PLM Providers Head to the Cloud
Design News (04/12) Stackpole, Beth
A growing number of PLM and design tool providers believe now is the time to start transitioning core engineering systems to the cloud to effect global collaboration and to offer more cost-effective and scalable ways of deployment. The underlying idea of the cloud is the leveraging of highly scalable and pooled computing resources to give organizations the flexibility to scale processing power up and down according to need, and to make it unnecessary to invest in expensive dedicated server, networking, storage, and datacenter equipment along with the dedicated staff and talent to operate and manage the systems. The PLM sector's relatively slow adoption of cloud technology is mostly attributable to companies' reluctance to entrust core research and development and engineering intellectual assets to servers and services based outside the safeguards of their own network domains and security infrastructures. In addition, many shops harbor doubts that resource-hungry, graphics-intensive applications such as CAD and simulation can perform optimally in a cloud-based architecture, given the architecture's reliance on the broad availability of high-speed bandwidth. However, organizations are becoming more comfortable with the cloud model for other applications, while the introduction of cloud-based strategies by leading PLM vendors over the last year also is helping spur organizations' reconsideration of the PLM model. For example, in 2011, Dassault Systemes launched a multi-pronged cloud effort that includes an arrangement with Amazon Web Services to provide the infrastructure-as-a-service, a strategic investment in startup software-as-a-service provider Outscale, and 3DStore, its own online store.