Picking the right cloud model for a manufacturing organization

The cloud offers many potential benefits for manufacturing organizations, but certain companies might require a specific type of cloud network, depending on their overall needs.
By Goran Novkovic October 14, 2017

One of the biggest benefits to manufacturing organizations from the use of cloud computing is the ability to rapidly acquire and implement cloud-based solutions. This increased business agility results from removing the time required to rationalize new capital costs, the time and capacity required to put necessary cloud infrastructure in place.

A cloud infrastructure is the collection of hardware and software that enables the essential characteristics of cloud computing. To make this as simple as possible, the cloud infrastructure can be viewed as combination of a physical layer and an abstraction layer. The physical layer consists of the hardware resources that are necessary to support the cloud services being provided. It typically includes network, storage and server components. The abstraction layer consists of the software deployed across the physical layer, which manifests the essential cloud characteristics. Conceptually speaking, the abstraction layer is sitting on the top of physical layer.

There are different types of cloud deployment and cloud service models that can be implemented depending on manufacturing needs and application specific requirements. Each of the cloud models has specific advantages and disadvantages that are relative to the other models. Cloud is definitely not for every type of business and operational process nor every organizational need.

The types of cloud services selected and how they are managed is critical. Thinking strategically about costs and benefits and risks is paramount and must be done first. The most common reason not to move to the cloud is a perceived cost of the customization. This perceived cost outweighs the benefits of the cloud solutions in the minds of many manufacturing professionals. The thought may lead to a decision that cloud computing is not good for the manufacturing organization, and not really the optimal solution when comparing it to other solutions on the market.

There are four different types of cloud networks: Private, public, hybrid, and community, and each have their own benefits for manufacturing companies. Courtesy: MESA InternationalThe technology landscape for manufacturing is changing. The landscape for computing and how information technology is delivered to manufacturing organizations is changing, too. So, what we should do about that? First of all, waiting for good things to happen isn’t going to save you any time or resources in the long run. Start drafting strategies and flow charts to utilize advantages and benefits of cloud computing. Determine what kind of cloud services you need and what cloud models will work the best for your manufacturing needs. The four different models for manufacturing organizations are: 

  • Private: The organization has its own private cloud
  • Public: The organization share its cloud with the general public
  • Hybrid: A combination of cloud deployment models
  • Community: Manufacturing organization shares its cloud with other organizations that have similar interests.

With cloud computing, most think about the internet. It is certainly true that cloud computing can be offered to manufacturing organizations over the internet. However, it is also true that cloud computing can be offered within a manufacturing organization running on its own infrastructure. 

Goran Novkovic, MESA International. This article originally appeared on MESA International’s blog. MESA International is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.