IT Solutions are available in all sorts of shapes and sizes with costs ranging from rock bottom to bank-breaking prices. So how do you distinguish between them and what is the best solution for your organization you may ask? Let's start off with expounding the term "Enterprise Solutions" and work from there.
An Enterprise Solution is typically a solution that is designed or capable of catering for high usage and/or high demand which is deployed in an environment that requires a high level of performance and availability. Enterprise Solutions do not necessarily mean they carry more user features which is actually the focus of most system owners. Enterprise class solutions typically excel in the technical delivery aspect; whereby they support features like high availability, high performance, redundancy and other interfaces to connect with a wide variety of solutions.
Enterprise Solutions are available in all aspects of IT from Operating Systems to Software Applications, like Web Content Management Systems and Document Management Systems, to Hardware and Network Equipment like Servers and Firewalls.
An example of where an Enterprise Solution can be found is Server Operating Systems like Microsoft Windows Servers. Microsoft Windows Servers come with various versions like the Web Server Edition, Standard Edition, Enterprise Edition and Data Centre Edition. The Web Server Edition is also known as a 'lite' edition with scaled down features and functionalities to fit a certain purpose and in this case a Web Server. The Standard Edition is full featured edition with all the user features required to run and operate an organization.
The Enterprise Edition is the generally the same as the Standard Edition with all the user features, however it includes advance functions and features that provides high performance, high availability and redundancy. It is able to achieve the following
Providing support for more processors
Support for advance processors
Support for multi server configuration for load balancing and fail over features
(This in not an exhaustive list but merely a cited example).
The Data Centre Edition is designed to suit Data Centre Environments where support for multi client licenses and high end machines are required.
A Robust Solution is any solution that is developed not only with functionality in mind but also takes into consideration good development practises that cover security, reliability, compatibility and is optimized for its intended operating environment.
So does that mean requiring a Robust Solution entails an Enterprise Solution? The answer is not so straightforward but in general, a Robust Solution does not mean an Enterprise Solution nor is an Enterprise Solution is always a Robust Solution. However, there are Robust Enterprise Solutions out there in the market.
It is advisable for system owners to look for a Robust Solution first and then an Enterprise Solution (if required). Robustness is a key important factor for any organization be it a small business, like a retail shop to large multi-national corporations. Why is robustness so important even to a small organization? This is because this impacts the organization in many ways, starting from business operations to security to reputation. Imagine having a system that keeps crashing every few days, or having a system that leaks your company's secrets or a system that may ruin your reputation such as a website deface.
While functional requirements are important, system owners should always look into more than just functional compliance. If a product has met the organizations functional requirements, the next step is to look into the change management, risk management, operational maintenance and other key business aspects of how this system will be integrated into the business and how it is going to be part of your business operations. Is it reliable? Is it safe? Will it have an impact to my organization? Is it easy to maintain and manage? These are the questions that need to be addressed, weighed out and considered first before any final decisions are taken.
Enterprise Solution requirements need to be considered if any of the following situations are involved
- Minimal downtime (As business operations are highly dependant)
- Mission Critical (High dependency of IT where human life or human saving operations are involved)
- High Performance (Where there is high number of expected users)
- Interface with other Enterprise Systems
(The abovementioned are only examples and is not an exhaustive list)
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