Enterprise Applications: the Writing is in the Cloud

Posted by Dan Pigat on Nov 23, 2012 3:13:00 PM

Written by Dan Pigat, Director of Product Management

Cloud computing is not just a new technology buzzword but a logical and inevitable software path, enabled by the power of the Internet. Migrating applications to the cloud gives companies a more flexible model for supporting and deploying corporate applications. Employees can access critical applications anytime, anywhere. IT departments can quickly dial server capacity up or down to handle more users or apps. And, centralized access and deployment gives IT managers more control, especially over BYOD devices. These days, every software firm is jumping on the bandwagon to prove how their solution fits in, bringing about a new trend in “cloud-washing.”

But before an enterprise makes the leap to the cloud, there is some complexity to navigate and decisions to make:

  • How do we structure our cloud? There are a variety of options for corporate cloud structures: public clouds that share server infrastructure (like Amazon Web Services), private clouds with the peace of mind of a corporate firewall, or a hybrid strategy. We recommend this IBM whitepaper and cloud structure overview as helpful resources to dig into the pros and cons of each option.
  • What about security? Security is critical and must be considered at three stages: where the data resides on the server, while data is in transit, and finally, on the mobile device or laptop. This usually involves a number of security layers including network security, SSL encryption, authentication measures, and wiping mobile devices on a regular basis. Just like an armored truck leaving the bank, high security is needed from the moment the cash leaves the door to the end delivery destination.
  • How do I migrate my mission-critical, interactive, high-performance applications? This is where things get tricky, but it’s also the most important component because without your critical corporate applications, you aren’t taking full advantage of the power of the cloud.

High performance applications are tricky to move to a cloud because they typically feature large amounts of sensitive, heavy, visualization data and a high degree of user interactivity. Think of medical imaging software, computer-aided design, and geological modeling software. These apps require a level of performance that is tough to achieve in a web-based or cloud environment. Downloading this type of big data to a mobile device or laptop browser makes the user experience slow, cumbersome and clunky. And of course, the security risks of losing a laptop with this type of sensitive, corporate data can be at best an inconvenience and at worse, a significant confidentiality breach.

As a result, very few high-performance applications are cloud enabled. In fact, the health sector, traditionally a technology laggard, is leading the world with cloud-hosted medical imaging software powered by Calgary Scientific’s PureWeb product.

Our PureWeb technology offers a new migration path for interactive desktop and server applications, including those with intensive CPU/GPU requirements. The PureWeb software transformation kit preserves the existing business logic of these applications and exposes their full functionality on web and mobile devices, from the cloud. It also enables multiple users to connect simultaneously to the application to collaborate on the data – a feature that is often unavailable in many desktop applications, let alone cloud applications. And we tackle all of this without moving the data from behind your corporate or cloud-provider firewall, so it never gets downloaded to a mobile device. In effect, our armored truck never leaves the bank.

Just as the writing was on the wall for mainframe applications when workstations and PCs matured in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the same is true for migrating enterprise applications to the cloud. The writing is in the cloud for enterprise applications, it’s only a matter of time.

Next week, our team will be showcasing PureWeb at Amazon Web Services’ re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, Nevada from November 27-29th. We’d love to see you there, so please stop by booth #706.

Tags: Blog