CMMS Options — which one is right for you: Cloud-Based vs Client/Server?

Computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) has been in existence since the 1980s. Until recently, most CMMS software were client/server software run on in-house computers. With the advent of cloud-based solutions, managers can now opt to use a cloud-based system that is hosted externally by a third-party vendor. Both client/server and cloud-based systems have their pros and cons. Which option is right for you? Here are some important considerations to help you decide.

Cost of Ownership

If cost is a major consideration in your purchasing decision, comparing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) between cloud-based applications and client/server software over the expected product life is important. Cloud-based applications don’t require a large investment up front, but yearly subscription fees quickly add up. Alternatively, once you purchase client/server software, it’s yours for life. It’s important to look at all related costs, including installation fees and future software update costs, and weigh the pros and cons of a one-time capital expenditure vs. an operational expense in the budget.

Client/Server: When you purchase a client/server CMMS, you own and control the software. Client/Server software (and any supporting hardware) is purchased outright and future software updates are optional, depending on your needs and budget. Start-up costs can be high depending on the needs of your organization and the time and resources dedicated to the software installation. However, you can choose the level of training and implementation assistance that is needed.

Web-based: With cloud-based software, the initial investment is lower because there is nothing to “buy.” There is also nothing to install on your facility computers. All you need is a web browser, username and password to access the software. Renting the web-based application for a monthly fee gives you a fixed cost of ownership. Training and Implementation assistance is offered, much like client/server installations.


As more and more companies move their data to the cloud, early concerns about the security of cloud-based applications have eased. Does going to the cloud make sense?

Client/Server: The data in your CMMS, along with all of the other data related to your organization, resides on your internal server network. Your IT department is in charge of keeping that data safe and secure. The IT department is also responsible for back-up measures as well as data maintenance and data recovery plans. Being prepared with adequate back-ups can spell the difference between downtime and disaster.

Web-based: Hosted solutions remove the challenge of data protection from the individual client. Cloud-based CMMS systems are hosted on large data centers with multiple, sometimes hundreds of client servers, so data maintenance and data recovery are guaranteed. Data transactions are encrypted using Secured Sockets Layer protocol (SSL). Security threats from outside sources are constantly monitored and quickly addressed globally.

IT Set-up, Service and Support

IT departments range from non-existent to complex and sophisticated. Can you count on your IT staff for prompt installation and efficient maintenance of your CMMS software? Does the added time and expense of IT involvement make sense? Is it important for you to control your data migration schedule and updates?

Client/Server: Your IT department will probably be in charge of the installation and maintenance and support of your client/server CMMS. This time and expense should be taken into consideration when determining the TCO for your investment, installing the software on your servers means you are in full control of your system, updates, back-ups, and data migration.. In a pinch, installation assistance is always available by the CMMS provider, It would also be wise to review the support and maintenance upgrade plans offered by your provider. Some will include the above services at no cost with a valid support contract.

Web-based: With the cloud option, there is virtually no IT involvement at all on your part: no installation, maintenance or back-ups. The vendor assumes IT “ownership” of the system, leaving you free to focus on the CMMS features and functions. However, with external hosting, you have no access to network management. If there are issues, you have to rely on the ASP network administrators of your cloud-based application. Software updates are provided and maintained by the vendor. These are generally included in the yearly cost for your web application.

Access / Ease of Use

Client/Server: Access and user speed is typically faster on a client/server CMMS—having software installed on a local computer minimizes the calls to the database. However, users are limited to facility computers for most of their heavy data entry. Mobile integration is usually available at an additional cost. Without it, technicians out in the field or away from their desks have to wait until they are back in the office before entering data.

Web-based: While client/server software does not require Internet access, cloud-based applications do. Internet access speed may vary and server load can be an issue since you are sharing the system with other customers. However, cloud-based applications can be accessed from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection, a user ID and password, so access is virtually anywhere, and not limited to a few designated computers in your facility.


Which option client server or web-based is right for you? Regardless of your choice, look to Eagle Technology CMMS/EAM software for a solution that fits your needs. Eagle offers both client/server CMMS applications as well as cloud-based solutions. Proteus CMMS is a full-featured client/server maintenance and asset management system. It is available in two editions, a small to mid-size environment program called Proteus Professional and an Enterprise version called Proteus Enterprise. The newly released Proteus MMX is a powerful cloud-based, multi-enterprise solution for asset life-cycle management. It is available for purchase or for rent as a cloud application.

As a global provider of CMMS/EAM software for 26 years, Eagle Technology offers complete solutions for organizations of all types and sizes—from diverse manufacturing, airports, health care campuses, government, non-profit organizations, hospitality and international multi-site corporations. Thier Knowledgeable sales and support teams can help you understand your needs, and the perfect fit for your organization.

Click here to sign-up for our Free 90-day product demo. For more information, call Eagle today at +1-262-241-3845.