CAD Manager's Newsletter (#390)

22 Aug, 2017 By: Robert Green

The Cloud's Silver Lining for CAD

Private application clouds, rented virtual workstations, and remote server rentals are three cloud-enabled technologies that can make CAD managers' lives easier instead of more difficult.

Summer on the CloudAs you learn more about cloud technologies for CAD applications, you may start to focus on how difficult they are to evaluate and implement. It's impossible to know exactly how new technologies will work out, so it pays to be skeptical. But if you let yourself consider only the negative aspects, you may miss the silver linings of the cloud.

But what are those bright spots, exactly? Are there any cloud-based technologies that CAD managers can look toward with optimism and enthusiasm? In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, we'll explore a few such possibilities that I'm seeing more frequently. Here goes.

Private Application Clouds

First, let's define what private cloud means: A private cloud is a resource located somewhere in your company's IT infrastructure; remote users can access it via a virtual private network (VPN). Think of it like a remote drive on your corporate wide-area network (WAN). The key point is that the resource lives inside your company's IT environment, not in some cloud vendor's server farm, and therefore it's totally under your control.

A private application cloud, then, is simply a software application that resides on your company's private cloud. Consider the following examples:

  • A visualization workstation. Install a high-performance machine equipped with specialized graphics processors and visualization applications somewhere in your IT's data center, then give your remote users access to it.
  • Analysis tools. Share a structural engineering application or finite analysis tool running under Autodesk Revit or Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS so that engineers around the company can share the software.
  • Specialized video or animation tools. Share high-performance workstations with solid-state drives and super-high-performance graphics processors for video editing or animation tools.

In these cases, several advantages emerge:

  • Lower software costs. By sharing specialized software among many users instead of buying a license for every potential user, you'll save money.
  • Hardware savings. Sharing high-end workstations outfitted with expensive graphics processors, rather than investing in a machine for every user, will also save you money.
  • Less waiting. Since the software and all the data files will reside on the private application cloud, there are no lengthy upload and download wait times (as there are with many cloud architectures).
  • No increased threat to data security. Since your data never leaves your server, hacking and data theft concerns are no different than with any other in-house IT process.
  • Minimal learning curve, plus perpetual savings. Since this approach uses software you already use, there's no need to learn new complex cloud applications. And for extra savings, you can continue with perpetual licenses rather than renting cloud software.

I'm seeing more and more implementations of private application clouds, and that's no accident. The economic, speed, and security advantages of this approach are significant. Read more »

Tools and Resources

SOLIDWORKS Online Trial Access Now Available
Interested parties who register with the company can now try SOLIDWORKS 2017 through a web browser, without installing or downloading any software. The trial also includes access to SOLIDWORKS Simulation, SOLIDWORKS MBD, and SOLIDWORKS Visualize. Users have the option to use pre-loaded SOLIDWORKS models, access cloud sharing services, and upload their own design files.

What's New at

Structured-Light Technology Expands 3D Scanning Options for AEC
For users with less-stringent accuracy requirements, Matterport looks beyond lasers, capturing spaces with infrared instead. Read more »

Herrera on Hardware: Harnessing the Cloud for CAD — The Case for Virtual Workstations, Part 3
Once you've decided to bring cloud-hosted virtual workstations into your workflow, you'll need to tackle a host of additional decisions about platforms, providers, and instances. Read more »

AutoCAD Video Tips: Copy Multiple Objects out of Xrefs
If you want to copy a large group of objects out of an external reference (xref) and don't want to use the painful NCopy command that forces you to pick them one at a time, then you'll love this tip! Watch the video »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

Add comment

More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

For Architects! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the building design professional. Sponsored by HP.  Visit the Equipped Architect here!