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People Inc. in the Cloud

While most clients continue to run the system on internal servers and computers, it is possible to use Cloud services to host elements of the People Inc. system. Any or all the various parts of the system can run 'in the cloud' but, where Cloud is the organisation's preference, it is most common to implement the server elements of the system (including the databases) on a Cloud server.

The architectural design of the People Inc. system means it fits within a categorisation of software architecture that delivers distributed computing. In practice this does not mean that the system must be installed in numerous locations using disparate software hosts that involve a whirlpool of acronyms and technology platforms. It just means that it is highly flexible to deploy.

The entire system can be and is routinely installed onto a single machine. The entire system can and is also routinely installed across multiple machines. The system can and is also routinely installed into cloud based environments. The system can also be installed into hybrid environments when required.

Four main components are present in a typical People Inc. implementation. The Application Server, Web Client (to deliver Employee Self Service), Windows client and most importantly the systems databases. In addition to this the components require some form of network architecture to communicate over.

Each software component requires the machine hosting it to be able to provide it a particular interface. To take the databases for example these require a database server to understand them and facilitate communication between them and the application server. The databases themselves do not mind if the service of the database server is provided to them in the same room as any of the other components nor does it have to be in the same country, the databases just require the service provided by the database server.

So where and how can the database server service be provided? In some cases an organisation will have a dedicated machine that does nothing but provide this service to software systems. Within the cloud certain technology platforms can be utilised to provide just a standalone database server service allowing databases to be kept off site. A database server program can also be installed on someone's laptop if required. Where is not a major issue, it is important though that an organisation evaluate where the most sensible place is for them to source this service.

To consider the application server component this needs a Windows platform but that does not mean physical machine. A recent implementation required deploying the system to a cloud platform. This was achieved by provisioning the resources necessary for a virtual machine within the cloud service - which required configuring a few details such as username and password for that virtual machine and a handful of mouse clicks to deploy it. Additional configuration was required to set up a secure network connection between the organisations local network and the cloud network although again a routine procedure in the modern era. The client benefits from only paying for the computing resources that they are using as well as not needing dedicated hardware on their premises.

Similar options are available to deploy the web client, it requires the service of a web server and again this can be provided within a traditional computer system or a cloud service can provide it with the necessary interface.

The flexibility of the systems architecture allows an organisation to choose the computing services it actually needs rather than being forced to choose between the cloud or on premise. The system can live wherever the necessary computing resources are provided.



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