Four Tips for Choosing the Best Cloud Computing Technology for Your Manufacturing Enterprise
15 May, 2020
As the new manufacturing cycle begins, now is the time to make decisions that will increase productivity levels, equipment efficiency, and product quality. One of the decisions to make is choosing to integrate cloud computing technology to drive manufacturing and revenue growth. The adoption of cloud computing in manufacturing is expected to increase productivity levels by approximately 3% but many manufacturers still struggle with choosing options that fit their business case. A Nutanix research highlighted the fact that 36% of manufacturers using public cloud solutions exceed their budget due to integration challenges. To get cloud spending under control, manufacturers must understand the complexities of cloud adoption, which include security challenges, cloud options, and the effect of increased data production.
This article will discuss:
The different cloud computing technology options available to manufacturers
How manufacturers can choose the best cloud computing solutions that meet budgetary requirements
Cloud computing technology options for manufacturers
Thousands of blogs, whitepapers, and other online articles have provided a comprehensive discussion about cloud computing and the different options available to enterprises. Although diverse types of cloud options exist, the major options available to manufacturers are:
The public cloud
The public cloud refers to cloud computing technologies that are offered by third-party services to manufacturers through the internet. Public cloud solutions also encompass commercial cloud and industrial cloud solutions as long as they are deployed through the public internet. In most cases, public cloud services are managed by the service provider. Thus, the task of managing regular updates and security challenges are left to the vendor providing the service. Popular vendors such as AWS, Microsoft, and Google are known for their public cloud offerings.
The private cloud refers to cloud computing technology services offered to select users of the public through private internal networks or over the internet. Private cloud solutions are sometimes referred to as on-premise cloud ecosystems and, depending on their configurations, management is generally handled by the enterprise and service provider. This means enterprises using private cloud environments need tech-savvy employees to manage certain aspects of their IT infrastructure. It is also worth stating that industrial cloud solutions can also be categorized under the private cloud computing umbrella if the network used is privatized.
The hybrid cloud configuration refers to cloud computing architecture that consists of a mix of on-premise cloud solutions, private, and public cloud services. When deployed or used, orchestration is carried out across the different platforms in the mix. Finally, the industrial cloud refers to cloud computing ecosystems built specifically for industrial niche uses.
Tips for choosing the best cloud computing technology for manufacturing requirements
The increasing number of manufacturers looking to adopt the cloud in 2020 must understand certain important requirements before making a decision. These requirements include the following:
The areas of adoption and features required – For most manufacturers, the integration of cloud computing technologies into shop floors occurs in batches. Some may choose to start using the cloud for only data storage before moving to scheduling and data analytics. Thus, it is important for manufacturing enterprises to first map out the activities they intend to accomplish using the cloud. With these details in place, the search for the best option – the one with the features capable of meeting set requirements – can begin. It is important to note that available features may differ from one vendor to another. Thus, placing a call to discover more about how a vendor’s cloud features meet specific requirements is the recommended way to go.
Assessing budgetary requirements – Spending capacity differs among manufacturers, and in most cases, small enterprises have limited budgets for cloud adoption. Thus, knowing the cost of choosing a public, private, on-premise or industrial cloud solution is the next step to take. With this knowledge from different vendors, an enterprise can easily choose the solution that has the required features while meeting spending limits. Manufacturing enterprises are also expected to plan for increased or reduced computing needs driven by customer demand. A high-performing cloud computing technology should come with scalable resources that do not exceed the set budget.
Storage Requirements – Storage is generally one of the features to look out for as highlighted in the first step. But due to its importance, it deserves its own spot on the list. Manufacturing enterprises are expected to understand the amount of data shop floor assets and processes produce when determining storage requirements. Inaccurate evaluation of manufacturing data storage requirements is one of the leading reasons why enterprises exceed the budget set aside for cloud computing technology.
Cloud service region and location – The effects of downtime or slow network communications affect manufacturing in negative ways. This is why an understanding of what Amazon calls regions and availability zones is required. These availability zones refer to the areas where cloud service providers store the infrastructure that provides the computing resources associated with the cloud. And the closer your facilities are to a region or zone, the more responsive the associated cloud service will be. Thus, it is important to learn more about the service regions of a cloud computing technology vendor before making a choice.
The dynamic nature of manufacturing processes and their different variables makes choosing the best cloud computing technology a personal thing. Thus understanding your enterprise’s manufacturing computing needs and the resources available to meet these needs should determine if an industrial cloud, a private cloud, or the option of going public is the better option.