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February 6, 2009

Cordys blows the roof off with Enterprise Cloud system

Platform as a Service for enterprise apps

By Jason Stamper

CBR has learned that business process management firm Cordys is gearing up to announce a new cloud computing platform that could see it pull ahead of its BPM rivals.

While Cordys for some time has had a hosted business process management (BPM) modelling and application development environment called The Process Factory, the company has now gone even further and enabled its core Business Operations Platform technology to be a Platform as a Service (PaaS), or cloud.

The technology is in a controlled beta testing phase today and is likely to reach general availability towards the end of March, CBR can reveal.

Cordys is a BPM company founded in 2001 by Jan Baan, in a past life founder of Baan Corporation with its eponymous ERP suite.

The Cordys Business Operations Platform already included within it a business process management suite (BPMS) and for analytics, business activity monitoring (BAM). Drill down further and features included business services, master data management (MDM), case management, a SOA Grid for integration, business rules and a composite application framework (CAF) for building new applications or composite applications.

Pictured right: Cordys founder and executive chairman Jan Baan.

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That entire Business Operations Platform has now been encapsulated, if you like, in a Software as a Service deployment framework that effectively turns it into a Platform as a Service, according to Cordys.

The new capability, which will be a feature of the launch of Business Operations Platform 4, is being called the Cordys Enterprise Cloud Orchestration System, or ECOSystem.


PaaS the cloud


Cordys is making it clear that the ECOSystem is not BPM on demand or process on demand, but a Platform as a Service, on which companies can develop, integrate, host and manage their business applications.

Because our architecture is fully web services based and loosely coupled, we were able to take the Business Operations Platform and turn it into Platform as a Service, Cordys’ chief strategy officer Jon Pyke told CBR. They can build new applications that will run on the platform or deploy their own applications onto the ECOSystem.

Cordys founder and executive chairman Jan Baan told CBR, It took us six months to engineer the project — to turn the Business Operations Platform into a Software as a Service deployment framework, or Platform as a Service if you like.

This enables companies to make use of a lot of what they have already, said Baan, but reduce costs by hosting applications in the cloud with all the things like ease of deployment, metering, billing and so on that you need in that environment.

The company is arguing that while cloud-based offerings today can save a firm money, it’s not easy to innovate with them. The ECOSystem enables companies to take existing applications, or build new applications to run in the cloud, as well as do integrations between them and with their on-premise infrastructure, said Pyke. This isn’t just Software as a Service (SaaS), it’s proper cloud computing.


OpEx advantage?


Baan said the ECOSystem could help companies reduce their operational expenditure (OpEx) on things like hardware patching and upgrades, because more of their applications could be hosted in the cloud. He also said it could act as a transitional step on the road to cloud computing, because companies could use the Business Operations Platform to deploy their applications on-premise, and make use of the cloud deployment framework, or ECOSystem, further down the line.

While many companies are investigating cloud computing today, seeing potential benefits in terms of cost, flexibility and management overheads, it is not without its drawbacks. As Gartner analyst Yefim V. Natis noted in a report in December of last year, A multitenant, metadata-driven application container can be a flexible, responsive and cost-effective cloud platform for new business applications, but at the price of a major discontinuity in programming model and in platform technology. Examples of this approach include Cordys.

That major discontinuity may be too much of a hurdle for some enterprises. For others, Cordys believes its ECOSystem could radically improve the flexibility, value and cost-effectiveness of their enterprise application infrastructure.

Detailed pricing has not yet been set but the company said it will offer a range of pricing models to suit different tastes, including an up-front license, or various pay-as-you-use packages.









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