McLaren launches Enterprise OnAir

Some six months after I talked to McLaren Software about its dual offering of SaaS and on-premise engineering document management platforms (post), the London-based vendor has announced a third option: McLaren Enterprise OnAir, a private cloud-hosted solution.

Complementing the company’s existing SaaS offering, FusionLive, this development means its McLaren Enterprise engineering document control suite (aimed at capital-intensive asset owner operators and EPC contractors) is no longer solely delivered as an on-premise platform (or as a certified solution for EMC-Documentum or IBM FileNet P8 ECM platforms). It can now be delivered as a cloud computing application, drawing on the company’s experience of providing its Software-as-a-Service FusionLive and CW products.

The McLaren OnAir cloud infrastructure consists of three secure data centres in the USA, UAE and UK and an associated communications network. Addressing potential concerns about hosting multiple customers on a single infrastructure, McLaren enterprise customers are each provided with dedicated servers, storage, backup hardware and communications for a monthly fee. And McLaren OnAir system, application administration and support services are available to further reduce the amount of in-house IT support required.

Paul MuirMcLaren Software CEO Paul Muir says:

“The availability of McLaren Enterprise – OnAir as a privately hosted option is a breakthrough in the enterprise engineering document control market. Customers can now take advantage of the depth of functionality and scalability of an enterprise scale solution without the need to provision or maintain a supporting IT infrastructure.”

My take

The stress on “enterprise engineering” helps distinguish between the multi-tenancy approaches commonly adopted by many SaaS collaboration vendors, particularly in the architecture, engineering and construction sectors, and the requirements of owner-operators and EPC contractors who often want a single secure installation solely for their major capital project. McLaren people will have years of experience in managing hardware, software and associated data and enabling web-based access, and so can quickly specify, commission and, when necessary, scale-up the infrastructure required to support document control on a major project (and will, no doubt, be subject to strict service level agreements, SLAs). In the cost-conscious AEC market, dedicated hosting facilities for a single project may often be prohibitively expensive, and – for such customers – McLaren has its FusionLive platform available.

The launch of OnAir might also placate customers of its SaaS-based products who might have been worried that the November 2011 acquisition of the former CTSpace business and its merger into a company better known for its on-premise platforms would mean a growing focus on in-house provision. Instead, it appears McLaren is looking to widen the potential uptake of its cloud-based solutions by allowing some customers who might have opted for the familiar locally-hosted option to rely upon McLaren to take on the hosting risks and responsibilities for them. I don’t anticipate a sudden stampede from on-premise hosting, but as SaaS and cloud computing continue to expand into mainstream IT, then McLaren is well placed to help owner-operators and EPCs support new capital projects’ document control requirements in their own private clouds.

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