New Computing Solutions for CAD Take Fuller Advantage of the Cloud

29 Feb, 2016 By: Alex Herrera

Herrera on Hardware: New tools are needed for efficient CAD collaboration, and the cloud — from workspaces to hosted workstations — is looking like the best place to find them.


Then there are the practical benefits, in terms of both logistics and finances. Renting in the cloud requires no hefty up-front expenditures. IT managers can deploy IT resources to a team or new designers virtually instantly — no waiting weeks or months for the hardware to be purchased, delivered, and configured. And the business isn't left worrying about security and maintenance, since both responsibilities are left to a cloud provider that is highly motivated to do both extremely well.

The Future of CAD Computing?

Meaningful and efficient collaboration in CAD remains a daunting challenge. With elaborate workflows, mushrooming data size, and dynamic, global staffing, traditional client-side IT environments have become increasingly problematic. Workspaces in the cloud have arrived to help solve those problems, and now the ability to design, engineer, and simulate in a wholly contained IT environment in the cloud is emerging. Ultimately, it's the convergence of a cloud-hosted workspace with cloud-hosted machines that makes for a compelling vision of what the long-term direction in CAD computing might be.

In one cloud-based future, designers and engineers can model, render, and simulate in the cloud, and there will be no need to ever bring source data back down. Conversely, there will be plenty of good reasons —terabytes’ worth, actually — to keep it all up there. Visualize, prototype, and even manufacture from the cloud, while IP remains secure in cloud servers: it's a vision that promises to solve many of the IT challenges facing businesses today.

One vision for the future of CAD: Shift data and computation to the cloud, and never bring it down. Image courtesy of Jon Peddie Research, Teradici, and HP.

Of course, even if that vision does predict the long-term future of CAD, it's not something we'll reach overnight. We have too much invested in current hardware and software technologies — we're all in a big ship that takes a long time to turn. But the pieces are coming into place, and the writing is on the wall. Old computing models won't be enough to serve the rapidly evolving businesses and industries that rely on CAD. New tools are needed, and the cloud — from workspaces to hosted workstations — is looking like the best place to find them.

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About the Author: Alex Herrera

Alex Herrera

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