Will enterprise PLM embrace hybrid cloud?

February 15, 2013

Cloud is trending and we can see more examples of how cloud technologies applies in business. PLM vendors are not standing aside from the cloud. You may see different ways PLM companies are developing their cloud PLM strategies. It starts from public cloud offering coming from Autodesk PLM 360 and Arena and ends up with Siemens PLM Teamcenter leveraging IaaS, Windchill hosted by IBM and Dassault Enovia presenting their solutions as "online system".

What is important is to look on customer realities these days. Let’s face the facts. Almost every manufacturing company these days have a significant amount of enterprise software deployed in house. The larger company you go, you discover more enterprise system managed by company IT. While cloud can be promising opportunity, co-existence of public cloud systems and existing IT can become a problem and impact the speed of cloud deployments and developments. In such context, development of "hybrid clouds" can become an interesting option, in my view.

Earlier today, my attention was caught by Rackspace article – Rackspace Study: The Case for Hybrid cloud. Rackspace is a growing outfit specialized in hosting and cloud infrastructure. Read the article and make your opinion. The following passage explains in a nutshell the idea:

One big trend that has gained considerable momentum with these large organizations is the use of hybrid clouds, which is basically the usage of cloud from an IaaS provider alongside other platforms in order to deliver an application or workload to several users. Hybrid clouds bring a number of different advantages to enterprises, such as the ease of spinning resources up and down , and the cost efficiency of being able to pay for the capacity on an hourly or monthly basis instead of being tied down to a specific billing plan. What’s even better is that it allows for the greatest flexibility when the virtualization technology vendors started offering built in support for moving live virtual machines across a network, as it allows a straightforward means of transitioning applications and workloads between sites.

Take a look on a picture below. Rackspace is building a case for the multi-site hybrid cloud. Here is the explanation provided by Rackspace:


Rackspace defines a multi-site hybrid cloud is one that involves attaching existing IT infrastructure to a public cloud provider via a private leased line or a public internet connection. The main advantage to a hybrid cloud is that it allows existing infrastructure, including legacy hardware and code that are otherwise expensive and disruptive to replace. However, this doesn’t come without a catch, as it greatly limits control over geography and may result in increased latency as distance between sites increase, not to mention includes additional time and expense meant for provisioning network connections and reliability of inter-site communication, when compared to pure cloud implementations.

I found this idea interesting. Every IT in a large organization is looking how to optimize cloud deployment without disrupting the existing IT servers rooms. Hybrid cloud can be a good solution for that. Another aspect is security. In my view, hybrid cloud can provide some advantages to IT and large companies to keep some their servers more protected.

What is my conclusion? IT is a blocker to cloud technologies in many companies these days. Even if IT understands the value of the cloud technologies, it provides too much disruption to existing IT infrastructure and future strategies. So, Rackspace is spot on. Hybrid cloud can be a potential way to mitigate a potential concerns of IT about public cloud. Note to companies looking for PLM solutions. While public cloud can provide a clear strategic advantage in terms of resource optimiaztion, Hybrid cloud can be an interesting option and intermediate steps towards exploration of cloud technologies for larger manufacaturing firms. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Who will clone existing PLMs to the cloud?

December 20, 2012

The discussion about PLM and cloud is moving to the levels where "details become important". In my view, many customers today are moving from "why cloud?" to "how we can leverage cloud?" type of questions. Cloud has many faces. In my previous blog post – PLM and the diversity of cloud options, I discussed how multiple cloud deployment options can be used for PLM – IaaS, PaaS, SaaS. Different PLM vendors are choosing different strategies. Here are some examples – TeamCenter is choosing IaaS, Aras decided for PaaS and Autodesk PLM360 is SaaS.

PLM industry is coming to the cloud with the a heavy baggage of technologies and products developed for the last 15-20 years. The existing PLM products and amount of customer investments into PLM program can raise valid questions about how to leverage these assets in the cloud. I’ve been reading TechCrunch article about CloudVelocity startup – CloudVelocity Launches With $5M From Mayfield To Bring The Hybrid Cloud To The Enterprise. Here is the interesting passage:

Users can discover, blueprint, clone, and migrate applications between data centers and public clouds. Currently, CloudVelocity supports full server, networking, security and storage integration with AWS but plans to integrate other public clouds, such as RackSpace in 2013. The beta trial of the Developer Edition cloud cloning software allows users to clone multi- tier app clusters and services, without modification into the Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 cloud. The Enterprise Edition enables users to clone, migrate and failover multi-tier apps and services into the AWS EC2 cloud.

The article made me think more about hybrid cloud and opportunity to expand existing PLM implementations to the cloud. Imagine, you can clone your existing PLM implementation and move it to AWS or RackSpace cloud? It allows you to build a secured environment to expand your PLM deployment into additional services. Here is a possible example. Many companies have BOM management implementation done as part of basic PDM/PLM programs. Future expansion of these services to NPI or Service Management requires additional resources and global availability. By "cloning" existing BOM management implementation to the cloud you can future expand to additional services.

However, I can see potential problems too. Many PDM/PLM environments have tight connections with desktop CAD applications. How to clone these environments to the cloud? This is a good question to ask.

What is my conclusion? The interest of customers to leverage cloud is growing. Still, many customers see cloud is a potential to implement something that they cannot do today with traditional PLM programs. Sometimes it is infrastructure limitations such as global deployment and sometimes it is related to cost implied into growing PLM deployment. I can see a growing opportunity to provide a technology enabling "to clone" existing PLM program to the cloud with future growth. It can be interesting option. So, dear PLM developers, somebody will clone you tomorrow in the cloud. What do you think about that? Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of [Victor Habbick] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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