Before we put something on a cloud, let’s think how we can take it off… and I really think this is good idea. Like with backups of early days – you can backup, but can you restore? With all the excitement around cloud computing, all these applications will produce massive amount of data. So, my voice in cloud-oriented technologies will say – how do I access my cloud-located data? Or, in another words – how will this data be available for me as users? For those of you who are already typing the answer to this question as “web services”, please slow down. I’m not talking about how one API will contact another one. My question is specifically how will I be able to manipulate data located somewhere now called http://mydata compared to how I can manipulate data located on c:\ or on \\mysqlserver?
I found two interesting answer on this question. One is service available from salesforce.com, leader of SaaS eco-system This service, called “s2s” or salesforce to salesforce, allows users of salesforce applications to share data between them. This service allows users to integrate data between suppliers, partners, vendors and customers. With four simple steps – Invite, Publish, Subscribe, Collaborate, you can access data across a company’s account. Another example is more technologically crafted – CloudSQL from Zoho, a provider of online collaborative applications. CloudSQL allows you to use the very well-known SQL language to manipulate data between different Zoho applications, such as Zoho Creator, Zoho Reports, and Zoho Projects. What is interesting is that this service claimed to be an expandable middleware able to collaborate with external web services.
Although I’m sure you will be able to find more examples these two are very representative. The problem with data access is recognizable by vendors doing SaaS business and they spent time and effort to provide “access and connection points” to their applications and data behind the cloud. While the salesforce.com example is very end-user oriented, the Zoho example is very oriented on application engineers, service people and other developers, and also leverages today’s widely adopted standards (SQL).
I find both examples, as well as this topic , very relevant for PLM. In most implementations of PLM, data access is a very critical point and can not always be solved easily. So, before we move our data stocks on the cloud, let’s think how we make the data accessible.