ERP performance and security considerations for cloud and on-premises deployments. White Paper

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1 ERP performance and security considerations for cloud and on-premises deployments White Paper

2 ERP performance and security considerations for cloud and on-premises deployments Cloud-based infrastructures allow businesses to reap the benefits of reduced capital expenditure and IT maintenance costs, and free up chief information officers (CIOs) to focus on IT strategy and other activities with higher business value. However, although businesses continue moving to the cloud, many still harbour concerns over performance and security. How can a system that is physically remote and dependent on an Internet connection perform as well as traditional on premises software and offer the security needed to protect business-critical data? Cloud-based, or Software as a Service (SaaS) enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications are gaining significant popularity. Recent Gartner research revealed that the SaaS market is now sized at $20 billion, a 14.7% share of the overall $131 billion public cloud services market worldwide. However, many businesses are likely to favour on-premises applications for some time to come particularly larger enterprises that already have significant investments in IT infrastructure and personnel. System performance, throughput and scale Cloud deployments should deliver a user experience comparable to traditional on-premises software. However, if infrastructure is not provisioned correctly, performance problems and bottlenecks can cause application crashes and data losses. Sluggish access to data, applications and web pages can frustrate employees and customers alike. Crashes cost money, impact staff morale and can hamper business expansion, if left unresolved. Businesses also need to be mindful of expected peak system activity and the future growth needs of the business. Employee productivity relies on solid and reliable performance. This paper presents a range of measures you can take to ensure your cloud infrastructure has the performance capability, throughput and scalability to support your applications and keep your employees productive. It s clear that the cloud is here to stay and concerns over performance and security need consideration and assurance from cloud services providers. This paper aims to help you make an informed decision about whether on-premises or cloud deployment makes most sense for you. The paper also provides some guidance on how you can ensure a fast system response for your users. Page 2 White Paper

3 Pronto Software Page 3

4 Know your cloud service provider s obligations Let s look first at the three main cloud service provider responsibilities affecting users perception of performance. 1. Data centre hardware performance An application s capabilities in the cloud depend on the performance of the service provider s data centre hardware. Businesses must ensure that the provider can allocate sufficient bandwidth, disk space, memory, central processing unit (CPU) cycles and network connectivity to support their chosen applications. Ensure that the provider has paid adequate attention to the application architecture to avoid data bottlenecks. 2. Throughput and bandwidth allocation Throughput describes how quickly data flows from point A to point B and can also be a measurement of the data transfer itself. When choosing a cloud-based solution, ensure the provider provisions sufficient bandwidth from their data centre to meet your throughput requirements. 3. Ability to scale with customer growth As businesses grow, they accumulate more system users, hold more data, and have greater data entry and analysis needs. Each of these developments can place a strain on system performance if not managed correctly. Using modern data centre technologies, the cloud services provider should have the ability to quickly scale and reprovision hardware resources to support your business growth. What can CIOs do to ensure a great user experience? Assuming all of the above is taken care of by your cloudservices provider, here are three areas you can actively manage to ensure a smooth experience for users; 1. Ensure a fast Internet connection The Pronto Xi application is based on client-server architecture and has extremely low bandwidth requirements. The personalised thin-client server also requires minimal effort to deploy. A 512Kbps Internet connection is recommended for systems running more than 10 concurrent users, plus an allowance of 8Kbps per additional user. Therefore, a business running 50 concurrent users in a single premises should allow for a 912Kbps connection (or 1Mbps) for optimal quality of experience (QoE). A 256Kbps connection would be sufficient for small ERP systems with fewer than 10 concurrent users. Additionally, as your business will be running more than just the ERP application, you should ensure adequate bandwidth for your other Internet connectivity requirements. 2. Consider a Wide Area Network (WAN) Wide area networks are particularly beneficial to larger businesses that use a greater volume of Internet traffic and have greater printing requirements or interconnectivity needs between systems. A 10Mbps WAN connection is a good baseline and will offer enough capacity for most needs. A secondary, separate Internet connection specifically for the ERP application is sometimes useful, but managing this does require extra IT skills and maintaining dual internet connections, which may not be ideal. 3. Monitor your data latency We advise keeping the network latency between the client and the server at less than 100 milliseconds to ensure a fast user experience. Page 4 White Paper

5 Data security considerations Data security is one of the biggest concerns among CIOs considering a move to the cloud. For some, the idea of storing data anywhere other than in the safe, protected servers of their own office can be disconcerting. This apprehension is understandable. The data generated by comprehensive business intelligence (BI) software such as IBM Cognos is often highly sensitive, so keeping it safe from hackers, competitors and any other disasters is a key priority. It s important your cloud services provider adheres to best practices for data management to ensure your sensitive data assets are being treated with the care and consideration they deserve. With on-premises ERP deployments, the business depends on its IT department to install firewalls, employ password controls and encryption coding, maintain hardware and put in place disaster recovery in case of operational failures. For many, it s reassuring to walk into a server room, see the hardware s green lights blinking away and know that IT specialists are on hand to fix something if it goes wrong. When using an ERP solution in the cloud, you instead rely on your cloud provider to protect your data. For this reason, you should ensure the provider offers: around the clock system monitoring locally-stored data, so that your information isn t governed by international laws service-level agreements (SLAs) to ensure an agreed percentage of system uptime real-time redundancy in distributed data centres with full back up management procedures to ensure data is protected against loss. If you are deploying on-premises ERP, take the proper precautions for disaster recovery. Relational database solutions such as IBM Informix offer various levels of data backup and replication, from continuous log restore (CLR) to high-availability data replication (HDR) and remote standby secondary (RSS). Finally, make sure you encrypt all connections from your in-office client applications or remote workers to the hosted ERP server. Pronto Xi supports a selection of network communication options, including the industry standard Secure Shell (SSH), which is designed to provide network connectivity via a secure channel, even over insecure networks. Summary Internet services and technology have advanced considerably over the past few years. By asking your provider the right questions and taking the proper steps yourself, you can ensure a high-quality experience for your application users, as well as peace of mind that your data is secure whether it is in the office or you are considering a move to the cloud. Pronto Software Page 5

6 Tailor-made business software solutions. Pronto Software has been developing award-winning business management software for over 30 years. With in-built intelligence, flexibility and an easy-to-use interface, its flagship product, Pronto Xi, enables users to discover rich business insights PRONTO ( ) Find your moment: pronto.net Pronto believes in the power of actively listening to clients, adapting our product to meet their needs and finally revealing the best solution. It s how we continually surpass client expectations, delivering moments of utter surprise and delight.

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