Cloud is trending, and PLM vendors are starting to take some advantages of the cloud solutions and infrastructure. The most-recent announcement in the cloud PLM was related to Siemens PLM and TeamCenter. You can find the announcement by navigating to the following link -Teamcenter on the Cloud: Faster Time to Value, Dynamic Scalability and Lower Cost of Ownership. The important part of the announcement was this passage.
Teamcenter on the cloud enables companies to move some, or all, of their computing infrastructure to a third-party cloud service provider versus investing in their own hardware. This gives customers cost effective access to enterprise grade IT infrastructure and resources without the need for capital expenditure. Siemens now supports Teamcenter on three of the leading cloud services, Microsoft Windows Azure, IBM SmartCloud™ Enterprise+ and Amazon Web Services. The company has completed a certification and enablement program for Teamcenter delivered on each of these service provider’s IaaS offerings. The dynamic scalability of Teamcenter on the cloud provides faster time to value and a lower cost of ownership for customers.
You probably noticed magic word “IaaS” in the announcement, which means Infrastructure as a Service. According to Wikipedia, IaaS can be explained as computers or computing resources (CPUs, Virtual Machines, Storages) provided virtually. Here is a passage from Wikipedia to explain that:
In this most basic cloud service model, cloud providers offer computers, as physical or more often as virtual machines, and other resources. The virtual machines are run as guests by a hypervisor, such as Xen or KVM. Management of pools of hypervisors by the cloud operational support system leads to the ability to scale to support a large number of virtual machines. Other resources in IaaS clouds include images in a virtual machine image library, raw (block) and file-based storage, firewalls, load balancers, IP addresses, virtual local area networks(VLANs), and software bundles.
I think the term should be explained. About a week ago, one of the leading analytical companies - Gartner, announced their Magic Quadrant (MQ) for Public IaaS. You can navigate to the following Fobes article to read more. Gartner Public IaaS MQ research is not available via the public link. However, the report was for promoted for free by few companies mentioned by Gartner in the report. So, you can navigate to one of the following links to get (note, you will need to register and leave your contact information to vendors) - Dimension Data or Savvis.
So, the picture below provides a view on Public IaaS providers. In other words, if you need virtual machines, storage and CPU for your solutions, and you are ready not to ask your IT department to provide one, you can go to these companies. In most of the cases for manufacturing companies, your IT people will be involved into making an agreement with one of these companies to expand an existing cloud infrastructure.
I wonder to check where companies mentioned by Siemens PLM announcement appears in Gartner MQ. Amazon is the one and probably cannot be disputed. Amazon Web Services is number one from the standpoint of execution and leadership. However, Amazon can be costly. Gartners mentioned pros and cons of Amazon offering. Amazon has power, resources, capacity and largest network of partners. Note the following passage.
AWS is a price leader, but it charges separately for optional items that are often bundled with competitive offerings, including enterprise-grade support. Prospective customers should be careful to model the costs accurately, especially network-related charges, to normalize comparative costs based on actual compute performance, and to compare the costs of reserved and unreserved capacity.
Interesting enough, another vendor mentioned by Siemens PLM – IBM, was dropped from the list. Gartner didn’t provide specific explanation why it happened. However, Gartner provided general guidance why it can be done. The third IaaS provider (also big name – Microsoft) is not on the list too. Gartner provided an explanation about vendors that were considered by not included. Here is the passage:
There were also providers that did not have public cloud IaaS offerings in general availability by June 2012, but had launched betas. Such providers include Microsoft (which introduced a persistent VM capability into Windows Azure, thereby giving it full IaaS functionality along with PaaS), Google (which introduced Google Compute Engine, an IaaS offering) and HP (which introduced HP Cloud Compute).
What is my conclusion? Big game and big players. IaaS is a mainstream technology today. There are many companies in public space that completely dependent on IaaS infrastructure. Lots of startups (especially on the web) became possible only because of the power and cost of IaaS. PLM vendors are moving there as well. The obvious questions that need to be answered are related to cost, security, certification, availability. Will PLM cloud vendors hide relationships with IaaS vendors in their offering? Siemens PLM didn’t provide any commercial information and requested to contact Siemens directly. In the past PTC did a similar thing with hosting of Windchill via IBM. Aras made an agreement with Microsoft Azure. Dassault didn’t provide clear explanations. Some of Dassault solutions are available as SaaS one 3D Store. Other companies like Arena and Autodesk PLM 360 are providing their solution as SaaS offering. There is no obvious decision. Make your analyses and check options. Just my thoughts…
picture courtesy of IBM IaaS Smart Cloud website.