Trending March 2024 # Performance Tuning Practices In Hive # Suggested April 2024 # Top 6 Popular

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This article was published as a part of the Data Science Blogathon.

Apache Hive is a data warehouse system built on top of Hadoop which gives the user the flexibility to write complex MapReduce programs in form of SQL- like queries. Perform t of running Hive Queries as it helps the programmer to reduce the time and increase the efficiency of the code. Applying correct approaches and using best optimization practices we can achieve great milestones in terms of time and storage of hive queries as well as improve the performance of our cluster, and it is here that Performance Tuning plays an important role. 

In this article, I want to share some of the practices of Performance Tuning configuration and queries, which I have found effective while using Hive.

First of all, let’s understand what are the steps for tuning the Hive queries:

Identify:

In this step, we list all the Hive codes which consume more time.

Tune:

We find out the best solutions without interfering with the functionality of the code and make sure that the code is improved.

Test and Deploy: We t

est the changed code and then deploy it in production. We should monitor the running time of the changed code for a few days.

Measure:

 In this step, we measure if the changed codes are improving at any time. Also, compare the new run timings of the changed code with the past production timings.

Continue improvements:

 We keep looking for possible solutions to improve further.

Types of Performance Tuning Techniques 1 Avoid locking of tables

It is extremely important to make sure that the tables are being used in any Hive query as sources are not being used by another process. This can lead to locking of the table and our query can be stuck for an unknown time.

We can use the parameters below for making sure that the tables are not being locked:

set hive.support.concurrency=false; set hive.txn.manager=org.apache.hadoop.hive.ql.lockmgr.DummyTxnManager; set hive.bin.strict.locking.mode=false;

2 Use the Hive execution engine as TEZ

While executing Hive queries, TEZ execution engine is the preferred choice because it eliminates unnecessary disk access. It takes data from disk once, performs calculations, and produces output, thus saving us from multiple disk traversals. We can consider TEZ to be a much more flexible and powerful successor to the map-reduce framework.

We can set the parameter below for using TEZ engine:

set hive.execution.engine=tez;

3 Use Hive Cost Based Optimizer (CBO)

Apache Hive provides a cost-based optimizer to improve performance. It generates efficient execution plans like how to order joins, which type of join to perform, the degree of parallelism etc. by examining the query cost. These decisions are collected by ANALYZE statements or the metastore itself, ultimately cutting down on query execution time and reducing resource utilization.

We can set the parameter using :

set hive.cbo.enable=true;

Parallel execution at a Mapper & Reducer level

We can improve the performance of aggregations, filters, and joins of our hive queries by using vectorized query execution, which means scanning them in batches of 1024 rows at once instead of single row each time.

We should explore the below parameters which will help to bring in more parallelism and which significantly improves query execution time:

set hive.vectorized.execution.enabled=true; set hive.exec.parallel=true;

For example:

Select a.*, b.* from (select * from table1 ) a Join (select * from table2 ) b On a.id=b.id ;

As we can see the two subqueries are independent so this might increase efficiency.

One important thing to note is, parallel execution will increase cluster utilization. If the cluster utilization of a cluster is already very high, parallel execution will not help much.

5 Use STREAMTABLE option

When we are joining multiple tables, we can use STREAMTABLE option. By default, the right-most table gets streamed.

For example: If we are joining 2 tables ‘huge_table’ join ‘small_table’, by default ‘small_table’ gets streamed as it is the rightmost table. In this case, ‘huge_table’ , being the bigger table, will try to get buffered into memory and might cause java heap space issues or the job might run longer. In this case, what we can do is add /*+ STREAMTABLE(‘huge_table’) */ and it will make ‘huge_table’ to be streamed rather than coming into memory.

Hence, in this way, we can be free of remembering the order of joining tables.

6 Use Map Side JOIN Option

If one of the tables in the join is a small table and can be loaded into memory, we can force a MAPSIDE join like shown below:

Select /*+ MAPJOIN(small_table) */ large_table.col1,large_table.col2 from large_table join small_table on large_table.col1 = small_table.col1;

Also, We can let the execution engine take care of this by setting chúng tôi as True.

set chúng tôi = True :

7

Avoid Calculated Fields in JOIN and WHERE clause

We should avoid using any calculated fields in JOIN and WHERE clauses as they take a long time to run the Hive query. We can use CTE(Create table expression) to handle those functionalities and can optimize our queries.

For example:

Original query:

select a.coll, chúng tôi from table1 as a join table2 as b on (a.coll +50 = b.col2);

Optimized query:

with CTE as

(select chúng tôi + 50 as C1 FROM table1 )

select CTE.C1, chúng tôi from CTE join table2 b on (CTE.C1 = b.col2);

8 Use SORT BY instead of ORDER BY

Hive supports both ORDER BY and SORT BY causes. ORDER BY works on a single reducer and it causes a performance bottleneck. But, SORT BY orders the data only within each reducer and performs a local ordering where each reducer’s output will be sorted ensuring better performance.

9  Select columns which are needed

While we are using Hive, If we need only a few columns from a table, avoid using SELECT * FROM as it adds unnecessary time to the execution.

10 Suitable Input format Selection

Using appropriate file formats on the basis of data can significantly increase our query performance. Hive comes with columnar input formats like RCFile, ORC, etc. On comparing to Text, Sequence, and RC file formats, ORC shows better performance because Hive has a vectorized ORC reader which allows reducing the read operations in analytics queries by allowing each column to be accessed individually.

11 Limit (Filter) the data as early as possible 

This is the fundamental principle for any tuning where we filter or drop records ahead in the process so that we can avoid dealing with long-running of queries and dealing with unnecessary results.

For example :

a join b where chúng tôi !=null

can be written as

(select * from a where a.col!=null) join b

12 Use Multi Query Inserts

Here we will have a common dataset (Superset) and then we will use that to insert into multiple tables based on specific conditions specified in the WHERE clause. This helps to load multiple tables in parallel when they have the common superset of data.

13 Modularize the code into logical pieces

This helps in terms of the maintenance of the code. Also helps in restarting the jobs in scenarios of failures. This can be used to achieve parallelism by running modules that are independent of each other thus saving time.

Takeaway Notes

Use hive parameters judiciously

We should avoid using a lot of hive parameters if they are not needed. For this we should understand the data well and then use it efficiently else we might end up impacting the overall cluster utilization impacting other processes.

Identify the right targets

Most of these techniques will work on all jobs but spend the effort where it counts. Start with the jobs that will have the biggest impact on performance, that is the ones that take many hours!

Even small gains add up quickly

F

Conclusion About the Author

Nausheen Aafreen is a Big Data Engineer and Data Research Analyst working in a multinational artificial intelligence company. She has spent over 5.6 years working in Data Engineering and Data Science projects. She worked in various technologies including big data, automation, and data research.

The media shown in this article is not owned by Analytics Vidhya and are used at the Author’s discretion.

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Top 10 Content Writing Best Practices In 2023

Companies hire content writers for web content writing, product descriptions, company profile texts, or e-mails as part of their content marketing strategy. Yet, more than 30% of marketers struggle to create content that attracts their audience and resonates with them well, and 60% of B2B content marketers have difficulty creating high-quality content.1,2

Learn about ten content writing tips to stand out in the market.

What is content writing?

Content writing is a general term that covers all kinds of content produced by writers and includes different content, such as

E-mails

Whitepapers

RSS feeds

Newsletters

Website or blog posts

Landing pages

Company profile texts

Product descriptions.

Why do companies hire a content writer?

To create content that educates the readers with a comprehensive review of the market or their services.

To increase their presence on search engines or social media.

By attracting readers, companies increase their visibility, rankings on search engines, and brand reputation, which is reflected in sales. There are some content writing practices in that high-quality content can help you grow your business.

Top ten content writing best practices 1- Determining focus keywords

While searching on the Internet, customers use specific keywords that correspond to their query to get knowledge on that specific service or product rather than reading a blog post on some unrelated topic.

That’s why focusing on one topic with specific keywords at a time can help produce much more consistency within the content without going beyond the subject, makes the keyword research process easier, and helps grab the reader’s attention with relevant content.

2- Content personalization

A recent survey reveals that customer centricity and personalization are the most important goals of companies in their digital transformation process, but only a few achieve personalization in content writing.3 The success rate of digital transformation in marketing is around 30%, while the remaining 70% needs to catch up in implementing strategies.4

Check our article to learn more about digital transformation challenges and some solutions.

3- Publishing consistently

When it comes to content publication, although content writing skills are crucial, consistency is the key. 57% of marketers say they have attracted new customers by consistently publishing web content.1 Marketers state that publishing 2-4 pieces of content per week would allow companies to keep track.5

4- Editing and updating content regularly

Source: Semrush

Figure 1. A survey on the returns of updating content

Just as sharing content regularly, updating the old ones is crucial to stay relevant and to rank high on search engines. However, findings show that the rate for updating older articles is around 40%, making the remaining 60% outdated content.1

5- Adding visual content

However, adding irrelevant visual content to the articles would provide no benefit and even harm the brand’s reputation. Creating relevant and informative visual content with alt texts can help readers find the content easier on search engines and ensure brand reputation.

Check our article to learn how to transform data into images anyone can get insights through data visualization.

6- Having a data-driven approach

Source: Hubspot

Figure 2: What percentage of companies have a data-driven approach in decision-making processes?

Research shows that more than 80% of professionals do not have a high degree of data literacy, and only half of companies use a data-driven approach in their decision-making processes.6

Although every writer has their own point of view, writing style, or experiences to tell the readers, an intuitively-driven approach does not provide a solid or objective picture to the target audience. Unlike the intuitively-driven approach, which is subjective, a data-driven approach based on research and factual knowledge can make the content more trustworthy.

7- High user/content readability

Explaining a phenomenon with simple words is the key. To increase the readability of content, it is crucial to have clear language. However, creating simple content should not mean a lack of depth. It is suggested that content with 1,000+ words is the most read; thus, long-form content seems desirable.7

Besides using simple sentences and clear language, providing a table of content at the beginning of the texts to inform the readers whom the article is targeting and why it is written, splitting the content into paragraphs, and adding bullet points can help increase the readability.

We have also checked AIMultiple’s all-time top 100 most-read articles and found that the average word count of our top 100 articles is around 2600 words. As the shortest article has around 1000 words, the largest one has 5000+ words.

8- Consistency in the voice tone

Do you prefer to interact with the readers using formal or informal language? Determining a tone of voice that overlaps with the corporate identity for all the written content and using it consistently can help the readers have a consistent brand image.

10- Getting help from the social media

Sometimes content writers can have writer’s block, and creating content can be stressful. In such cases, getting help from social media trends or marketing strategies can give the writers ideas on narrowing down the topic they are interested in.

Here, we also provide our data-driven list of content-writing services.

If you need any assistance in content writing, do not hesitate to contact us:

Sources

1- Ouellette, Coral (April 22, 2023). “Ultimate List of Blogging Statistics and Facts (Updated for 2023)”. Optinmonster. Retrieved November 16, 2023.

2- Salkin, Miné (March 29, 2023). “40+ Content Marketing Statistics to Power Your 2023 Strategy”. Semrush. Retrieved November 16, 2023.

3- Palumbo, Silvio; Simon, Mario; Cornock, Will; George, Chris; Shoji, Yohei (October 5, 2023). “AI Has Launched a $200 Billion Revolution in Content Personalization”. BCG. Retrieved November 16, 2023.

4- “Digital Transformation.” BCG. Retrieved November 16, 2023.

5- Brenner, Michael (November 15, 2023). How Often Should You Blog? [Blog Post Frequency Research]. Marketing Insider Group. Retrieved November 20, 2023.

6- The Data-Driven Mindset 2023 Research (PDF). HubSpot. Retrieved November 20, 2023.

7- Brenner, Michael (March 9, 2023). How Many Words Should a Blog Post Be? Marketing Insider Group. Retrieved November 20, 2023.

8-  Sharma, D., Shukla, R., Giri, A. K., & Kumar, S. (2024, January). A brief review on search engine optimization. In 2023 9th international conference on cloud computing, data science & engineering (confluence) (pp. 687-692). IEEE.

Begüm Yılmaz

Begüm is an Industry Analyst at AIMultiple. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Bogazici University and specializes in sentiment analysis, survey research, and content writing services.

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Customer Analysis In Power Bi; Reviewing Performance Over Time

Customer analysis is a crucial thing to do for any business specially if you have a large number of customers. You may watch the full video of this tutorial at the bottom of this blog.

In this particular tutorial, I work through how we can create some compelling customer analysis overtime.

I’m looking at customer’s purchasing behaviour between different timeframes and put those into a visualisation, highlighting the information in a way that you can make informed decisions on it.

Due to the ease with which we can place filters and slicers over our report pages in Power BI, we can truly create some really compelling visualisations and see what our customers are doing.

I talk a little bit about how you can set this up within a report page quite seamlessly and be able to highlight the key information, which will really have an impact on what actions you take with your customers.

When you have a lot of customers, your chart can be very busy and it would be quite difficult to see the changes of your customer behaviour over time. You won’t be able to showcase the insights in an effective way.

But, think of it in broader terms of how to set this up, which I will show you.

You’ll just have to think about your current model and how you can build on top of that model to then showcase the insights.

In this example, you’ll see that I have some time selection and I’m trying to show the Total Sales by Total Profits. But, what I also want to show is how this change over time per customer.

And you see how busy this chart is, right?

There’s a lot of customers and we’re NOT really able to see the changes of the customers. We can’t see how they’re moving through time in the performance perspective.

So we need to break it up and segment it. We need to group these customers, which will enable us to drill into a very niche group of customers, and perhaps drill even further.

Here, you can see that I’ve set up a list of my customers and it’s actually quite long.

However, we don’t really want to be going down here and select all customers, right? If we do, we can’t really see what we’ve selected after we have done so.

So I have created these groups of customers, where I just built a calculated column that ranks my customers in these particular groups.

Let me show you what I’ve done there. I have my data models here and we will be focusing on the Customer Table.

In my Customer Table, you’ll see that I’ve grouped them based on the Customer Sales Rank, which is this one here.

All this is doing really is ranking on Total Sales.

This is Total Sales from the beginning of time, so there’s no time filter on this. In other words, it is ranking all customers through time.

It’s just a way for us to being able to break up or create another dimension that can then drill into specific aspects of our customers or specific groups of our customers.

This would then flow down to all the calculations that we will eventually do over our Sales Table or Budgeting, and so on.

So instead of looking at all of my customers here, I can just go rank 1-10, and you can see in the chart that it breaks down quickly.

Now we can really see or drill into our customers.

For instance, we want to analyse how our customer performance changes through time for our Profits versus Sales. We can put here Quarter 3 as well.

This enables us to monitor these customers effectively.

For example, we want to monitor State Ltd. We can select it and perhaps we can add another quarter here. We can really start to see and find some pretty decent insights here.

In the second quarter, this particular customer started here. And for some reason, in the third quarter of 2023, it dropped way back here. But then zoomed all the way back up much higher in the fourth quarter.

We started in a very detailed form in terms of the visualization and what the insights are showcasing. But through the functionality that we have built-in, we can progressively move to more unique or specific insights.

This is a really good way to consider specially when you have a lot of customers in your data set.

Moreover, we have the rest of our models to work with to. So for instance, we want to look at just the first 5 products that the individual customer has bought to see if this is what’s causing the difference. And it looks like it probably is.

Other things that are showcasing insights are the individual trend analysis and we can see how they are actually made up through time.

There’s a lot of different ways you could do to filter the data eventually and you could drill into various aspects as well.

This blog showcases the different ways that you can do to make customer analysis easy and effective inside Power BI.

If you set up your model well specially with some grouping techniques, then you can can drill into the specific group you want to look at.

You can set things up where you are already looking at a sub set of your data and quickly drill into specific customers or customers from the initial group.

This is a really good review of what you can do around a reporting scenario based on customer insights. This isn’t exactly about one formula here or one visualisation. It’s in all encompassing tutorial around what can be achieved in a very scalable way with Power BI.

Enjoy working through this one.

Sam

Top 4 Secure Web Login Best Practices For Corporations In 2023

Business workflows rely heavily on web applications as they:  

Aid supply chain activities via enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

Provide a platform for sales. 

Financial institutions employ online channels to conduct business. 

Nearly every firm has a crucial web application located on-premises or in the cloud.

On the other hand, the internet is a dangerous environment where a cyberattack occurs almost every 10 seconds. Therefore, improving the security of digital platforms is critical for enterprises. This article will review the top 4 best practices that enhance online business security. 

1. Filter URLs and DNS

Filtering internet content allows organizations to restrict users’ and visitors’ access to the specific web material. The main rationale is to keep the user safe from phishing attacks or malicious websites. Furthermore, some businesses prefer URL/DNS filtering to keep employees away from time-consuming and bandwidth-intensive online activities like social networking platforms.

Internet filtering solutions are powered by web reputation services which measure a risk score for websites by considering: 

The number of visits. 

The threat history of the domain’s pages. 

The age of observation.

Location. 

Related networks. 

Internal and external links. 

Nevertheless, some filtering platforms allow manual blocking opportunities. The main internet filtering tools for businesses are firewall, secure web gateway (SWG) and secure access service edge (SASE) solutions.

Firewall: It filters information on the internet subject to parameters like:

IP addresses

Ports 

Domain names

SWG: It is a gateway that verifies the data transit between users and the internet complies with predetermined company standards. SWGs are effective instruments for promoting the least access principle, which restricts each worker’s access to data and ensures a zero-trust approach to cybersecurity throughout the organization. The following are some of the applications for SWGs:

Filtering URL

Encrypting DNS traffic

Monitoring and recording online history of users

Detecting malicious software

SASE: It is a cloud-based cybersecurity system that integrates network and security services into a single platform (See Figure 1). As a security as a service component, SASE solutions often include firewall as a service and SWGs. As a result, they’re useful for internet filtering.

Figure 1: Components of SASE

Source: AIMultiple

2. Enforce users to create complex passwords 

Many people generate passwords that are short, contain personal information, and do not feature capital letters or special characters. As a result, brute force attackers that randomly guess passwords in the hopes of finding the correct one have a better chance of succeeding.

To improve cybersecurity posture companies should:

Enforce users to create a password that contains at least:

One uppercase letter

One lowercase letter

One number

One special character

Determine a minimum required character threshold to reduce the probability of hacking.

The login page should not indicate whether the username/email address or password is incorrect. Such information increases the chance of brute force attackers. 

Companies should enforce users to periodically renew their passwords.

3. Implement multi-factor authentication and limit session length

There is always a possibility of guessing someone’s password correctly. However, doing it twice or more consecutively is almost zero. This is the main rationale behind multi-factor authentication; adding one or more layers to the login process.

Multi-factor authentication tools cooperate with different tags that only the user can reach or know. For instance, when a company works with Google authenticator to ensure multi-factor authentication, users reach a code that they can see through their mobile phones. Similarly, banks send text emails to their customers, which include the password for the second security layer.

Setting specified thresholds for active sessions is another key security protocol that businesses should employ. Companies can require their users to re-enter the platform in this way, significantly enhancing the network’s security.

4. Store sensitive and regular data separately and ensure the least possible access

Storing company data in a single location and granting access to a large number of employees is risky. Almost 50% of executives believe that employee errors are the leading cause of a data breach at their firm. As a result, businesses should establish a hierarchy for their data (restricted, private, public, etc.), store it in distinct databases, and grant the fewest possible permissions to access it.

To ensure granular access, companies should adopt technologies that work with the zero trust principle, such as:

Software defined perimeter (SDP): SDP hides web hardware from outside entities and hackers (DNS, networks, etc.). SDP can be thought of as an updated version of VPNs that decreases traffic latency and solves granular access issues. Due to SDPs’ superiority, 60% of firms have replaced VPNs with SDPs.

Zero trust network access (ZTNA): ZTNA is an IT safety solution that allows for secure remote access to a company’s programs, data, and services based on specified control policies. ZTNA employs an application layer protection that adheres to the idea of least privilege. Thus, rather than granting workers access to all data on the network, it allows them to see only the data they require to fulfill their tasks.

Our sortable/filterable list of SWG vendors can help you choose the right partner for your business.

To find more regarding cybersecurity solutions, you can contact us:

Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

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What Are The Best Layoff Practices?

The process of simultaneously laying employees off and making new hires needs to be navigated cautiously.

If you lay an employee off and rehire for the same position within six months, you are opening up your business to potential lawsuits.

Communicating the “what,” “how” and “why” of layoffs, especially if simultaneous hires are also underway, is important to the continuity of your business. Employees should never have to guess why these employment actions are taken, how they are exercised, and what timeline is involved.

This article is for small business owners who might need to lay off and hire staff at the same time.

Laying employees off is never a pleasant experience. At times, layoffs are necessary for a business to maintain continuity through lean times. However, there may be instances when you need to lay off employees while bringing new workers on board at the same time. Before you undertake this staffing conundrum, it is important to understand what you legally can and cannot do and how best to communicate the workforce changes to your staff. 

What is a layoff?

Before moving forward with layoffs and potential new hires, it is important to understand what a layoff is and how it differs from other forms of employee separations.

Layoffs are generally a reduction in force. This could be just one employee or many employees at one time. Layoffs can be temporary or permanent, and they can occur across multiple departments within a business or just in one.

Performance or behavior issues with employees should not be dealt with through layoffs. This process should not be an excuse to get rid of a troubled employee.

That said, in mass layoffs it is common practice to eliminate the positions of lower-performing employees and those with behavioral issues first. Just understand that you cannot turn around and fill the same position right away with another person.

Is it legal to simultaneously lay off and hire employees?

The short answer is yes, but there are some caveats. You cannot lay off an employee in a specific position and then immediately fill that same position with a new hire. If that is the route you are looking to take, you cannot refer to that employee’s termination as a layoff. Doing so could open you up to wrongful termination lawsuits, which can be difficult to defend against.

A company can lay off and hire at the same time when these employment actions do not overlap on the same job or position. You can legally lay off and hire employees simultaneously if you are experiencing a reduction in business and no longer need an operations manager, for example, but do need to hire more sales professionals to bring in new business.

Key Takeaway

You can legally lay off and hire employees at the same time, but you cannot lay off an employee only to quickly hire someone else to fill that same position.

Tip

A good general rule is to wait at least six months before refilling a position that you laid an employee off from.

When to lay off employees

Many factors can force employers of all sizes to lay off employees.

Economic downturns: When the entire economy shrinks or slows, companies within many industries have to come up with ways to save money. Employees are expensive, and if there are ways for a company to go without certain positions, the employees within those positions are removed from the workplace.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&As): When two companies become one, there are almost always superfluous positions and, thus, employees left in the wake. Determining which ones to retain and which to let go is an inevitable part of mergers and acquisitions.

Relocating or moving operations: When a business physically moves to a new facility in a distant city or different state, local employees usually won’t uproot their lives and move with the company. The lower an employee’s pay is, the less likely they are to relocate for the company.’

Evolution, technology and automation: As technology continues to improve, it’s inevitable that certain functions employees used to perform will no longer be necessary. To limit redundant coverage, employers reduce headcount when it is no longer needed.

Growing internationally, outsourcing or offshoring: For many reasons, mostly to save money, some employers move their operations overseas (for example, outsourcing to an offshore call center), where labor costs are far less than in the U.S. In these situations, entire plants may close down, resulting in thousands of employees being laid off at once.

Should layoffs be permanent or temporary?

Layoffs, in and of themselves, should be communicated to the employee as a permanent departure from the company. If circumstances change, you can always contact them and explain your reasons for inviting them back. Never promise future employment to anyone, however, since you cannot predict the future. More importantly, a verbal promise of employment may be considered a contract for employment in legal circles.

Should I consider rehiring laid-off employees?

Whether or not to rehire laid-off employees is mostly a matter of the employer’s judgment. If it’s been less than six months from when you laid off an employee to when you need someone in the position again, it is good practice to rehire the same employee. If the laid-off worker was a good employee overall and had a positive experience with your company, there should be no reason not to rehire them if you need that role in your company again.

Did You Know?

You can hire back laid-off employees if you need them again. However, you should never use layoffs as a cover for terminating problematic employees.

How to communicate reasons for layoffs and/or simultaneous hiring

There are specific avenues you should take when communicating with the employees you are laying off, as well as when informing the rest of the company. 

Communication for exiting employees

Being laid off is never a pleasant experience, and all employers should be mindful, sensitive and patient throughout the process. Anyone in your company who will be delivering the news to laid-off employees needs to know what to include in the notification meeting and how to say it clearly and compassionately.

You, your human resources representative or the employee’s manager should address these five areas in the notification meeting with the employee:

Explain the business rationale for the layoffs — and theirs specifically.

Provide the employee a written letter with all the relevant information, including the effective date and an explanation of the impact on their benefits (e.g., how they will be discontinued).

Explain the details of their severance package.

Tell them about any outplacement services that your company or an organization in your area offers.

Lay out their next steps, such as returning company equipment.

Communication for remaining employees

You and your leadership team should inform the remaining employees that layoffs took place and the reasons behind them. If possible, present this news in person, such as in an all-staff meeting. For large, remote or widely dispersed teams, a video conference may be appropriate.

Follow up the initial announcement with a detailed email to all employees that reinforces what was shared in the meeting. Team leaders, managers and supervisors should pull their teams together to check in, ask if there are any questions, and remind the team to practice self-care. Survivor’s guilt in the wake of layoffs is a real phenomenon that you shouldn’t ignore. Managers should acknowledge this and, if your company offers it, remind their team of your employee assistance program (EAP) services.

Consider these tips for how leaders should communicate with their remaining team members:

Spell out the layoff processes so employees know what those who are being laid off will be experiencing and what the impact on the team will be.

Listen to your team’s concerns, let them vent, and acknowledge their fears with compassion and authenticity.

Describe a future vision for employees, their roles, the team and the company as a whole.

Communication for customers

You may be embarrassed or reluctant to share the news with the public, but your reduction in force could be helpful for customers to know about, particularly if it may impact their service or delivery timing. Provide your managers, sales professionals and any customer-facing staff with scripts on what to say so they are equipped to handle tough conversations.

Maintaining a healthy balance

As an employer, you never look forward to laying off any of your staff. But in the best interest of your entire company, there may be times when layoffs are necessary. 

Approaching the situation with transparency and honesty is one of the best ways you can handle layoffs. Effective communication with your employees can help you maintain positive relationships with them, which can be beneficial if you later have the resources to rehire the ones you laid off.

Additional reporting by Shayna Waltower and Max Freedman.

Hp, Mirapoint Claim Messaging Performance Record

HP and Mirapoint are claiming record performance results for a messaging system combined with network storage.

The companies say the record-breaking architecture, which consists of an HP StorageWorks Disk Array xp128 and Mirapoint Message Server M4000, delivers SPECmail message capacity and performance of 1.25 million SPECmail users — nearly 25% higher than the previous record held by Sun Microsystems — and the ability to support roughly 17 million messages a day.

It is also the first SPEC benchmark result to be performed in a storage area network (SAN) environment, according to the firms. SPECmail is a standardized benchmark developed by messaging vendors and research organizations that measures mail server performance using a real-world workload.

With the breakthrough result, HP and Mirapoint claim their solution addresses the messaging and storage requirements of the largest mobile operators, service providers, and enterprises.

“Messaging is a mission-critical application for our customers that demands more system performance and reliability,” says Rusty Smith, director of StorageWorks Lifecycle Data Management for HP Network Storage Solutions. “As today’s benchmark proves, a messaging solution that harnesses the power and scalability of network storage can handle the most demanding message networks.”

Email is the number one application for business users and has surpassed Web usage in enterprise environments, according to IDC’s Internet Commerce Market Model, March 2002. With ever-increasing volumes of message traffic, coupled with the growth of multimedia content and expanding wireless connectivity, messaging has become a mission-critical and storage-intensive application for businesses.

“Service providers’ demands for carrier-grade messaging solutions are only going to grow with the increasing convergence of data, voice, and wireless networks,” asserts Lawrence Frank, vice president of market development for LogicaCMG. “For this reason, embedding Mirapoint’s messaging systems and HP’s open, modular network storage into our offering provides our customers with a strategic, high-performance platform to meet their needs today and growth plans for the future.”

The SPECmail benchmark was achieved on a SAN consisting of an HP StorageWorks xp128 disk array and Mirapoint Message Server M4000 products connected to a Fibre Channel SAN. HP StorageWorks management tools — including CommandView xp, LUN Configuration and Security Manager xp, and Business Copy xp — enabled control of the storage environment. The solution, powered by six HP ProLiant m1370 servers, sustained a volume of 6,250 SPECmail messages per minute, equivalent to 1.25 million SPECmail2001 users, or roughly 17 million real-world messages per day.

HP and Legato Offer Enterprise Email Archiving

Mirapoint isn’t the only company announcing a messaging partnership with HP this week.

HP and Legato Systems have expanded their partnership to include enterprise email archiving solutions for companies looking to route, store, manage, and retrieve electronic mail information, and to meet heightened regulatory requirements.

HP will resell Legato’s EmailXtender as part of a solution for data storage and retrieval for enterprise email. The EmailXtender family supports Microsoft Exchange/Outlook, Lotus Notes/Domino, Bloomberg Mail, and UNIX Sendmail, as well as instant messaging.

“Already faced with the daunting task of managing the explosive overflow of data due to the growth of instant messaging and email, IT departments now must rapidly adapt to meet strictly enforced regulations offering little room for error,” says IDC Research Manager Robert Mahowald. “HP and Legato can offer enterprises scalable, mature, proven solutions that leverage HP StorageWorks products and professional service capabilities, as well as Legato’s archiving technologies to meet customers’ email archiving needs.”

Sector, a subsidiary of the Securities Industry Automation Corporation (SIAC) and an HP Service Provider Partner, is working with both HP and Legato to help customers comply with new regulatory requirements. Sector provides services that manage the lifecycle of the archives from collection, indexing, and archiving to retrieval.

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