The outlook for enterprise engineering data: cloudy?
Engineering enterprises are producing ever more complex products in shorter time cycles. The inevitable consequence of this is the creation of substantially more data. Many of the enterprises Rocket work with are transferring terabytes of highly confidential design data every month.
The typical model is the OEM passes requirements, which are often in the form of large CAD designs, to their suppliers. The supplier then processes the data and returns it to the OEM. The whole “round trip” generates data with every iteration of the design.
Rocket’s Managed File Transfer (MFT) products are designed to facilitate and support rapid iterations between the extended design team by making the transfer process as rapid and invisible as possible. Many operations, which are specific to each OEM/supplier relationship, are performed on the round trip including encryption, data translations and transmission.
Some of the crucial requirements for MFT are:
- There is an unequivocal audit trial to ensure that the data is always in a known location
- While in transit the data is secured by industry standard data protection
- The transmission of the data is carried out with the maximum efficiency ensuring if a network fault occurs the transfer can “restart” without user intervention
- CAD file translation is handled as a background activity and thus the user is not required wait for processing to complete.
What are the issues to wholesale adoption of cloud based enterprise engineering data?
- Infrastructure: current network technology for transmission of data is often asymmetric. For ‘round tripping data’ it is important that both download and upload transmission speed is a rapid as possible.
- Culture: quite possibly the biggest block to the adoption of cloud technologies for engineering data is cultural. In the US the population, as a whole, are much more comfortable with the notion of storing data in a remote “cloud” which they don’t perceptibly own. However, in Europe is concept is viewed with some level skepticism. We see the same reticence in European enterprises to host their data (and to some extent applications) outside the walls of their enterprise.
So the challenge is to sufficiently ensure that data stored off-site is secure and private in the perception of the owner of the data.
In my next post, I will discuss the pros and cons of private clouds.