How will PLM applications change when they move to a cloud?

How will PLM applications change when they move to a cloud?

Clouds have become a very important trend lately. Earlier this week, I was reading a McKinsey discussion about document presentation – <Clearing the air on cloud Computing>. Also, I had the chance to write a few posts on this subject a couple of months ago. I’d like to get back to this topic again and discuss its potential implication on the PLM/PDM/CAD business. I’d like to group it into hardware, software, application, and innovation.


Impact in the area of hardware infrastructure will allow you to provide better solutions from the environmental standpoint. Additional impact will be on data management and data retention programs. The biggest benefit and impact is that cloud data centers will allow you to manage an infrastructure that you weren’t able to manage previously. It will make a global PLM solution possible and decrease cost. It will allow many small manufacturers to have solutions they weren’t able to build before.

From the perspective of software platforms, today’s PLM vendors and future PLM solutions providers will be able to use the capabilities of existing and new cloud services. This is a new type of software that focuses on virtualization and common application services like databases and services. A great benefit of these platforms is the ability to scale up when needed. This is can be greatly used by simulation and computation products, as well as serve peak performance needs.

Here is a landscape of most popular today’s platforms:


Hardware and Software Platforms will open a new space for the development of service applications. These applications will be specifically designed with the “cloud in mind”. They will focus on online presence, transparent data availability and multiple device access. Additional benefits will be a dramatic cost reduction for PLM applications as a result of cloud hardware/software bundled platforms.

Last, but not least, is Innovation in PLM. Today’s on-premise environment sets a relatively high bar for newcomers in developing new and innovative applications in this space. I think that the combined effect of hardware, software and application development will impact the future PLM application landscape. This be largely beneficial for manufacturing companies around the globe during the current economic situation.


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  • oleg,

    good content in the post on cloud infrastructure, but doesn’t really get to the heart of the question posed in the title “how will PLM applications change when they move to the cloud?”

    seems like the systems that have been around for 10+ yrs (wc, tc, m1, et al) are fundamentally not designed for this type of environment. for example use of the jri/rmi (remote method invocation) style arch which randomly opens multiple ports simultaneously.

    this is just one example and there are many others that will mean that the major plm provider’s systems will require a complete rewrite in order to take advantage of cloud architectural requirements.

    great to write about it now, but seems like will be years before anyone other than Aras can actually run in the cloud (which Aras can do now because it’s a true internet arch, not an internet enabled client server system). what’s your take?


  • Marc,

    Existing systems will need to make evolution to new type of environments and platforms. This is my point related to software platform.
    One aspect of that is the ability to use database services, hosted/service platforms etc.
    Second aspect is design for global (internet) scale. Most of PLM systems today (and in my view Aras is not different) designed with database state of mind. This is wrong assumption when you look on this from internet architecture data approach. When you design database for organization, you assume that you can define all you need and this is finite model of your organization. The problem of this approach is that this approach cannot scale up.
    But may be my knowledge of Aras is insufficient. What you mean by “true internet arch” of Aras?


  • i agree completely with your id of the problem with the current plm systems being that ‘when you design data database for organization, you assume that you can define all you need and this is finite model of your organization. problem of this approach is that cannot scale up.’

    that’s why Aras is model-based (i.e. dynamic schema) which means that it can continuously change, scale-up and out. the dynamic schema approach also means that in the cloud the system can adapt to new requirements w/o constant re-implementation other systems require (i.e. old approach you id like tc, wc, m1, etc).

    is this what you were getting at?


  • Marc, do you have some practical examples of how dynamic schema solves problems of adapting to new requirements w/o re-implementation? This is probably the most critical piece of implementation process… Regards, Oleg

  • sure thing, one example is the ability to modify a business item based on new corporate needs. for instance, structural concepts was using aras for plm engineering processes and realized that new products would require the sales team to do more up-front configuration.

    structural literally added a new object on the fly called quote and created a workflow for this which tied in engineering for config options. the engineering manager did this himself. the schema was adapted w/o dynamically and the process updated automatically as they expand over time.

    to watch a short video example of this visit

    the dynamic schema means that no matter where the system is (in cloud or on premise) it can be done real time without coding / re-implementation which makes aras able to continuously adapt to changing business circumstances.

    also, if you want a case study PDF on structural you can get here

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