Getting Started |

FAQ


About Aras


What is PLM?
PLM stands for Product Lifecycle Management and it is the process of managing the lifecycle of a product from conception to end of life. PLM software organizes and integrates the different phases of a product's lifecycle - from conception, design, manufacture, service and end of life - making it easier to manage and control these processes.
What is Enterprise Open Source?
Enterprise Open Source is a way for businesses to use supported software with all the collaborative benefits of a community and a for-profit company standing behind it and advancing it. Global organizations get the freedom and flexibility they want with the control and security they require.
How is Aras different from other PLM providers?
Aras is the only PLM software company with a solution suite that's powered by an advanced model-based service-oriented architecture (model-based SOA). We are also the only PLM software provider to offer a subscription package that includes all upgrades & upgrade services. Last, but certainly not least, no one else offers an enterprise open source business model. This is important because it eliminates PLM license fees.
What makes Aras so advanced?
The advanced nature of Aras is rooted in the enterprise application framework, an innovative model-based service-oriented architecture (model-based SOA) that delivers the capabilities for highly scalable, flexible and supportable applications that deploy quickly and adapt easily to evolving business needs without complex programming.
How does Aras make money?
We sell annual subscription packages, consulting and training. Aras is free to use if you don't need assistance, but companies that do need help pay for the services and support that Aras provides.
How do I get Aras Innovator?
The full product version of Aras Innovator is freely available for download on our website. Aras PLM Software Download
Why won't Aras "sell" to me?
Instead of "selling", at Aras we choose to educate people and allow them to make the decision on their own as to which PLM provider they believe best fits their business initiatives. In addition, eliminating a costly sales force contributes to Aras's ability to eliminate PLM software license fees.
How can PLM be free?
The Aras business model was designed to support an enterprise open source solution that eliminates license fees. Aras is able to maintain this model by charging for services and subscriptions.
What type of savings can I expect?
By eliminating PLM software license fees, Aras dramatically reduces initial and total costs, resulting in the lowest total cost in the industry. Aras costs about 68% less than traditional PLM providers.
How do I get a quote or budgetary estimate?
Contact an Aras representative by phone or email or get in touch with one of our many partners.

Enterprise Open Source


What is Enterprise Open Source?
Enterprise open source combines multiple software source formats to provide your company with the optimal structure for control, flexibility and security.
What is Aras's Enterprise Open Source model?
Aras brings together open source solutions with a community source framework and then relies on standard commercial platforms for infrastructure. The combination achieves collaborative freedom, flexibility and extensibility for the business solutions while delivering managed predictability and security at the framework layer, and everything sits on top of proven platform infrastructure.
What are the benefits of Enterprise Open Source?
Benefits include freely available enterprise software; ability to use, modify and redistribute comprehensive business applications; corporate best practices sharing; greater process innovation; faster solution advancement; better quality software; and a knowledgeable and active user community... along with the assurance that the software is professionally managed by a global software company.

In addition, enterprise open source gives your company complete control over your data model and data interoperability... and ultimately control of your own destiny.

Is Aras secure?
Yes. Aras is designed to run in environments where the highest levels of security are a necessity, such as military and defense organizations. The Aras Innovator software has a robust security model embedded throughout the entire architecture. Secure access to data is ensured through Need-To-Know user permission controls along with authentication that is required with every system-to-system transaction.

Aras is used in mission-critical operation by multiple branches of the U.S. armed forces, numerous defense contractors, life sciences firms and other organizations subject to security compliance requirements.
Are the Aras open source solutions OSI (Open Source Initiative) compliant?
All of the Aras open source solutions rely on OSI compliant licenses, such as the Ms-PL and BSD, which do not have a contribution requirement. These are also known as "permissive" licenses because making contributions back is completely optional.

We have found that because enterprise software solutions customizations sometimes include competitive or proprietary practices that companies, particularly large enterprises, prefer to be able to keep modifications private and only make contributions at their own discretion. Aras enables this structure.
What different kinds of open source solutions and add-ons are available for Aras?
There is a wide range of open source solutions available on our project site, as well as, numerous commercial solutions for Aras that are offered by other software companies.
If Aras is open source how can you run on Microsoft?
Our open source solutions rely on commercially available infrastructure including database, web server and operating system platforms. In our case, we use the Microsoft technologies.

Open source solutions on a proprietary commercial platform. It makes sense for Aras because Microsoft technologies are typically already qualified in enterprise environments, companies have existing buying agreements in place and IT departments have extensive Microsoft skill sets. These factors combine to make adoption of the Aras solutions straightforward.
What are Community Solutions?
Community Solutions include open source solutions, commercial solutions and subscriber-only solutions.
Are all of the Community Solutions free?
No, some Community members charge a fee for their solutions.
How can I participate in the Aras Community?
There are many ways to get involved and participate in the Aras Community. You can download Aras Innovator, sign up to become a member of the Aras Community, get active in forums and blogs, follow us on Twitter or find us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Implementation


Can I upload my existing data and is there a utility to help me do that?
Yes, you are able to import your existing data into Aras Innovator. Aras Innovator works in a wide range of formats. Aras subscribers have access to a loading tool that makes it quick and simple to upload data and files.
Does Aras Innovator require you to implement everything at once or can you do it incrementally?
Aras Innovator does allow you to implement incrementally. By spending a little extra time on your project plan early on and developing a phased deployment plan, you can develop the pieces quickly to deploy faster and allow users to access Innovator sooner.
Does Aras have an implementation methodology?
For implementation, our Prototype and Iterate methodology, based on the Rational Unified Process (RUP), gets you up and running faster with a system that meets your specific requirements.
How long will an implementation take?
The length of an implementation depends on how much you want to do and how quickly. In most cases, implementation can be completed as early as a few weeks after you've installed Aras Innovator.
What infrastructure is necessary to implement Aras Innovator?
Aras Innovator requires a server running MS Windows 2003 or 2008 with Internet Information Server (IIS), .NET 2.0 or higher and MS SQL server. For more details please refer to the platform specification.
Can I evaluate Aras by installing it on my desktop or laptop?
Technically, yes. Realistically, it's going to take some work because it is very tricky to get a PC to act as both a client and a server. If you're determined to do it you'll need to get IIS Web Server, .NET and SQL Server running on the PC. Keep in mind this is not a supported Microsoft configuration for Windows XP, Vista or 7. In fact, the Windows 7 and Vista security models make it quite difficult to get IIS Web Server and SQL Server running properly. We highly recommend you evaluate Aras PLM on a Windows Server, after all, that's how it's designed to run.
What skills are necessary to run Aras?
Anyone with basic IT skills can run Aras Innovator, although it is recommended that you attend our training sessions.
Can the system be hosted?
Yes Aras Innovator can be hosted. Aras has hosting partners that can provide turnkey services for Aras Innovator.
Can the system run in the cloud?
Yes, Aras runs on the web, in a hosted environment or in the cloud. The cloud can be public, private or a hybrid.
What functionality comes with Aras out of the box?
Aras Innovator comes out of the box with a wide range functionally and three Aras-managed, business ready solutions: Product Engineering, for Document Management, BOM and Change management; Program Management, for Phase Gate Programs and Project Management; Quality Planning for APQP and FMEA processes. More than 60 additional solutions are available on the Aras Community Site.
Do we have to replace our existing systems if we use Aras PLM software?
No. Aras Innovator is highly flexible and can easily integrate and coexist with another environment.
How do I make my Aras Innovator implementation most efficient?
We recommend that companies approach their implementation by developing a cross-functional internal team, prioritizing needs from a business perspective, and developing a phased roadmap that provides a comprehensive PLM solution once complete.
Is there documentation that I can read?
Yes. There is a wide range of documentation available on our Documentation page.

Subscription Services


What is an Aras Subscription?
An Aras Subscription includes a range of subscriber-only benefits and services that provide comprehensive, enterprise-class support, software and services for Aras users.
Why do I need a Subscription?
With an Aras Subscription you have access to a wide range of subscriber-only benefits that are not provided with self-service use of the Aras Innovator software. These benefits help maximize the success of your PLM implementation as well as the time and resources you've invested in it. View the complete list of Subscription Benefits compared to Self-Service.
What is included in a Subscription Package?
Aras Premier, our most inclusive package, includes all major and minor upgrades, as well as upgrade services conducted at no additional charge, regardless of the level of customization. Live hotline and online support from a dedicated Aras support engineer is also included.

Other benefits are access to Microsoft certified versions of the software, security updates, hot fixes, productivity tools, unlimited support incidents, developer support, escalation management and many other subscriber-only benefits. Aras Premier subscribers also enjoy free attendance at regularly scheduled Aras training sessions and significant discounts on Aras Consulting Services.
How are Subscription Packages priced?
Pricing is typically based on the deployment scope of your solution for the maximum estimated named users during the subscription term.
How do I get a Subscription Package?
Contact an Aras representative or one of our global partners.

Consulting Services


What types of services do Aras partners provide?
Aras partners provide consulting services, support resources and a growing catalog of Aras Innovator add-on products.
Can you help me with my deployment?
Yes, implementation and consulting services are available through Aras and our worldwide partner network.
Where can I get training?
Aras provides training at the company headquarters in Andover, MA. Register or check dates here. In addition, several partners offer training at locations throughout the world.
Where can I ask questions?
You can post and answer questions on our Forums page. If you need further assistance, feel free to call or email us.

Aras Premier Subscription - Upgrade Services


What are the additional benefits of the Premier Subscription Service?
Aras Premier includes the services required to conduct remote upgrades of your company's entire Aras Innovator enterprise software solution suite, even customizations your company has made and custom solutions your business has created.

With Aras Premier, you can keep your company's Aras enterprise system current with the latest security updates, advanced performance optimizations, new features, capabilities, and more.
What's the big deal?
Are you kidding? For the first time ever an enterprise software solution provider is going to upgrade your company's system... with customizations... that's right, not just give you access to the next release, but actually perform the upgrade on the application code tree and database schema for both Service Packs and Major Releases.

That's unheard of... try negotiating that as a fixed price component of your maintenance contract with Oracle, SAP, PTC, or any of the other major enterprise PLM systems providers. Don't take it personally if they laugh.
How can Aras do this?
It's the magic of advanced technology. No really, it's because of the power of the Aras model-based service-oriented architecture (or model-based SOA) which separates the XML models which define the enterprise applications from the underlying compiled code in the SOA thereby enabling fast and easy upgrades due to the... ah never mind... it's a bunch of techno-babble. Aras is so much more advanced than any other enterprise software system on the market that even heavily customized systems take only a few man days to upgrade. That's how.
Does my company have to have a subscription package with Aras?
No - everything is optional at Aras. However, if you want to receive the upgrade services (along with all the other numerous subscriber-only benefits), then Yes - your company is going to need a Premier subscription, and that subscription package will need to remain active and current each time you go through an upgrade process.
Will Aras perform upgrade services on any version of the Aras Innovator enterprise solution suite?
Yes, you can always have your Aras system upgraded. As for the Premier subscription package upgrade services, that benefit only applies to Aras Innovator Version 9.1 or greater. Companies running previous versions of the Aras Innovator suite should contact Aras Consulting or their preferred Aras partner to find out about options.
Will Aras upgrade all of the different Aras Innovator installations at my company?
Yes, if you have a separate subscription agreement for each installation. Aras Premier upgrade services apply to the single production instance environment that is governed by each individual subscription package.
What if we have downloaded a bunch of the Aras open source community solutions and they are running in our production environment? Will they get upgraded as well?
Yes, because your entire production system database including customizations and community solutions openly available from the Aras web site are getting upgraded. Now, if you have exterior programs running like integrations or custom HTML pages somewhere that hook into your Aras system, those will need to be handled separately of course. We're obviously not offering to take over your whole company's IT duties. Just a huge portion as they relate to Aras.
What about third party commercial solutions? Will these be upgraded as well?
Third party commercial solutions are separate and upgrades of these solutions are not part of the subscription package upgrade services.
Will these upgrade services be offered for every service pack and release?
Yes, your company has the option to take advantage of the Premier subscription package upgrade services for each service pack and subscriber release Aras makes.
What if we don't upgrade very often and get several releases back?
In order to take advantage of the upgrade services in the Premier subscription package you can't get more than one (1) revision behind. If you do get several releases behind, we can do an upgrade for you at standard consulting rates, no problem.
If I've got a bunch of solution enhancements that we really need as well, are those included?
We can do them at the same time, however, standard consulting rates will apply for the solution enhancements.
Do we have to do anything or do upgrades just magically happen?
There are a few things that will be necessary. Your system administrator will need to provide a snapshot of the latest database and you'll of course need to test the upgrade to make sure everything is working properly. Then, simply coordinate scheduling for the production system cut-over.
What if we want someone to come on-site to perform the upgrade?
If you're dying to see us and really want us to come out instead of performing the upgrade at the Aras Development Center, then travel and expenses will be necessary.
Is there anything else our company is responsible for?
Yes, upgrades may rely on specific software or hardware infrastructure like designated versions of the operating system, database, web server, or browser for example. You will need to make sure that your environment is up to date in order to take advantage of an upgrade.
Who should I contact to start an upgrade process?
Contact your Aras Certified Partner or contact an Aras representative.

Want to know more? Ask us any PLM software question... whatever you want, whenever you want.