‘Cloud’ technology has been talked about since the mid 90s in various terms. Hosted, SAAS (Software as a service) and lately people have embraced the term CLOUD.
The NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) definition of cloud computing is “cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g. networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”
The main benefits that IT companies talk about when selling cloud is the removal of the reliance on fixed servers, real time access to data, scalability and simple software upgrades.
Although these benefits are acknowledged within the industry, it is important to consider that with cloud solutions there will be monthly charges whether for the application, the data or both. Dependant on the size of the business, often the payback for implementing a local server is seen within 18 months.
It is also important to consider speed of delivery of data. Although we now have the benefit of faster internet connection with leased lines, there will always be a restriction to the speed of the connection whereas with local servers, there would not be this speed consideration.
Many software houses have placed all of their development resource into developing purely cloud based solutions which offer all of the above benefits, but have had to implement various fail safes for the rarity of failure of service. However there are still many businesses out there that for many reasons still require a local server based infrastructure. This could be due to ‘internet’ connectivity reliability, security issues or the fact that it is far easier to utilise integration tools when all software is stored locally.
As a well-established supplier of merchandise management solutions for over 25 years, Eurostop are fully aware of the various delivery methods that our customers require, and this why our solution can be delivered either in the traditional local server method or as a full cloud solution.
Dependant on the estate size, each of these methods has its benefits but what Eurostop enable retailers to do is adjust the method as their requirements grow.
A single store retailer may wish to have a hosted platform as they do not have the technical ability or resource to manage a server, backups and upgrades, but as they grow and reach a larger number of locations, they may want to start integrating other packages and therefore want to take the management of our product and data in house. At the other end of the scale a retailer may already have a server array in their business and wish to install our products onto this array. With cloud only solutions it is normally the provider who decides which Hosting provider you will be working with, and this may still mean that you are having to work ‘cross platform’. The most important thing to remember is that it should be the functionality that is most important to your organisation and not how it is delivered; as Eurostop can offer both.