When customers think of moving their Enterprise Information Management (EIM) to the cloud – the question is not so much whether or not to do it – as it is what type of cloud to use and how soon can they start.
Recently at the AIIM First Canadian Chapter seminar in Toronto, we talked about managing information in a cloud world. With so many cloud models– like Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, multi-tenant SaaS and dedicated cloud managed services, customers can easily get overwhelmed and confused about what’s right for their business needs.
Let’s simplify the different models with a building analogy:
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is like a piece of zoned land with utility hookups where you can build a house – there’s a company that takes care of sewers, electrical, phone lines, etc.. If there is a problem with the services you contact the company. If there’s a problem with the house – that’s your responsibility. Many times it is up to you to assess whether the problem is with the house or the infrastructure.
- Platform as a service (PaaS) is like a mobile home park, where there are shared services used by all residents, but individual land plots are rented on a timed basis. The common areas are updated all at once with some notice from the park. You may make some changes to your own trailer, but some changes are prohibited and others may need to be approved.
- Software as a service (SaaS) is like a condo building, where you own your own part of it, but it’s within a shared environment including several other units. Many of the building facilities are shared – there is one set of heating and cooling equipment, one pool, one garage, etc. and this provides economies of scale. Within your own unit some adjustments can be done, but there are restrictions – for instance you can increase or decrease the temperature, but only within a defined range.
- Dedicated (sometimes called hosted) is where you own the land and the home and have virtually complete autonomy, within minimal guidelines. Facilities within the house are dedicated only to this one house. When changes are required you are responsible, and can bring in help (managed services).
- On-premises is like a cottage, where you need to deal with a lot of the services yourself, such as water and septic systems. You can bring in someone to help, but it’s ultimately all your responsibility. Upgrades here may be more of a challenge.
- Managed services is like having a property manager, cloud or on-premises, to augment your own efforts (or that of your staff). Managed services saves you time and ensures an expert is managing for you.
- Hybrid (cloud to cloud, cloud to on-premises integrated scenarios) — is like owning a condo or a house and driving to a cottage. You have different levels of service at each location but they share information.
So what type of cloud is right for your EIM applications and solutions? The answer is – it depends on what your IT team has the resources to do – and what use cases you have.
While providing some benefits of cloud, IaaS and PaaS still leave a lot for customers to do – they still have to manage their own middleware, security patching, and the applications themselves. The level of work on the application is similar to what it is when operated in the organization’s own data center.
SaaS can be a great answer for specified use cases. It can provide agility and ease of operation with applications that meet a defined set of requirements. Applications such as OpenText™ Core, LEAP, Active Applications, Axcelerate and Extream fulfill use cases for many organizations in several industries.
In many other cases, Dedicated or Hybrid cloud may be the key to meeting your business needs. In fact, according to Gartner: “The increased use of multiple public cloud providers, plus growth in various types of private cloud services, will create a multicloud environment in most enterprises and a need to coordinate cloud usage using hybrid scenarios.”¹
Most of our Enterprise ECM customers have multiple use cases and requirements which may that lead them to prefer dedicated or hybrid deployment. Some want control over timing for patching and upgrades, some have high availability, security, data sovereignty, data protection or corporate directives that necessitate a dedicated environment.
For instance, our Life Sciences customers are working on life-changing innovations to cure disease and help people live longer, better lives. Many prefer to protect their Research & Development content in a private cloud dedicated environment, while utilizing SaaS for collaboration on clinical trial data. They don’t want a traditional multi-tenant SaaS model because they don’t want unnecessary patches or upgrades forced upon them in the middle of a big clinical trial or new drug launch.
Some of our Energy and Engineering customers are using digital innovations to improve their resource recovery rates and reduce risk. They want their Standard Operating Procedures and other propriety information managed in a private cloud, while having their project-specific content such as drawings and memos that need to be viewed by partners and subcontractors through a SaaS application. The good news is that with OpenText™ Cloud Managed Services, we can provide fully managed solutions in dedicated private or hybrid scenarios, and also provide SaaS applications so businesses have flexibility to meet their business needs.
OpenText manages the full stack and all the application related pieces– including:
- Security patching
Because the OpenText Cloud is purpose-built to support our applications, OpenText provides 99.5% availability at the application level – backed by an SLA, and certifications such as ISO and SOC up to and including the applications.
For more information use Contact OpenText on the blog site or here.
¹ “ Market Trends: Cloud Adoption Trends Favor Public Cloud With a Hybrid Twist,” Gartner, August 4, 2016.