Webb’s Stores is a successful regional retailer that operates stores in Australia and also in New Zealand. Webb’s sell a range of food stuffs as well as some speciality items. The company has two main data centres, one located in Sydney and the other in Melbourne. It also has a number of regional data centres located in Wagga, Bathurst, Port Macquarie, Brisbane and Auckland in New Zealand. Webb’s Stores has engaged you as a consultant to advise them on the use of Cloud Computing in their daily operations. They have some 600 sales staff that work in their stores and 200 staff that work in their two main warehouses in Sydney and Melbourne. Webb’s have been facing increasing issues with application and operational complexity and the management of their data. They have been advised that a move to using a Cloud based infrastructure would be an advantage to them.
Webb’s has recently taken over a group of small independent grocery retailers in regional Victoria. They need to integrate this new retailer into their operations as soon as possible. The Board of Directors of Webb’s has decided that they will use this new regional group of stores to test their strategy of using the Cloud to better integrate their operations.
Q. The Board of Webb’s is considering moving to a SaaS model for providing email and office automation services (this includes mainly word processing, spreadsheets and presentation software such as PowerPoint). There are a number of providers of these services that are now available and you are asked to recommend one of these services to Webb’s. You are to prepare a PowerPoint briefing for the Directors that includes:
a. The advantages that Webb’s can achieve if they use this type of SaaS service,
b. The disadvantages that Webb’s will face from using this type of service,
c. The SaaS service that you would recommend, including:
i. The name of the service
ii. How it is better than other similar services?
iii. What are its specific disadvantages?
A. Concept of cloud computing and its benefit
According to Almorsy, Grundy & Müller (2016), cloud computing is considered as the infrastructure and the software model that can enable the access to the shared pool of resources that can be used by using the internet platform. It also allows the users along with the organizations to store their data set through a privately owned cloud platform or through a third party server that is located in the data center. Therefore, it can be said that the concept of cloud computing relies on the sharing of different resources that can achieve the proper level of coherence along with the economic benefit.
The incorporation of the cloud platform can be very much beneficial for the organization Webb’s. As the cloud platform avoids the expenses regarding the large amount of hardware and their upgradation, therefore it can reduce their cost regarding this aspect (Arora, Parashar & Transforming, 2013). Along with that, it can also help Webb’s to cope up with the changing business scenario. Moreover, it can also enhance the level of security for the organization and takes a back up for the data set of Webb’s.
B. Use of AWS or Azure to integrate the store operations
Webb’s can use the Amazon Web Service (AWS) as it would provide an ample amount of benefit regarding the integration of their new stores to the existing operations. The AWS provides the organization with the facility of handling the different applications with ease regardless of the fact that whether it is an existing application or a new application. In addition to that, its cost-effective nature would also help the organization regarding the process of integration (Dinh, Lee, Niyato & Wang, 2013). Moreover, AWS is reliable enough so that Webb’s can integrate this aspect into their account.
When it comes to Azure, the organizations can easily integrate it with the other Microsoft tools such as SharePoint and office 365. Along with that, Azure works with both the IaaS and PaaS platform that can help Webb’s to get integrate their new stores with their existing mode of operations. In addition to that, reliability is another factor that can be considered while making integration in between the stores. Moreover, the strong business intelligence along with the analytical support can also be useful for the integration of the new stores along with the existing stores.
C. Selection of the cloud architecture and its reason
When it comes to the selection of the cloud computing architecture, it mainly refers to the different components and the sub-components that are required for the cloud computing. According to Fernando, Loke & Rahayu (2013), these mainly consists of front-end platform (Fat client, Thin Client, Mobile device), back end platforms (Storage along with servers), network (intranet, internet, intercloud), cloud based delivery. Webb’s can use both the back end platforms along with the network and the cloud based delivery. The back end platforms would help Webb’s in terms of their data storage and making a proper connection of the data centers with the main server. In addition to that, the network can also be used, as it would provide help to Webb’s regarding their data sharing through the intranet and inter cloud platform. On the other hand, when it comes to cloud based delivery, SaaS model can be used as it provides a good amount of security features regarding the sharing of resources.
A. Advantage of SaaS service
SaaS (Software as a Service) is considered as an alternative option to the standard software installation in the Webb’s business environment. In this process, the user needs to build the server, needs to install the different applications, and then needs to configure those applications. This has an ample amount of advantage and Webb’s can enjoy those advantages. One of them is the benefit regarding the time. Along with that, it also provides Webb’s with the advantage of having lower cost regarding the different hardware and the software components. In addition to that, it can also enhance the customer base of Webb’s as it allows them to utilize the software that they would not use due to their cost. Along with that, the SaaS solutions also have the scalability and proper amount of integration with the other SaaS offerings (Hashem et al. 2015). In addition to that, the SaaS service providers upgrade the entire solution and then it becomes available to the customers. Therefore, it can easily enhance the performance of Webb’s.
B. Disadvantage of SaaS service
Although the SaaS model has an ample amount of advantages that can help Webb’s, still there are some loopholes in this model. One of them is the loss of control. As it is based on a hosted solution, therefore the control is in the hands of the third party service provider. Along with that, another issue that Webb’s can face is the use of limited applications. However, SaaS is gaining popularity; still there are few software that do not provide a hosted platform. In addition to that, Webb’s may counter connectivity issues, as it requires internet connection to run the application. The organization therefore needs to maintain and monitor their internet connection that can provide them with the access of the cloud platform. Along with that, according to Li et al. (2013), as SaaS is a hosted application therefore it has some limitation in its function and features. It can reduce the level of performance for the organization when it comes to their different operational activities over the internet platform. In addition to that, SaaS model has its limitation regarding the speed. It is slow in speed than the client-server platform.
C. Recommended SaaS service
There is an ample amount of SaaS services that an organization can use into their account such as the CRM software, ERP software, Accounting software, Project management software. As Webb’s has just thought, of moving into the SaaS model that can provide them E-mail and the office automation services, they may choose Microsoft Office 365. This can provide the organization with the easy access to the word processing software along with the spreadsheets and the presentation software.
The Microsoft Office 365 provides an enhanced amount of data security along with an ample amount of control over the different applications. Along with that, the individuals can work anywhere where they can have the access to the internet. Moreover, it also makes the different functionalities of the organizations in an organized manner. Moreover, it can also help in order to predict the monthly cost of the application.
In addition to that, it also has some disadvantages. According to Rittinghouse & Ransome (2016), one of them is the fact that it cannot work without having the internet connection. In addition to that, it is subscription based. Along with that, it is hard to keep up changing the features of the application.
IaaS approach that can help to migrate the database into the cloud
When it comes to the migration of the database in the cloud platform in the IaaS model, SQL server of Microsoft Azure virtual machines can be used. It mainly migrate the existing SQL server applications. Along with that, it provides the full control on the SQL server and on the Windows.
PaaS approach that can help to mitigate the database into the cloud
When it comes to the PaaS approach that can help the database to migrate in the cloud platform, the organizations can use Azure SQL database. According to Rittinghouse & Ransome (2016), it mainly offers a good level of compatibility with most of the features of the SQL server.
Advantage and disadvantage of the approaches
|Advantage of Azure SQL database||Disadvantage of Azure SQL database|
|Advantage of SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines||Disadvantage of SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines|
When it comes to the Azure SQL database, it has an ample amount of advantages that can make the organization think of considering this aspect. In addition to that, this requires no IT resources in order to gather support and for its maintenance. Moreover, this also reduces the cost regarding the hardware and the other administrative costs. On the other hand, when it comes to the SQL server in Azure virtual machine, it provides the organization with the full rights regarding administration. Along with that, it also supports that are bigger than 1 TB.
Selection of the platforms needs to be based on the requirement of the organization. Therefore, Webb’s first needs to identify their needs and based on that they should pick one of them. However, as the organization is planning to take a step in the cloud platform that is very much similar to the on premise SQL server, therefore they may choose the SQL server in Azure virtual machine as their solution.