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Building the (Data) Base

June 1999
Moving to new levels of digital asset management? Be sure to network and organize effectively to lay the foundation for an astute database.


BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO


Content manager. This is the latest descriptive to find its way onto your ever-clever corporate promotional materials. You are a general commercial printer, an innovative digital prepress provider—a digital content manager. Needless to say, your database capacity has, well, grown-up during this maturation from pure print provider to overall digital asset controller.

REALITY: You have only begun to investigate ways to bolster your database power to make the move from print provider to all-in-one print provider and digital asset manager. You are exploring digital asset management solutions and calculating the most effective networking, server and asset management software tools.

When thinking about establishing or bolstering a database in a prepress environment—think of not just finding the data, but also retrieving it and processing it to produce pages.

A strong digital infra-structure is mandatory, before making the move from printer to content manipulator. In all instances, networking holds the key to building the kind of effective database that enables a commercial printer to evolve from a traditional print provider to a true digital asset management specialist.

One example: gigabit ethernet. Gigabit ethernet is fast becoming an industry standard—providing commercial printers with a backbone technology that provides significantly higher bandwidth capabilities, allowing the latest RIP workstations and workgroup servers to function faster.

Gigabit ethernet is a networking technology that, quite simply, allows a commercial printing operation to transfer digital data around its organization fast—at 1,000 mbps, in other words, 1,000 megabits or 1 million bits of data per second.

"Gigabit ethernet is going to be the great enabler of database technology," Heidelberg's Danny Kita, reports. At Heidelberg, Kita manages the Operations Analysis Group, which is the consulting arm of Heidelberg USA, where he is active in Wide Area and Local Area Network projects. "Because of the extra stress client/server operations put on the network, we have typically tried to avoid their use in prepress data networks—until recently."

The introduction of a database, which inherently works in client/server mode, however, necessitates increased bandwidth in order to avoid having a serious impact on production data flow, Kita contends. "Gigabit ethernet is arriving at just the right time to complement database technology developments—it will be an accelerant to the mainstream use of database technologies."
 

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