Online inventory management has come a long way since the adoption of the universal product code in the 1970’s. The adoption of cloud-based inventory software has further improved inventory control through greater efficiencies and access to real-time transparent data.
2017 has seen a faster acceleration of the cloud market as companies become more confident with the use of cloud technology. As expertise and security improve, businesses are increasingly looking to cloud solutions for greater efficiency and resource management.
The growing preference for hybrid cloud systems uses a mix of both on-premise private cloud and third-party public cloud systems, with easy manoeuvrability between the two platforms.
With hybrid cloud, businesses are getting automation and agility that is particularly valuable for dynamic workloads. The on-premise, in-house software hosts important or sensitive information while test and development, or non-critical data can be stored in the third-party public cloud.
Hybrids offer businesses greater flexibility and more data distribution options. The easy to access public cloud component is ideal for online inventory management and for hosting archive and back-up data. It offers limitless scalability and eliminates the need for large capital investment into in-house servers and IT infrastructure.
Cloud computing is a daily operating expense; therefore, it is necessary for companies to balance cloud costs with value to the organisation. Cost management and analytical tools will become increasingly popular as cloud cost management becomes more challenging and complex.
Businesses will eliminate unnecessary spend by deleting redundant storage and leveraging long-term options for rarely accessed data that is held for long periods of time. Automated notifications will assist to identify areas of unused and under-utilised space, enabling companies to remove or close applications that are running when not in use.
To help contain cloud costs, many businesses have engaged with multiple cloud providers with some enterprises investigating the feasibility of building private cloud infrastructure.
An increasing trend towards the use of containers is largely due to the security and compatibility problems they help to avoid. Problems can arise when moving software between environments, usually occurring when the supporting software setting is not identical. For example, if transferring from a laptop to a test environment or from physical hardware to the ‘virtual’ cloud.
Cloud containers are the ideal solution for getting software to run reliably when moved between these different computing environments. They are portable and provide easy mobility between servers. Another advantage of cloud containers is that they can use nearly any technology to run your applications.
Simple to create and maintain, containers provide an excellent option to compartmentalise online inventory management. For example, maintenance repair and operating inventory, which is used to support the production process, represents a business expense. This inventory can be recorded in separate containers to production inventory such as raw materials, work-in-progress and finished goods, which are recorded as an inventory asset.
Secure in the cloud
Cloud containers help to prevent compatibility issues between applications that reside in the same operating system. They achieve this by creating an isolation boundary at the application level. Meaning any problems will not affect the whole server because they are isolated to individual containers.
Containers provide a simple secure way of implementing specific infrastructure needs and maximising the use of both in-house and in-the-cloud resources.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.