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Consulting the Cloud

Reporting is a natural application for cloud-based applications. For this reason, Invensys Operations Management, the Plano, Texas-based automation supplier, developed SmartGlance, a mobile reporting solution that delivers plant data and reports from the cloud to smart phones such as an Apple iPhone.

Aw 489 Cloud10

Plant operators and maintenance technicians can see current operating data anywhere at any time in a familiar format.

The software itself runs on the cloud and is served up to the various client and server applications. “In many ways, cloud computing works like a computer operating system, managing applications that run on a shared software and hardware infrastructure,” says Rob McGreevy, vice president of platform and applications. Although this sharing can occur over private networks, the more classical definition of cloud computing has the Internet linking the shared resources and providing them on demand.

The key benefits are that the infrastructure costs less and is simpler to install and maintain. “Simply put, customers don’t need to add additional server farms, databases, web servers and the like,” says McGreevy.

Despite the benefits, the computing strategy does not make sense for every application. “Today, information-oriented applications such as reporting, analytics, and configuration management are the most attractive applications,” notes McGreevy. For control and safety functions, bandwidth and reliability are the main obstacles to using the cloud.

June 2011, Related Feature – Cloud Computing Finds Its Target with Mid-Size Manufacturers
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