Cadalyst

CAD Manager's Newsletter (#387)

12 Jul, 2017 By: Robert Green


Decision-Making Metrics for Cloud-Based CAD
 

Determining whether cloud-based resources are right for your company can be confusing. For greater clarity, start your evaluation with this checklist.

When you want to buy a physical object, such as a car or a house or even a personal computer, how do you decide which one you'd like to buy? Chances are, you give the car a test drive, go walk through the house, or visit your local reseller and use the computer to see how you like it. Well when we want to purchase a cloud-based resource — say, a server, virtual workstation, or software product — it's somewhat harder to make purchasing decisions, because you can't lay hands on the device you want to purchase. So how can we all shop smart for cloud-based resources?

Summer on the Cloud

As Summer on the Cloud 2017 continues, I'd like to address the process of making decisions about which cloud-based resources could be right for your company — if any. In this column, I'll share my strategies for evaluating cloud-based resources using fundamental business metrics and testing. Here goes.

A Few Examples and Conclusions

As with most complex problems, there are lots of questions to be asked and answered before a solution becomes clear. I've always found it useful to break complex problems into smaller pieces, then tackle each piece using common-sense metrics to draw conclusions.

To illustrate my method, here are a few simple questions I'm often asked that have complex answers:

  • Should we consider using cloud-based workstations?
  • How do we know if cloud-based software will work for us?
  • Will data security become a problem if we use cloud-based storage?
  • What are the intangibles in implementing cloud technologies that we should consider?

Of course, these seemingly simple questions are anything but simple to answer. I can offer some contextual conclusions, however, that may help you better understand how I approach solving complex problems:

There are no "one size fits all" answers. Cloud-based workstations may or may not work for you depending on your network topologies, distances from branch offices, and data center challenges, among other factors.

Testing and verification are more important than ever. You simply don't really know how a cloud workstation, storage solution, or hosted software product will work until you try it. Even if something isn't located in your office, you still have to test it. You simply don't really know how a cloud workstation, storage solution, or hosted software product will work until you try it. Even if something isn't located in your office, you still have to test it.

Even though you can't get your hands on them, you still have to take cloud-based solutions for a test drive before you commit. Otherwise, you may end up with a bad fit.
Even though you can't get your hands on them, you still have to take cloud-based solutions for a test drive before you commit. Otherwise, you may end up with a bad fit.

Each question brings on more questions. If you start with what you think is a single question — Will cloud storage be a security risk in your environment? — you'll quickly realize that you're actually facing multiple interconnected questions: What do your management team and client base think about security? Do you have contracts with health care or government firms that preclude cloud storage? What does your company's business insurance stipulate about data losses? In this example, you'll need to understand everything that contributes to your data security situation before you can determine whether cloud-based storage poses an unacceptable security risk for you. You'll find that other cloud questions work this way too. Read more »
 


Tools and Resources

Cadalyst Publishes New Guide to CAD Monitor Technologies
The editors of Cadalyst have compiled the perspectives of four industry experts to prepare a new guide, "Choose the Best Type of Monitor for CAD." This seven-page white paper addresses the most important considerations for CAD users, including QHD vs. UHD/4K resolution; flat and curved form factors; viewing angle; and more. Available for free download with registration.
 


What's New at Cadalyst.com

AutoCAD Video Tips: The Fastest Way to Remove a Polyline Segment in AutoCAD
Are you working too hard — are you using PEDIT to remove a segment from a polyline? Join Autodesk Evangelist Lynn Allen as she shows you a super speedy technique to easily remove one or more polyline segments without needing to explode the polyline. Watch the video »

Autodesk Announces Its First Commercial Generative Design Product
Scheduled for launch in Netfabb 2018, Autodesk Generative Design seeks to help product designers by boosting the "computer-aided" part of CAD. Read more »

Herrera on Hardware: Harnessing the Cloud for CAD — The Case for Virtual Workstations
The demands of CAD-heavy workflows in manufacturing, design, architecture, and construction are growing. Some companies are looking beyond their local machines, and implementing virtual computing options to augment or replace traditional deskside and laptop workstations. Read more »

Cadalyst Debuts 'Summer on the Cloud' for 2017
Running all season long, the special series of content will deliver software, hardware, and managerial insight for CAD and IT professionals. Read more »


About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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