CAD Manager's Newsletter (#326)

22 Jul, 2014 By: Robert Green

The Promise and Reality of CAD on the Cloud

How has the cloud materialized for CAD users and managers?

It's been about five years since we started being bombarded with "CAD on the cloud" messaging from CAD software developers and vendors, so it's a good time to review what we've been promised and evaluate how the reality is working out for CAD managers, users, and companies.


To frame the discussion, I'll present some topics that I've found key for many of my clients, cover some questions I get from senior management, and explain my conclusions along the way. The cloud remains a nebulous concept, but breaking it down into its components will make its impact on your CAD management plans much more obvious, so we'll start by doing just that. Here goes.

What Is the Cloud?

It's funny, but even after five years people still have a variety of definitions of "the cloud." I've always thought of it as a network of storage devices that is located somewhere other than my building, owned by someone other than me. However, a couple of increasingly prevalent new technologies have made me rethink my traditional definition of the cloud:

Private clouds. Increasingly, companies are creating their own private clouds in centralized data centers to service their own users across their own virtual private networks (VPNs). Private clouds can serve branch offices or mobile workers alike without the security risk of using an outside provider.

Application clouds. In this case, application software actually resides on a remote machine and the user runs the software via remote access. The data that is produced typically resides on the application cloud as well. Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

CAD Managers Unite!

Over the past few years I've maintained a Facebook group that has become an increasingly robust resource for all of us. I encourage you to join up and participate in a great group of talented individuals.

If you've never joined a Facebook group before here's a quick rundown of how the process works:

  • Log into your Facebook account and search for "CAD Managers Unite!"
  • Click the "Join Group" button to be added to the group.
  • Once your membership is added, you can post/answer questions, start conversations, share resources, and interact with the group (about 800 corporate CAD managers at present).

Though any topic is fair game, the group tends to focus on solving tricky hardware and software configuration issues, management interaction, and training issues. In short, the group is place where CAD managers can ask targeted questions and take advantage of the unique expertise that only other CAD managers have in a relaxed social environment.

Come participate in CAD Managers Unite!

Over the next few weeks I'll be collecting CAD manager feedback on cloud-based CAD via some open requests for comments and survey posts. Why not make your opinions known?

Do you have a question or tip for the CAD Manager's Newsletter? Send it to me at If I use your tip in the newsletter you'll receive a cool Cadalyst prize!


:: Resources

ZW3D Opens Online Community User Forum
ZW3D, a supplier of CAD/CAM solutions for the manufacturing industry, has launched a ZW3D CAD/CAM online user community. The community comprises a discussion area, a learning center, a download area for updating software, and a library for sharing commonly reused CAD data. Members can share concerns, ideas, and data with other professionals worldwide.

:: Events

SolidProfessor Enterprise Overview
July 24, 2014
10 a.m. PT
Viewers of this webinar will learn how to increase engineering capacity of an existing design team through the use of a skills development program with SolidProfessor. Read more »

Avoid PCB & Enclosure Collisions with 3D Product Visualization
September 17, 2014
11 a.m. PT
This Zuken webinar will present an approach to make ECAD/MCAD collaboration part of the standard design process. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to

:: What's New at

Epson Updates, Expands Selection of Large-Format Color Printers and Scanners
New offerings in the SureColor T-Series range from 24" to 44" wide, and from less than $3,000 to more than $11,000. Read more »

Save Time in AutoCAD with Associative Section Views
Drawing section views can be such a tedious process, and the many updates that can occur during design changes make it even worse. Join Lynn Allen as she shows you how easy it is to generate section views from a 3D model that automatically update whenever the model changes. Watch the video »

Build a Plugin Command for AutoCAD Civil 3D
Use Visual Studio.NET to customize your Civil 3D experience. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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