Cloud-based software and SaaS deployment: What you need to know

One way that many organizations are achieving their goals is by adopting best-in-class tech, including moving to cloud-based software and SaaS models. Inflation, staffing challenges and a hyper-competitive business environment mean more companies are looking at how to reduce costs, minimize risks, increase security and accelerate their return on engineering system investments. Cloud-based software deployment offers numerous benefits – and a few challenges. Let’s take a closer look at some of them, and the considerations involved in deciding which cloud delivery method might be right for your organization.

The benefits of cloud-based deployment

Three key benefits are motivating engineering managers to move complex architectures to the cloud. They are:

  1. Reducing expenses. The SaaS model supports rapid change, enabling users to decrease capital expenses and increase flexibility with operational expenses. This helps minimize the costs associated with staying up to date with trends in the industry.
  2. Managing risk. SaaS and cloud-based approaches are inherently low risk. Organizations can move quickly and employees can work from anywhere with the scalable and accessible infrastructure offered by both cloud and SaaS models. This establishes a global digital backbone that improves cross-site collaboration, data continuity and the ability to work with external partners.
  3. Improving security. Cloud providers consistently develop and push updates for their software, hardware and services. They also provide workflows that incorporate industry best practices, which protects users with a “security first” virtual infrastructure.

Once the decision to move to cloud delivery is made, the next step is to determine which delivery method will best serve the organization’s engineering system needs. Here are the three most common models, each with unique advantages:

  • Customer (self) managed. The organization purchases a regular product license and manages the cloud infrastructure through its own information technology (IT) department or a third party. Customization or configuration capabilities are identical to traditional on-premises installations, and the organization can implement specific authentication solutions, fulfill regulatory requirements and choose to upgrade whenever necessary.
  • Managed services. The organization buys a regular product license and services, but works with the cloud provider’s managed services team to perform customization, configuration, authentication and requirements. The organization can focus on developing its products, while the provider’s IT and cloud experts manage the application and infrastructure.
  • Hybrid SaaS. The organization purchases a subscription for an on-premises product along with cloud services. By sharing software management, a hybrid deployment leverages both the cloud provider’s expertise and the organization’s internal strengths.

How to determine the best cloud deployment option

There is a lot to consider when selecting the most appropriate cloud deployment approach for your organization’s software and solutions portfolio. For example, what hardware resources are needed to support business use cases? What is the cost-benefit trade-off for varying performance levels? What are the resource availability requirements, especially between persistent or reserved resources versus dynamic resources? Should engineers have a reserved or dynamic allocation of resources? And, should these systems be stateful or stateless? There can be a significant advantage to separating data that needs to remain persistent from data that can be handled dynamically.

There are also choices to make around the databases that support engineering applications. Many organizations focus on traditional paid and open database solutions, such as those from Oracle, Postgres and Aurora. However, cloud-managed, databases-as-a-service (DBaaS) are becoming more attractive for the same reasons that SaaS models are becoming popular for engineering applications.

The operating system (O/S) you pick will also have implications for the cloud solution deployed. Each O/S (i.e., Linux or Windows) comes with different costs and support requirements. You must think about whether you have the support or expertise to manage the O/S, or if you will need a simple or multi-tiered system. Can the organization support a multitude of users? Will you clone a master image or stream from a virtual template? Are you going to host a desktop operating experience for each user or provide access to predefined applications? The answers to these types of questions will influence your choice of O/S.

Finally, it’s critical to understand your engineering software requirements and goals upfront before you begin the decision-making process for cloud-based and SaaS deployment. Technology evolves rapidly and your software requirements can change. Capital™ software products, which are part of Xcelerator, the comprehensive and integrated portfolio of software and services from Siemens Digital Industries Software, runs in all three cloud deployment models to provide much-needed flexibility. To learn more, download our new whitepaper Cloud-based software challenges and opportunities or watch the webinar→ Challenges & opportunities around cloud-based software development

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/ee-systems/2022/11/02/cloud-based-software-and-saas-deployment-what-you-need-to-know/