CAD Manager's Newsletter (#331)

8 Oct, 2014 By: Robert Green

One Vendor's Remedy for Software Management Headaches

Autodesk's new Application Manager utility promises to help CAD managers more easily maintain CAD software throughout its lifecycle — but what does it do, exactly?

Erik Klein of Autodesk
Erik Klein of Autodesk

In a previous edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I wrote an open letter to CAD software companies, taking them to task over how complicated it is to maintain CAD software over the course of its installed lifecycle. I pointed to the ongoing challenges of finding updates and service packs for products and of tracking installed products, and the large amount of time the CAD manager must spend on these tasks.

I received several responses from software companies conceding the problem, but one response was unique. Erik Klein, Autodesk's product manager for Software Delivery, agreed to be interviewed about how Autodesk is addressing these issues with its Application Manager utility (which launched in limited form with the company's 2015 products). What follows is a transcript of the refreshingly frank interview I had with Mr. Klein.

Robert Green (RG): Thank you for reaching out after my somewhat critical take on software companies.

Erik Klein (EK): You're most welcome, and I really appreciate this opportunity to provide information to your readers.

RG: As product manager for Software Delivery at Autodesk, what are your key responsibilities?

EK: My focus is on defining requirements and setting priorities for the products and components that my team builds, which are ultimately used by customers to download, install, and deploy software. I also spend a lot of time collecting and refining requirements for these components, and work extensively with customers and internal teams who build and release our desktop and online products.

RG: I'm not the only CAD manager who struggles with keeping software current, so I presume you've heard from other customers requesting that you make the software easier to install and administer.

EK: Absolutely, we've been hearing from customers for quite some time about the need to provide a better overall delivery experience, including the administration parts. This isn't just about managing the steps to get up and running, but post-install–related tasks as well.

RG: What kind of requests, specifically, have you received? Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Justify the Purchase of Solid-State Drives

As processors and random-access memory (RAM) have become faster and cheaper, it is more and more likely that your CAD applications are simply waiting on the hard drive in your system to bring data to your processor. In recent years the dropping cost of solid-state drives (SSDs) has made them an affordable add-on to workstations for only a few hundred dollars. I've been preaching the value of SSDs for a while, but have always found it somewhat hard to quantify the performance increases and cost/benefit numbers to IT managers, who are typically very cost-conscious.

In doing some research on the subject, I found some really compelling information compiled by Christopher Ryan at Tom's Hardware. The site is a longtime favorite of mine for reviews on all sorts of computer hardware. It has a "build your own" section that is awesome for enthusiasts/gamers who really want understand how to optimize their own computer builds. The site's coverage of computer components along with its exhaustive analysis of costs make it a go-to resource.

To get a clear picture of SSD benefits, I recommend starting at the end of the site's slides and then working your way through them backward to see interesting summaries of available SSD devices, performance/reliability metrics, price points, purchasing links, and recommendations. Read more »

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

Americas' PLM Market Expected to Reach $16.4 Billion in 2018
The product lifecycle management (PLM) market in the Americas region is forecast to grow at 5.4% to reach $16.4 billion in 2018, according to the newly released CIMdata 2014 PLM Geography Report, the fourth of five modules in the research firm's PLM Market Analysis Report Series. Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing region.

E-on Software Updates Free Versions of PlantFactory and Vue
E-on Software announced that free versions of PlantFactory and Vue 2014.6 are available for download. The two options for learning PlantFactory for free are the PlantFactory Producer personal learning edition (PLE) and a choice of the PlantFactory studio, designer, or artist trial version. Vue PLE is a fully functional version of Vue xStream/Infinite 2014.6 that never expires.

PARTcommunity Adds 3D Printing and Model-Sharing Function
CAD file download and sharing portal PARTcommunity has added a new capability to its offerings. The new PARTcloud function enables users to upload 3D CAD models of components they have constructed and make them available for download. Users can determine which other users are allowed to see and download their content.

:: Events

Discover Vectorworks 2015
October 15, 2014
11 a.m. PT
Novedge will present this webinar, which will focus on the new version of Vectorworks and introduce its new capabilities. Read more »

Is 3D Printing Tough Enough for Track Duty?
October 15, 2014
5 p.m. ET
Presenters of this 3D Systems webinar will discuss how they used 3D printing to manufacture parts for Australian V8 Supercar Championship cars. Read more »

Easy-to-Use Photorealistic Rendering with Iray for Maya
October 21, 2014
9 a.m. PT
In this webinar, presenters from NVIDIA and [0x1] Software Consulting will demonstrate how physically based rendering with NVIDIA Iray can accelerate the Maya workflow. Read more »

3ds Max and SpaceMouse Pro Workflows
October 22, 2014
11 a.m. PT
In this Novedge webinar, Autodesk technical evangelist and SpaceMouse Pro user Chris Murray will demonstrate some of the new features in 3ds Max 2015 and workflows that leverage the 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse Pro. Read more »

Autodesk Inventor 2015 — Surfacing vs. T-Splines
October 29, 2014
11 a.m. PT
Those who attend this Novedge webinar will learn about the definition and importance of freeform modeling. Read more »

EuroMold 2014
November 25–28, 2014
Frankfurt, Germany
EuroMold 2014's theme is From Design to Prototyping to Series Production, with a focus on topics such as innovation and cost efficiency for latest development techniques and modern forms of production. Read more »

Annual Wohlers Conference — The Truth Behind the Additive Manufacturing Supply Chain
November 27, 2014
Frankfurt, Germany
The 16th Annual International Wohlers Conference will take place at EuroMold 2014 and will concentrate on the supply of additive manufacturing machines, materials, and services worldwide. 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

Herrera on Hardware: DDR4 Memory Technology — What's in a Number?
Capable memory is essential for efficient workstation operation. But do you need the newest generation of memory technology? Read more »

Sequentially Number AutoCAD Text Objects
Have you ever needed to number a variety of text objects in your drawing file? It's so tedious to do this manually! In this video tip from Cadalyst and Lynn Allen, you'll see how to sequentially number selected text objects with the AutoCAD Express Tool TCount instead. Watch the video »

The Promise of Virtualization: Secure Remote Access to 3D Data
Technologies such as XenDesktop are designed to centralize 3D apps and data while preserving visual performance. Read more »

The Democratization of Manufacturing — and PLM Software
At the first-ever Accelerate 2014, innovative product developers discuss a new landscape where SMBs are thriving — and how the cloud-based Autodesk PLM 360 is playing a key role. Read more »

MSC Aims to Take CAE from Frustrating to Efficient
New MSC Apex will enable a paradigm shift that accelerates design validation and enables rapid trade studies earlier in product development, according to the company. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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