Instead of heaping on a laundry list of new bells and whistles, the latest release of Aras PLM concentrates on the user interface and scalability functionality—key attributes to supporting the next wave of adoption as PLM extends beyond engineering.
Describing the new Aras Innovator 10 release as a major platform enhancement, Aras CEO Peter Schroer said the idea was to clean up and lean out the server code to hit some high scalability numbers while making the software feel comfortable and accessible to a broader range of non-CAD users.
“What happening is PLM is finally leaving the drafting department—you have people from finance, the supply chain, manufacturing, and quality all wanting to access the same product information, not only in a read-only way, but also contributing to it,” he explained.
With mobile devices increasingly put to use on the factory floor or on the road, Schroer said Aras was inundated with user requests to enhance Aras Innovator’s scalability to accommodate additional users. Specifically, he cited an automotive OEM customer looking to extend Aras PLM to 100,000 concurrent users.
“We’re not talking 100,000 design engineers, we’re talking PLM users all over the corporation,” Schroer explained.
With those kind of increasing (and potentially mind-boggling) numbers in mind, Aras Innovator 10 has been revamped to scale from 100 users to more than 100,000 concurrent users on Microsoft SQL Server 2012, giving companies of all sizes a solid platform for steadily building out PLM use, according to the company. At the same time, the Aras software engineering team put a lot of muscle into tightening up the code for greater efficiency and performance on standard hardware configurations, Schroer said.
“We fully profiled the software to understand how to make it run better at that performance,” he explained. “We are fully ready to teach people how to run PLM with over 100,000 users.”
In addition to the major emphasis on performance and scalability, the other major thrust of Aras Innovator 10 is improved usability ushered in through a modern, roles-based HTML 5 Web browser interface with an Office 13-style design. As opposed to many PLM programs that are bill of materials (BOM) centric, Aras Innovator 10’s interface is designed to feel comfortable to non-CAD users, a critical attribute for pushing PLM out to partners and users throughout a global supply chain.
With the Aras Innovator 10 platform solidly under way, Schroer said Aras will spend the rest of 2014 focusing on rolling out new business applications that will extend the core platform. For example, the company announced new 3D visualization capabilities that will be available inside Innovator, and Schroer said Aras is working on a secure social application that would let engineers collaborative inside the environment just as they might on social networks like Facebook, but with a higher level of security.
While Aras will do its part to serve up a portfolio of business applications, so too will the Aras open source community. Schroer says he expects 2014 to be a fertile year for cultivating an ecosystem of Aras Innovator-related PLM business apps.
Companies with an active Aras subscription will receive a free upgrade to Aras Innovator 10 (and subsequent releases) regardless of the amount of customization in the current deployment, the company says.
Watch this video clip to get an overview of Aras Innovator 10’s primary new features.