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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nuxeo Enterprise Content Management

The Nuxeo Document Management offering, Nuxeo DM, helps manage and track the flow of content through the business cycle. From initial capture and creation, sharing and collaboration, across approval, review and revisions, to the final publication and archiving, Nuxeo DM ensures that information workers can find, use, share and secure valuable corporate content.
Nuxeo DAM is a digital asset management solution that helps catalogue, process, store, retrieve, and distribute rich media content, including images, audio, and video.
For those new to ECM, a simple way to explain it is to use AIIM's official definition:
"Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is the strategies, methods and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. ECM tools and strategies allow the management of an organization's unstructured information, wherever that information exists."
More specific examples of the above would include:
  • document management
  • digital asset management
  • records management
  • correspondence management
and more. More ambitious readers are welcome to read that entire AIIM document, which discusses additional issues related to all of the above, including collaboration possibilities, legal compliance issues, workflow tools and much more.

In addition, readers interested in current ECM market trends are welcome to read this Nuxeo World 2010 keynote address.

What is Nuxeo Enterprise Platform (EP)?

All of Nuxeo's ECM applications are built on top of what is called the Nuxeo Enterprise Platform, or "Nuxeo EP." Nuxeo EP is not, by itself, a downloadable and runnable product. It is, instead, Nuxeo's underlying, Java-based software platform, providing the technical infrastructure and high-level services needed to build customized ECM applications. While there is extremely detailed documentation on the architecture of Nuxeo EP, the following graphic should give you a general idea of how individual ECM products are constructed on top of Nuxeo EP:
As you can see, the common EP component is used as the basis for actual runnable "distributions" by simply adding package-specific code above the EP foundation.
Finally, all of the above requires a certain software infrastructure below that, including:
  • A Nuxeo-approved Java development suite, such as Oracle's Java 6 or OpenJDK 6,
  • An application engine, such as the JBoss application server or the Tomcat servlet engine,
  • A Nuxeo EP-approved underlying database, such as PostgreSQL, Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server, and
  • An operating system that supports all of the above, such as Linux, Windows or Mac OS X.
In short, because Nuxeo EP is fully Java-based, you have a great deal of flexibility in how you can set up a Nuxeo server. (Readers interested in the significance of the choice of the word "platform" here are welcome to take a few minutes to understand the difference between platforms, suites and condominiums to appreciate what makes Nuxeo's Enterprise Platform offering unique.)

The current Nuxeo "distributions" and their variations

At the moment, there are three primary Nuxeo distributions (all sitting above Nuxeo EP) that you can download and immediately start to run:
  • Nuxeo DM, Nuxeo's flagship Document Management product,
  • Nuxeo DAM, the Digital Asset Management software, and
  • Nuxeo CMF, Nuxeo's Case Management Framework product.
All of these can be downloaded from Nuxeo's download page and, based on the choice of underlying technology, you will generally have to choose what particular packaging you want for any given distribution, such as:
  • a standalone, JBoss-based Zip file,
  • a standalone, Tomcat-based Zip file,
  • an EAR file for JBoss, or
  • in some cases, a .deb-format file for Debian/Ubuntu installation
DIfferent Nuxeo distributions might have different packaging choices so you'll have to select from the available options for each package.
Finally, for those who simply want to test out Nuxeo DM or DAM, Nuxeo provides OVF-format, Ubuntu/Tomcat-based virtual machine (VM) images that can be run within either VMware or VirtualBox. These VM images are also available from the corresponding distribution download page.

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