With the #cloud and #BigData becoming more relevant for enterprises, there is a lot of interest to explore ways of using QlikView on the Cloud. While discussions on private cloud, public cloud and hybrid clouds are continuing, I would focus on using QlikView on Infrastructure on Cloud in this short coverage.
Any enterprise wanting to run QlikView on an off-premise “Cloud” infrastructure can do so by using the QlikView image available on Amazon EC2 cloud. This can allow enterprises to create off-premise, often distributed deployment of QlikView. In essence, running QlikView on Amazon EC2 is very much like running QlikView in-premise. The licenses for QlikView are required to be purchased. The software distribution need not be installed on the Amazon EC2, but a ready-made image of QlikView already available on the Amazon can be chosen and deployed in no time. Refer how QlikTech uses Amazon to run the Demo environment.
The key aspect is, like any other cloud deployment, data stays in cloud. Where enterprises have their current data in the enterprise data center, then moving the data to the cloud could become a bandwidth intensive exercise. Companies who have data already on EC2 are luckier.
Extraction of data into QVDs from their source, and transferring QVD files over to the cloud server is a good way to optimize bandwidth and storage usage. Even if applications like CRM etc. are already in cloud, they exist in separate service providers, and the data still needs to be transferred to the virtual server where QlikView is running. Bandwidth will still be used for the same amount of data.
Following are some key situations when an enterprise can look at cloud:
1. Quick pilot to be done, without waiting for infrastructure additions
2. Do not want the upfront capital costs for server hardware
3. Need a flexible quickly scalable solution
4. Relatively less amount of incremental data being generated
5. As for security, the features of security discussed in chapter “QlikView Security” are relevant in the cloud deployment as well. Integration with data sources and portals are all the same as the in-premise deployments.
Some of the benefits in using cloud deployments include:
- Zero infrastructure requirements
- Elastic scalability
- Instantly available
- Users are up and running in 15 minutes
- Standard QlikView user license pricing (licenses can be moved from and to cloud)
- Shifts expenses from capital expenditures to operational expenditures
- Platform neutrality - Available through Amazon’s fast and reliable Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) Web service
Currently, most organizations cannot move completely to cloud, but need a coexistence of in-premise and cloud infrastructure/solutions. QlikView can also be implemented in a hybrid fashion, to take advantage of the cloud benefits. QlikView is not available as a “Saas” or a “PaaS” offering at the moment. OEM offering of QlikView allows OEM customers to custom license QlikView and deploy on a multi-home/multi-tenant servers to offer pay-per-use services. For more information, refer to QlikView Blog: “QlikView and the Cloud - Have it your way” and QlikCommunity discussion “QlikView in the Cloud”.
Integration of QlikView with SalesForce, Workday and other solutions like OrangeScape is possible. Lot of companies who use SalesForce have integrated the QlikView dashboards into the SalesForce portal itself, as a separate Tab. The same is possible with other applications, to embed / integrate QlikView into the cloud front-ends seamlessly.
Integrating employees and extranet users (intermediaries, partners, customers and vendors) is a need in many situations, providing interactive analytics to them. One large global security appliances company has integrated QlikView into their SalesForce interface to provide analytics to their vendors. Implementing Single-Sign-On - using various identity stores is another aspect - where there are challenges. Solutions are emerging through integration partners. Security aspects of this integration need careful planning and execution - require a deep understanding of what is possible. Also the various deployment options need to be kept in mind while planning a cloud integration. I have treated these at length in my book.
With more and more cloud solutions emerging, integrating QlikView on Cloud and offer as a cloud SaaS is slowly emerging as a solution of choice, among the Cloud SaaS providers. More movement of QlikView to the cloud is a natural progression I believe.