapped to specifications for the required IM solution and IM architecture is conceptualized (Designer‘s view).

Figure 4. PEA concept diagram

Conceptualized IM solution is then implemented as physical setup (Builder‘s view). EA artifacts are created for each view that captures the “as-is” state for the PEA. Future states are also documented by predicting vibrant goals and technology innovation. Drivers of change requires re-thinking on the personal vision and the future state is used as the benchmark to attain the required state.

Advantages of PEA

The main advantage of PEA is that it reinforces human goal oriented nature and acts as a documented aid that describes his preparedness to maintain the IM solution in response to changing personal goals and technology advancements. Representing the “as-is” state serves as the visible model of his thinking process, activities and IT solution. This improves sense of ownership for the IM solution that he maintain to realize his personal goals and the future state documentation & transformation plan aids as an excellent aid in risk management when changes are inevitable.


EA is an effective tool for enterprise building and leading it to continuous success. The critical factor behind EA is that it enables business and IT alignment. From the draft concept of PEA, we found that EA can even be applied in day to day IM needs of common man. The current drive towards agile and complex virtual enterprises would be the major area of EA research and there would be major work towards globally accepted EA framework. Information visualization within machine and physical space will redefine the models and language used to represent EA. Many new EA frameworks are likely to evolve and creation of more standardized frameworks that fits all complex enterprise models will take much time and would mostly end up with extended EA frameworks based on SOA.


1. Bernard S. A. (2005).An Introduction to Enterprise Architecture (2nd ed.)
2. Saha P. (2007) Handbook of Enterprise Architecture Systems in Practice (Section 1, 3, 5). IGI global.
3. Kim T. Y. , Lee J.S. Enterprise Architecture Framework based on MDA
to Support Virtual Enterprise. Retrieved Nov 16, 2008, from
4. Finkelstein C. (2007, April 1). Introduction to Enterprise Architecture. Retrieved Nov 20, 2008, from
5. Yee l., Hsu C. (1997, June 24). A Visualization Architecture for Enterprise Information. Retrieved Nov 20, 2008, from
6. Varhol P. (2007, February 1). The Role of Web Services in Enterprise Architecture. Retrieved Nov 20, 2008, from
7. Rousselin T., Caumont H. Steps for an Enterprise Architecture in the Geospatial Intelligence Gathering Domain. Retrieved Nov 24, 2008, from
8. Harmon P. (2003, January). Business Process Trends. Retrieved Nov 24, 2008, from
9. Bass T., Mabry R. (2004). Enterprise Architecture Reference Models:
A Shared Vision for Service-Oriented Architectures. Retrieved Nov 27, 2008, from
10. Radhakrishnan S. (2006, April 6). Enterprise architecture and the role of technology. Retrieved Nov 27, 2008, from
11. RedHat. EA for State and Local Government. Retrieved Nov 27, 2008, from
12. Iyer B. Gottleb R. The Four-Domain Architecture: An approach to support enterprise
architecture design. Retrieved Dec 1, 2008, from
13. IBM, Rational Software. (2004 June). From Inception to Implementation: Delivering Business Value Through Enterprise Architecture. Retrieved Dec 3, 2008, from
14. Ruest D. , Ruest N. (2006, June 6). Let's talk: Build your enterprise architecture using communication and the right framework. Retrieved Dec 4, 2008, from
15. Delegata. (2005, September 9). Service Oriented Architecture: Practical Enterprise Architecture. Retrieved Dec 4, 2008, from,1000000651,260256626p,00.htm
16. Information Builders. Leveraging Your Data Architecture for Enterprise Business Intelligence. Retrieved Dec 4, 2008, from

(c) Deepesh Joseph, 2001

Related websites --

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Welcome to Information Management era!

Information Management (IM) is slowly becoming a common term similar to any other management disciplne. The peculiarity of IM is that it enables man to manage his most important in-tangible resource - Information. If we look back through the ages, IM is linked to human existence and being on this earth starting from the stone age to the current age of micro-computers and spaceships. In one way or other man has been constanly facing challenges in storing, processing and analyzing data into useful information. Early man had his senses through which he sensed data and processed them to useful information that he transcribed on stones and other artifacts, since it is basic human intelligence to process data into information and later to knowledge.

When life became supported by more sophisticated technology, the amount of data that need to be processed also increased immensly and it is here the importance of IM comes into picture. We have come to a state where anything and everything that we do has something to do with managing information effectively. The purpose of this blog is to start and maitain a one stop reference place for all IM related topics.

Related websites --