In the past, I already discussed many cloud-related topics. Today, I want to get “down to the earth” and ask your opinion about PLM system architecture that will follow successfully future cloud development and architecture.
My thought is that key enablers that will support PLM movement on cloud from the architecture standpoint, will be an ability to support dynamic collaboration between PLM system components and other elements of Cloud infrastructure. When I’m thinking about how to enable PLM for cloud, I don’t see one ultimate holy grail product that can enable everything we need. I do see a flexible combination of services that can be re-used and assembled to provide a specific customer solution. Similar to EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) in the past and SOA/ESB today, I think PLM services on the cloud will be a right way to go.
In addition, I think, we need to keep in mind three important characteristics of these components to make PLM cloud services successful:
Whatever services supposed to do, they need to enable a particular PLM content to become available on cloud – Design Assembly, Product Requirement, Bill of Material etc. When I’m thinking about content enabling, I think to apply REST architecture will be very beneficial to deliver right content in the way customer or service supplier can integrate on cloud.
In order to make it efficient, we need to think with “context in mind”. It means all content services need to be enabled to act in the context of a particular process or other services. This will allow to build flexible adaptable applications.
Finally, when we have REST services able to deliver content and able to act in a context, we need to think what will be a glue that connects everything together. I envision cloud integration services allows to bind services together. We already have movement in the market of Integration on Cloud services, and I think this segment will grow in the future.
Finally, I don’t think, future PLM on cloud will remain complex and not-separated set of products. So, don’t expect “PLM cloud” in the future. However, you can expect dynamic collaborative PLM infrastructure on cloud.