Architecture Overview

In this lesson we take a high level overview of the architecture of the NetSuite system. We cover topics such as how it is hosted, where it is hosted, and the technology behind the hosting. We talk about the advantages of having a hosted system, and why you probably want this. We talk about security and redundancy of the system and why it is usually more secure and redundant than most other systems for all but the largest of businesses. Finally we talk about software you should have to use NetSuite efficiently and effectively, and optional software you might want.

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In this video we’ll talk a little about NetSuite’s architecture, and what you need to be able to use the system. To begin with, NetSuite is a fully hosted system. The software is delivered over the Internet through a web browser. There isn’t an on premise version of the software that you can buy and run on your own servers. You can purchase acceleration servers and appliances, you can purchase equipment to integrate with NetSuite, and you can purchase systems to create a data backup. But as far as running NetSuite on your own hardware, that’s not how it works. There is a lot more upside to this, than downside though. For example, any of your employees can access your data from anywhere in the world if you allow them to. This is all without the need to use a VPN, or ensure that the connection is secure, because NetSuite does all of this for you automatically. You also don’t have to worry about disaster recovery plans for the system, or backup and recovery. You don’t have to worry about patching, routine upgrades, or server and system maintenance. And these are just a few of the larger benefits. All of your data lives on NetSuite’s servers, and they do a lot to protect it. To begin with, everything is housed in enterprise grade data centers, with limited, controlled, logged access. These data centers are built to continue working no matter what may go on outside. This includes redundant power generation, dual layer battery backup systems, redundant climate control, and many other safeguards. And NetSuite doesn’t just use one of these, they have six. They are located around the globe, and data is replicated between sites. This is done to increase reliability, scalability, and performance. Inside the data centers, all data lives on encrypted enterprise grade servers. These servers have redundant drives, power supplies, and other physical hardware. They are also setup in clusters or farms, so that even if one goes down, or more likely is taken offline for maintenance, it doesn’t affect any of the other systems. They are connected through redundant network connections, to redundant switches. These connect to groupings of firewalls, and to different outbound internet connections. But, basically, this is all standard stuff, in the enterprise world anyway. Almost all large companies use this type of setup, from Google, to Ford, to Chase Bank, to General Electric, none of this is unique to NetSuite. If you don’t find yourself working for a Fortune 500 company, and are instead in the mid-market, some of this might be unique to you. This is actually why NetSuite is a much better solution than in house. Because sure, you do backups, but do you have the staff to test the restore, daily, or weekly? NetSuite does. The software in NetSuite’s data centers is a mix of technologies. Sitting at the core of the system is the Oracle database, this is where all the data is housed. There are a mix of servers running various applications including Google’s JavaScript V8 engine, and the Apache web server. As far as client requirements go, you really only need a web browser and an internet connection. You can’t get too much simpler than that. Of course there may be times when you want, or need, to perform operations outside of the system. For example, there really isn’t a way to do a vlookup in NetSuite, at least not without some scripting. But this is an easy operation for someone familiar with Excel. For this reason along with a number of others, you probably do want a little more software on your systems that use NetSuite on a regular basis. To do some more advanced data manipulation, you’ll want a good spreadsheet program. The most popular one is Excel, however there are others. As long as they support the CSV format you should be just fine. Because of the way NetSuite prints, you will also want a PDF viewer. This is included with newer versions of Windows and Chrome. However, you can also download Adobe Reader, which is the official PDF viewer from Adobe, the folks who invented the standard. If you want to develop for the NetSuite system, you’ll want the Eclipse IDE, which is a lightweight opensource code editor. There are extensions for NetSuite to allow it to integrate directly. For your internal infrastructure, you don’t really need much. Just a reliable connection to the Internet, with sufficient bandwidth. Bandwidth is usually minimal since NetSuite is not overly graphic. The internal requirements are something almost every business has these days. Now that we know more about how NetSuite has its systems setup, we are ready to start learning the system, and we’ll do that in the next video. Questions this video will answer: • What do I need to use NetSuite? • Can I run NetSuite on my own server hardware? • How can I make NetSuite faster? • Where can I use NetSuite? • Do I need to make a backup of NetSuite? • Does NetSuite have built in security? • How is data in NetSuite protected? • How secure are NetSuite data centers? • Why is NetSuite better than in-house? • Is NetSuite better than on premises? • What database does NetSuite use? • What software stack does NetSuite use? • What JavaScript engine does NetSuite use? • What webserver does NetSuite use? • What are the requirements for NetSuite • What optional software should I have for NetSuite? • What support software should I have for NetSuite? • What NetSuite development software should I have? • What kind of internet connection do I need to use NetSuite?
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Back to: NetSuite Usage Basics > Chapter 1 - Introduction