3D printing in space

I’ve been doing a bit of work experimenting with Azure the last couple of months as it relates to AX. This week NASA started their calibrations for their 3D printing at the international space station. When you listen to what they are doing with 3D printing, essentially they are creating a new supply chain process to be able to supply future missions where re-supply of parts or tools would take too long.

http://www.nasa.gov/content/open-for-business-3-d-printer-creates-first-object-in-space-on-international-space-station/

It got me thinking as I talk to different manufacturing companies who are investigating “cloud” and what that means to their supply chain and IT operations. In practical sense Azure is a data center that you can leverage today. But it is more that than, in that it’s providing new ways to create, manage and deploy applications.

With the globalization of manufacturing through the 80s, 90s, 00s. Companies realize that their intellectual property is in the designs and brands of the products they create and own. Do I build a new manufacturing plant or can I get someone else to do it for me?

Getting the product made is a project management, logistics, process management exercise. Obviously there are some products, the process is part of the IP. 3D printing is in its infancy but as it evolves it means the manufacturing process for some classes of products could be re-invented and make it a lot easier to implement your design.

Azure puts companies in the same place for their IT infrastructure. Do I build a new data center or do I get someone else to do that for me. There might be other occasions where you need data center capacity for a short amount of time or in a specific geography.

When you create storage in Azure you have the option of saying how you want the storage to be replicated for example geo-redundant which means that it will replicate the data for you across data centers. That small parameter takes the thinking out of planning what happens if my data center is taken out by a fire.

Now there is still infrastructure planning you need to do but it’s getting a lot easier to implement your design.

 

Cheers

Lachlan

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