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AGILE SCM CLOUD – What could it mean?

First of all I must let you all – the readers, know that this is the first of the three parts blog on Agile SCM Cloud.  So please stay tuned for the “AGILE SCM CLOUD – Why do we need one?” and “AGILE SCM CLOUD – How to implement one?

We are living in great times as far as Information Technology is concerned. There is a wave of information explosion and a corresponding need to process it efficiently and effectively. For example, search for new energy source or satellite downloads for weather forecasting. On the other hand almost contrasting to the computing needs Moore’s law is reaching its limits considering atomic sizes of the transistors leading to dual, quad and 8 core processors. Companies like Intel are even rolling out instruction sets to support multiple operating systems. All of this has an impact on the way we have been computing so far – a piece of software tied to a piece of hardware and both of these tied to a business need. We are now thinking of dynamic environments that grow and shrink to meet the demands. Not to mention the biz terms like Grid Computing, Virtualization, Software-as-a-Service, Utility Computing, Green Computing and Cloud Computing in that order to go with it.

Google and Amazon are promoting Cloud Computing (which was not so long ago known as utility computing) that involves hosting an application stack on a leased infrastructure that dynamically adapts to reflect the load based on the quality of service promised to the users. Nati Shalom of GigaSpaces will propose a new space-based architecture for your cloud-applications. Appistry will provide you an enterprise application fabric for the same reason. Further, Larry Elison calls Cloud Computing “complete gibberish and insane” and that it is a “fashion driven” term.  I don’t blame him for his frankness.

In essence, there are pro-cloud evolutionists and anti-cloud vigilantes. I will leave it to the CIO’s and CEO’s to decide on what Cloud Computing should really mean. To me, it is a term that is still confusing and yet evolving but at the same time has some very interesting ideas. 
How about extrapolating Cloud Computing ideas to SCM domain? How about an SCM Cloud? Wouldn’t it be cool to have an all-SCM-functionalities-encompassing cloud? Wouldn’t it be nice to mask the users with all the underlying heterogeneity of h/w, s/w components? Wouldn’t it be nice to relieve the user to choose various solutions for different functionalities and then deal with integration challenges? (Refer to Srinivas’s blog "CIO's view of Intergrating SCM apps")So what could/would/should SCM Cloud mean? Here is my definition: “a set of services that provide SCM functions to any cloud user in an efficient, scalable, reliable and secure way”.

This will require a variety of SCM packages in dissimilar environments to work in synch.  I admit that it is a herculean task to accomplish this considering the nature of applications in SCM space:
·         n-tier nature
·         compatibility constraints
·         integration challenges

Gopikrishnan in his blog on “End 2 End SCM” summarizes these challenges beautifully in a single line when he says “an i2 Demand Planning system with a Manugistics network optimization talking to a Red Prarie WMS and a Manhattan on-demand TMS with orders coming with SAP SD is not an atypical case”. However here is an illustration of a workable view of SCM cloud.

                        SCM Cloud


Please pay attention to the heterogeneity of SCM functions, packages, application tier, integration tier, database tier and infrastructure tier components. SCM clouds will mask all these from the user and just provide him with SCM functions. Further, in my view the cloud automatically adapt to the increase/decrease in the load to make the cloud resilient. Services at every tier and across functional boundaries must communicate and coordinate to facilitate the cloud user.

So SCM Cloud is really possible!!! No? Care to join me to take it to the next level?



This is an excellent concept. I really appreciate Guruprasad's effort to come with such an excellent idea.


Great idea -- with what I have seen from Amazon -- see my link -- I think you are onto something.

Having single services would keep security simpler but would allow for rapid deployment with all the benefits of the "cloud".

Great post -- thanks

Thanks a lot for your comments Karl. I will check out the link. Even some of IBM products are now available on the EC2. Once the s/w licenses are on the cloud, it is only a matter of deploying custom applications.

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