Saturday, November 12, 2011

PLM in a Cloud : Limitation and Approach

For last couple of years we are lot of buzz is created regarding cloud computing and its promised benefits. Still required to be seen its benefit as word are going around as Enterprise are still struggling to get best way to approach it. As with other domain in IT, PLM in a cloud is also hot topic around in PLM world. Well lot of noise about its obvious benefits and cost saving, but there is basic different on PLM to other areas. In this blog I will discuss this limitation and some architect approach to implement PLM in cloud.
PLM Cloud Limitation:
When we talk about PLM, it not just includes information stored in byte as Meta data somewhere in database. It is much more than just discrete Meta data. It include product information which can be Big CAD geometric file which can in hundred of MB or can be some excel information storing some patented engineering information. Also all this complex data files are associated through relation provided by different PLM tools. So making these diverged files available in cloud itself is a big challenge. Secondly PLM is usually fully implemented by mid size to big corporation whose main objective is to stream line product development and safe guard know how rather than cost saving on this critical IT piece. So looking at the above aspect probably full offering of PLM in cloud will not be a good idea. To summarize this are the limitation of PLM in a cloud.

  • PLM is not just about metadata. The major chunk is vault or file management. Managing this files which can be as big as some hundred MB is difficult.

  • Company will be reluctant to have their core product knowledge information in cloud.

  • PLM is cluster of different tool which make the overall PLM system in any organization. This cluster of tool can be varied from Enterprise to Enterprise. Offering homogenous PLM tool in a cloud can’t solve the problem.

  • Full implementation of PLM is usually done by mid to large size enterprises with deep pocket. Cost saving can’t be only reason to move to cloud.

Having said that, still there is scope of implementing PLM in cloud with some clever architect and defining it scope. For example vendor collaboration can be done through Cloud so that they don’t required to access you core PLM system or network. I am proposing some PLM cloud architect which can come some of limitation.

PLM in a Cloud Architect proposal :
Option 1 : Vault in local environment and PLM in a cloud :
This can solve the problem of transferring data from cloud to local environment. For example CAD data which can Mega bytes. Also Company will feel more secure as their core product information lies with in Enterprise Network.

Option 2 : Partial PLM in a Cloud for Collaboration :
This can be effective use for vendor collaboration as well for multi site environment. This will help the enterprise to define access in a better way

Conclusion: Although Cloud computing is a promising technology, but looking from PLM it has some limitation as discussed in the blog. But still if we apply right approach on implementing it rather than going with full PLM in a cloud, enterprise can still leverage advantage of cloud. I discuss two conceptual approaches for it. I am sure there will many other approaches for it. I welcome all to comment and discuss on this topic.


  1. Thanks for the informative post.

    PLM programs assist enterprises in taking care of the growing complication and technical demands of producing unique products for the broad commercial sector.

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