A Guide to SaaS: How Does it Compare to On Premise Software?
As Software as a Service (SaaS) applications are quickly becoming the norm in many industries, the warehouse management systems industry is no exception. In this Guide, SaaS warehouse management system provider Snapfulfil explains what a SaaS system is, what the traditional on premise system is and the difference between web-enabled and web-based
Software as a Service Is the new kid on the warehouse block
The Software as a Service (SaaS) model of deploying software is fast becoming established in the warehouse management systems world. Warehouse Managers / Operations Managers are adopting this internet orientated model to offset the burden of server maintenance and data backup, whilst improving access to their system and providing employees with an intuitive user interface.
To assess the SaaS model, it is important to first understand what it is and how it differs from conventional software models. Most warehouse managers and operations managers are familiar with SaaS or “web-based” software, but few really grasp the differences between traditional client/server, web-enabled, web-based and SaaS systems.
What Is a SaaS System?
SaaS refers to a type of software deployment in which all of the system’s software and data is hosted and managed at a central point / data center operated by the software provider.
Warehouse managers simply use the warehouse management system through their web browsers and via a broadband Internet connection.
The software provider will manage data backups and updates. The warehouse will normally pay a monthly subscription fee to use the service, rather than purchase the software up front.
Providers of SaaS warehouse management system products include Deposco ShipForce, Snapfulfil SaaS WMS, Sterling Commerce Selling and Fulfilment Suite and Red Prairie On-Demand Warehouse Management
What is On Premise or Client / Server Software?
The alternative to SaaS is the traditional standard of client /server, what is often referred to as on-premise software.
With this model, software is installed on the server and on each personal computer in the office.
The server hardware is located in the warehouse and is accessed on the PCs used by managers, warehouse operatives and admin staff. The warehouse staff are also responsible for data backup and security.
Normally the software is purchased upfront and there is an annual support fee to cover upgrades and customer support services. Leading warehouse management system products like Infor, Epicor, and Microsoft Dynamics NAV offer client /server, on-premise systems.
What Do “Web-Based” and “Web-Enabled” Mean?
While SaaS and web-based have become synonymous in recent times, there are subtle differences.
Some systems are web-based in that users access the system through a web browser but the server that hosts the system is maintained on-site by the warehouse (i.e. “on-premise”).
In this instance, “web-based” refers to the system’s design, rather than the deployment model.
“Web-enabled” refers to a hybrid model in which a traditional client /server system is supported with an additional feature that allows users to connect to the system over the internet utilising a special browser-based user interface.
This web-enabled option might be used in order for the warehouse manager to access the system from home or the office. Some warehouses choose to use the web-enabled model to offload server maintenance to a third party hosting company. Many client / server systems provide a web-enabled option.
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.