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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Safe Software announces FME Cloud Public Beta

November 27th, 2013 by Susan Smith

Don Murray, Co-CEO of Canadian-based Safe Software, a leader in spatial data transformation, spoke with GISWeekly yesterday regarding their announcement of FME Cloud service public beta offering. FME Cloud expands its proven data integration technology into the iPaaS (integration platform as a service) market with its new cloud-based service.

Barrett Higman, GIS Officer of Alpine Shire Council shares his experience after designing his award-winning project BAL Plan using FME Cloud during the private beta program.

FME Cloud is based on Safe Software’s FME technology, a proven technology that allows professionals to remove barriers to using and sharing critical business information. With FME Cloud, users have all the benefits of FME Server without the cost, and it can be applied to business logic, analyses, GIS, and data warehousing, among other professional industry tasks.

Murray said there are some established players in this space, like Informatica and others, but none of then have spatial capabilities. “What we bring is location,” said Murray. “It’s a really a new way of deploying the FME Server. When you buy the Server, you have to buy the hardware, make sure you have the entire infrastructure, and you have to have a high speed internet connection. So deploying a true web service is a big deal. If you’re really small you may not be able to do it. With FME Cloud they can do it.”

Safe Software has had Cloud capability before but customers would have to get their own Amazon account and manage it, have FME Server, and install it. “It took quite a bit of time to get one up and running. With FME Cloud you can deploy the Server within 8 minutes, and scale it up and down as you need.”

“What we’re trying to do is hit a new market here,” remarked Murray.  “We do not see it competing with traditional server solutions. Obviously our existing FME customers are interested; we haven’t seen plans to move them. A good example is a small company in Australia that wanted to build a mobile solution but they were just starting out. There was no way they could afford to buy an FME Server, never mind all the other stuff they would have to do to support their mobile app. They’re building an app on the iPad for people to go out in the field and identify a spot where they want to build a house. In Australia they have problem with fires, so they’d have to have people come out and determine if it’s safe to build a house there, based on vegetation, slope, etc. The customer was able to do this with FME Server running in the cloud iPad solution and he was able to run his app and click a button showing their location.  A request then goes back to the shop and a couple of seconds later they get a report saying whether it’s a good location or not. Because he’s using FME Cloud he’s able to use it at $1 an hour so he could work on it for a couple of hours, stop it, then bring it up again. So he was able to keep costs very low during development.”

It is very easy for FME Server and FME Cloud to integrate with over 250 cloud based systems at once.

This is one of the big stories for FME 2014. Hundreds of people have signed up for FME Cloud and are testing it out.  “If you know FME this is a perfect way for people who want to try it to get going,” said Murray. “Some customers have FME Server in their enterprise, and FME Cloud is completely outside your infrastructure. You’re not introducing a vulnerability into your corporate systems; there is no connection between this and corporate IT.”

Organizations who want to try FME Server and want it accessible on the web can try it out with FME Cloud as it is completely scalable as well. Users don’t need to have anything to try FME Cloud. They can go to and see that they can start with the pricing which is by the hour, starting with a small machine and perhaps moving to a larger machine as the need arises. If you move to a larger machine, you don’t notice the difference in service. You can always go to annual if your machine is running all the time, for $4700 a year. To buy FME Server you’d be looking at around $15,000.

With hourly, you pay for what you need, you have FME Server there when you need it, but are not paying for it if you’re not using it.

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Categories: cloud, geospatial, GIS, LBS, location based services, mobile

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