Going Cloud Native — Why You Should Investigate Cloud ERP For Your Business
Why should a company go Cloud Native? What is it all about? Is it even worthwhile, since it may require a complete change in a company’s approach towards IT, with the Internet, and with its customers?
In this article, the following will be discussed:
· Cloud-Native — What is it?
· Cloud Technology — A brief overview
· Cloud ERP and applications — Enterprise Resource Planning with common examples
· Cloud Managed Services — The power behind Cloud Native
Cloud Native is a new approach to creating computer applications. When computers were first created, users had to be in the same room as the computer. Typically, there was one computer per user, even in the days of mainframe batch-processing, since only one job could be run at a time. Personal computers and workstations started to proliferate, but with a lot of wasted computing power. Later, computer servers, multi-CPU computer systems and operating systems started to enable multiple jobs at the same time. At about the same time, the Internet started allowing users to connect to computers all over the world, even those with different operating systems (OS). Computing speed increased to the point where there was no longer the feel that a person had to wait for another person’s processing job to finish, but companies were still limited to their own physical computers. Then came the Cloud.
The Cloud is actually not based on anyone set of computer servers, as were earlier corporate intranets and the Internet. Rather, the Cloud is like having an innumerable amount of imaginary computers, virtual machines (VMs), supported in a dynamic Cloud, a supra-computer OS and computing environment, spanning all the servers within the Cloud. Each of those VMs represents a container, able to spawn other containers in microseconds to process applications that in the past were confined to physical computers. In the Cloud, those applications consist of many microservices, which can be auto-started, auto-stopped, and expanded nearly instantaneously, creating immediate scaling any direction as needed. Because the Cloud is not based on anyone computer or data center, it is trans-OS and spans continents, making it quick to respond to needs all around the world. This Cloud technology is no longer subject to a potential single-point of failure, because it is easy to adjust even after losing an entire data-center or server farm without the customers even knowing about the failure.
Cloud-enabled technologies offer great benefits company-based web servers cannot. For example, they come pre-packaged and enabled to work on personal workstations, tablets, laptops, and smartphones. They allow 24–7 secure access to all aspects of a company’s many databases, giving customers and vendors all the data they need to buy, sell, learn about products and services, and interact with them. The CFO can generate detailed reports concerning the corporate bottom line almost as fast as a customer can obtain a PDF statement of account.
Cloud-native microservices are specifically written for Cloud applications using web-centric programming languages, such as HTML, CSS, Java, .Net, PHP, Python, Ruby, and others. This is in contrast to earlier programming languages which were meant to only interact with a physical computer. Based on virtual container structures, the microservices are able to automatically scale up or down according to need. A combination of these container-based microservices are bundled up and tuned to create applications, which can provide any service a company may need.
Cloud managed services, including the omnibus Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), can include all kinds of scalable applications and products that in the past were offered only by niche companies. Common types include:
· Customer Relationship Management (CRM) online access, of which the most commonly used are banking and credit card services. Google, Amazon.com and Alibaba.com are well-known examples. CRM can also handle operations, customer analytics, and sales
· Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) applications start with product conception, engineering, production, clear through product retirement. Boeing, Ford, and other modern manufacturing companies make use of PLM for their parts and products
· Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) is what rocketed WalMart and Costco into huge companies. McDonald’s and other types of chain stores also rely heavily upon SRM applications for just-in-time delivery. This supports all procurement and logistics planning
· Supply Chain Management (SCM) overlaps with SRM, PLM, CRM, and includes distribution centers and shipping
· Human Resources (HR) is the backbone of all corporate workforces
· Accounting has almost been the first computer application for any size of business. In the Cloud, it is much easier to integrate with applications
With Cloud ERP applications able to scale dynamically, computing resources can be more evenly distributed as product cycles and sales seasons change. The various business cycles computationally balance each other seamlessly over the financial year.
Behind Cloud computing, there is the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), launched in 2015 by the Linux Foundation. The CNCF helps to maintain vendor-neutrality, seeks to foster responsible growth and the evolution of the ecosystem, promote Cloud Native technologies, and create industry-recognized certifications for developers and users of its technologies. The main architecture is open-source, which means anybody can examine the computer code for applicability and safety.
Cloud managed services also have very low downtime, usually much less than one-tenth of a percent per year. Another part is when an established ERP supplier is chosen, that company comes in with a suite of applications able to be specially tailored to each company’s needs. If there is a problem because of the way a microservice works, it can be modified fairly quickly and then rolled out without affecting the overall Cloud application.
Going Cloud Native will still not eliminate the need for in-house IT people. Computers still break down, new systems have to be connected to the intranet, employees will also have problems printing to a network-based printer, and people will continue to put their passwords in dumb places. But a growing company that does not start implementing Cloud ERP may soon be left behind by a competitor that does.