Cloud computing is increasingly seen as the lifeblood running through most modern enterprises. It’s therefore not surprising that IDC – an American provider of market intelligence for the IT market – expects the cloud to account for at least 60% of all IT infrastructure, and some 70% of all spending on software, services and technology, in 2020.
At Trimble’s Real Estate division, we’re certainly finding that Trimble Cloud – our secure and scalable SaaS model of software deployment and delivery in partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) – is now the preferred solution for most users of Manhattan, an Integrated Workplace Management System.
Cloud technology is evolving at a fast pace and Amazon is one of the recognized leaders in terms of innovation and the number of new developments. That’s why we’re working closely with their teams and stepping up our efforts to give Trimble customers a superior level of support in the cloud.
Our CloudOps team has always provided proactive, round-the-clock monitoring and management to ensure our customers’ systems are never compromised. Now, we’re adopting additional AWS innovations and exploring new developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine-learning, automation and Internet of Things (IoT) to enhance future cloud capabilities.
Every member of Trimble Real Estate’s global cloud team has completed Amazon’s intensive training programme for managing AWS environments and is fully AWS-certified. This means they are all multi-skilled in vital areas including database management, systems administration, system security and network architecture. This exceptional agility ensures much faster response times for customers.
“We already have ambitious targets for delivering new services and are committed to going above and beyond the cloud offerings of our competitors,” said Shaun Edwards, global director of CloudOps at Trimble Real Estate. “That’s why our strategy for 2020 and beyond includes encouraging our cloud team to be even more innovative in creating cutting-edge developments that will shape the future of our applications.”
For example, migration to Amazon Aurora, a pioneering relational database built specifically for the cloud, would enable us to upgrade a customer’s system while it’s still being used. Aurora allows ‘blue-green’ deployments which involve running two separate (but identical) environments simultaneously. The ‘blue’ environment is live while the ‘green’ side is used for upgrades. When the upgrade is complete, everything on the ‘green’ side is moved over to the ‘blue’ side.
“Amazon Aurora could provide a massive benefit for Manhattan users in the cloud,” said Edwards. “It would mean zero downtime for maintenance and upgrades and allow us to operate in a continuous integration and delivery model.”
With the shift toward a Building Internet of Things (BIoT), Trimble is examining developments that could completely transform space management in the cloud. This includes the integration of new types of sensors to provide truly accurate space utilization data which can be used to develop more effective real estate and workplace strategies.
Trimble is also looking to exploit the latest advances in AI and machine learning to develop systems with self-healing capabilities – i.e. systems with the ability to recognize when something is going wrong and automatically self-correct.
Additional automation is being added to our cloud systems to enhance workflows, including the development of automated playbooks and runbooks. “With runbook automation, customers benefit hugely because it means things can be fixed before they’re broken,” said Edwards. “The system will continuously look for the symptoms of particular events and automate the remediation.”
Consistency, Flexibility and Elasticity
Trimble cloud customers now benefit from greater flexibility and elasticity. For example, the use of auto-scaling to quickly expand or contract server usage in response to changes in demand. Manhattan can provide cloud users with access to an extra server in less than a minute, making capacity management easier and less expensive, with fewer problems.
Through automated configuration scripts, Manhattan’s multinational users also enjoy greater consistency and standardization when they’re looking to replicate their entire AWS environment in different parts of the world. They can have exactly the same architecture in every location.
As more organizations migrate additional functions to the cloud, security is obviously a major concern, which is why we place emphasis on maximum security.
“Like AWS, we’re ISO 27001 and SOC 1 Type 2 compliant,” said Edwards. “Our applications and processes have been independently certified to the same high standards as Amazon. ”
All configurations are managed under strict source control and ‘guard rails’ are used to constantly monitor and enforce each cloud environment. This automatically prevents unwanted behaviours and outcomes. It also restricts changes to documents and other data, and removes the risk of anomalies between environments.
“We also have constant scan,” said Edwards. “We deploy our own vulnerability scanners across all systems, as well as utilize Amazon Macie, which uses machine learning to automatically discover, classify and protect sensitive data.”
Meanwhile, AWS CloudTrail is used to log, monitor and retain every interaction across each customer’s AWS infrastructure. This simplifies security analysis and allows the detection of unusual activity. All logs are held in an immutable S3 bucket that is encrypted and version controlled, so the data can’t be changed or deleted.
Disaster Recovery in Just a Few Minutes
Historically, disaster recovery (DR) required operating an additional physical data centre somewhere else in the world, which was very expensive and required huge resources. Even then, it often took 48 hours to recover, with the potential for 24-hour data loss. With Trimble Cloud, DR takes just a few minutes – with no loss of data – because DR is built in from the start.
We use AWS’s concept of ‘availability zones’ (two or more physical data centres located some distance apart). Traffic constantly moves back and forth between these zones. If one availability zone goes down, the other is still functioning, resulting in only a few minutes of downtime and no data loss.
Cloud-based Trimble Manhattan customers have already found they can benefit from our feature rich software solutions for their real estate management challenges without the constraints of building and maintaining their own underlying infrastructure. And, they can enjoy the financial benefits of moving from a capital expenditure model to an operational expenditure model because they no longer need to buy and maintain hardware. Now, our emphasis on going above and beyond standard cloud services is also giving customers many new and ground-breaking ways of doing things.
To learn more about Trimble’s cloud-based real estate, lease and workplace management solutions, visit our website or contact us here.
Please note product information shared by Trimble relating to future releases or potential future functionality is for communication purposes only and does not constitute a committed roadmap.
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