|Issue 1, 2012||Download pdf|
Getting value from the Cloud today with Software AG
Have you noticed how everyone is talking about the weather recently? To the uninitiated, all this talk of Cloud may be seen as a warning message, a premonition of overcast skies, doom and gloom. Yet even to those better read-up on the topic, it is sometimes extremely difficult to cut through the marketing spin and determine what the real vision is. And it’s nigh-on impossible to understand how the cloud can be leveraged today. So let’s take a look at how you can already use Software AG’s products to support and enable your organization’s cloud strategy.
Software AG Cloud-Ready
Software AG has been developing its Cloud strategy for several years now and one of the first tangible outcomes of this is the release of Software AG Cloud-Ready. This certification of Software AG products on leading virtualization platforms brings the Cloud one step closer as a first-class environment in which to run our software. Previously, many customers were deterred from running Software AG products in virtualized environments because the onus would be on them to reproduce an issue on a physical environment if the suspicion arose that the virtualization platform itself may be causing issues with our software. Now, we have tested and certified and fully support the following Cloud platforms:
- Private Cloud: VMWare
- Public Cloud: Amazon EC2
- Hybrid Cloud: HP cCells (from summer 2012)
With most enterprise applications still residing in on-premise data centers, you may wonder how you can benefit from this, with many Software AG products being inherently related to integration-centric scenarios. Here are some examples of real use-cases that could be the starting point for leveraging your Software AG products in a Cloud environment.
Software AG Cloud-Ready uses standard Software AG licenses which you may already possess. Check with your Software AG Account Manager whether your license already allows deployment in the Cloud.
Cloud-Ready is available with webMethods 8.2 SP2 and ARIS 7.2. Check the System Requirements documents for precise details of supported platforms at
Project Development Environment
After months of planning and lobbying decision-makers, a new BPM or integration project is approved. A team is quickly assembled and needs to deliver results within six months. The project manager requests the IT department to set up a few new servers for their webMethods development environment, but is told there is a lead-time of eight weeks due to…
- capital expenditure approvals,
- internal procurement procedures,
- delivery time by the hardware vendor,
- time needed for installation in the data center.
Obviously this will have severe impact on the project team’s ability to maintain their momentum from the planning phase and deliver what the business wants on-time.
While this example highlights several difficulties that cause lack of “infrastructure agility”, the Cloud offers a real agile alternative. By hosting such a development environment in the Cloud, the team can get up and running much more quickly, handling the entire development cycle infrastructure as operational expenditure within the project budget. The company can use standard webMethods development licenses and remain fully supported by Software AG.
A company has outsourced field maintenance activities and wants to better manage the work tasks assigned to the maintenance company. They decide to build a workflow system that receives tasks from their ERP system and assigns them to the field maintenance contractors. The contractors’ planners can assign tasks to individual field engineers, allowing them to exchange all vital information they need to complete the task. Once complete, the results are passed back to the company’s ERP system. Such a BPMS implementation has a number of characteristics that make it particularly suitable for deployment in the Cloud:
- Human centric – most steps are related to human interaction rather than system interaction.
- External access – external parties (the field maintenance contractor) need access to the system.
- Agility – the company wants to easily bring in new contractors at short notice.
Deploying webMethods BPMS on a Cloud platform will help overcome several of the typical challenges in such an implementation, such as opening up access to external partners to an internally hosted environment. The human-centric nature (relatively little system integration) of this example makes it better suited for Cloud deployment than BPMS projects that have many touch-points with internal applications which would require more complex integration with a Cloud-hosted environment.
A manufacturing company needs to maintain connections with an extensive and ever-changing list of trading partners including customers, suppliers and supply-chain partners. Handling this on-premise can be a challenge as the IT department needs to balance the need for tight security with agility and continuity of operation. Constantly updating firewalls and proxies as the partner landscape changes can be time-consuming and error-prone.
Implementing a webMethods B2B gateway on a Cloud platform can help alleviate some of these challenges.
- The IT department only needs to maintain one stable and secure connection between internal systems and B2B gateway.
- The gateway capacity can easily be scaled up and down in line with seasonal influences.
- It is easy to allow trading partners’ self-service access to the gateway to help them track their own transactions and maintain their own partner profile data.
Organizations are gradually exploring the possibilities of the Cloud. They often start by moving secondary business applications to SaaS-based alternatives from traditional on-premise applications. They use Salesforce.com for CRM, or OpenAir for time and expense management. This shift brings with it a need to integrate on-premise systems with Cloud-based applications.
The use of webMethods Integration Platform makes it easy to integrate on-premise applications seamlessly with Cloud applications. Most SaaS-providers have standards-based APIs for getting data and transactions to and from their applications, and webMethods’ extensive web service and REST capabilities, along with Mediator for security and SLA management, form an excellent foundation for such integrations. And our first-generation Cloud adapter, specifically for Salesforce.com, makes it even easier to connect to that particular platform.
During the coming year or two you can expect to see some exciting new developments that make the move to the Cloud even more attractive for Software AG customers:
- ARIS-in-the-Cloud will be Software AG’s first SaaS offering, providing customers with a one-stop-shop for a modeling collaboration platform.
- CloudStreams will be Software AG’s Cloud integration solution, bringing together easy-to-configure cloud service capabilities with governance, monitoring and management to allow for secure integration with a wide range of SaaS applications.
- Command Central will be a new central administration and configuration tool that unifies the management and monitoring of all webMethods runtime components, providing easy control and automation of Cloud-based installation, configuration and deployment.
- Architectural transformation is something we started a couple of releases ago, but you might not even have noticed. By gradually componentizing our products – taking great care not to cause upgrade problems for our customers – we are making our products much more Cloud-enabled, providing better scalability, manageability and reliability to suit Cloud platforms as well as traditional on-premise installations.
- Extreme Collaboration is a new theme that brings together structured and unstructured business data, providing context and meaning to all stakeholders, both inside and outside the organization. Its ultimate goal is to lower the barrier for collaboration while filtering and focusing knowledge in order to avoid information overload. You can read more about the vision of Extreme Collaboration in Software AG’s Cloud Manifesto.
Read more about Cloud, including Software AG’s Cloud Manifesto at www.softwareag.com/cloud