CAD Manager's Newsletter (#412)

21 Aug, 2018 By: Robert Green

The Continuing Value of Local, Customized CAD, Part 2

Readers share their opinions on the local CAD vs. cloud CAD debate.

In the previous edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I made the case that local, customized CAD is still a better software management strategy than non-customized, cloud-based tools. I asked my readers to share their opinions on this debate, and, boy, did they ever!

In this follow-up, I'll share a sampling of those reader comments, note some trends, and provide additional conclusions on several aspects of the local vs. cloud CAD debate. Here goes.

Image by kirill_makarov /
Image by kirill_makarov /

The Case for Local Software

When I made my case for locally installed software, I posed these questions about working with cloud-based alternatives:

  1. How can I work through an Internet outage?
  2. How slow will my Internet become with all the new cloud CAD traffic?
  3. What happens if a cloud software tool experiences an outage or is hacked?
  4. How often will I have to update mobile apps?
  5. How can I be sure all my cloud and mobile data is secured?

The feedback I received was in the form of conversational threads in my Facebook group, called CAD Managers Unite! I can categorize the responses into the following groups:

  • Cloud won't work for us (52%)
  • Cloud works for a few things (27%)
  • Cloud will probably work in the future (5%)
  • Cloud is mostly working for us (16%).

Interestingly enough, my point about having customized software was never refuted — the entire debate focused on cloud or non-cloud topologies. I'm not sure if this means the support for customization is universal, or if the cloud debate is simply a greater concern.

Now let's look at some of the interesting comments for each group of responses.

Cloud Is Mostly Working for Us

In order to kick off the conversation, it is best to start with those who have the most positive views of cloud CAD installations, as their responses also allow for some interesting conclusions. Have a look at these:

"I'm not suggesting 'cloud' is the answer, just saying that it has a place. How many corporations (that purchase enterprise-quality Internet service!) have notable Internet outages? I assure you that we have far more power outages than we do Internet outages, and unless you have a building-wide UPS [uninterruptible power supply], you're not working through a significant power outage. Cloud-based technologies such as VDI [virtual desktop infrastructure] are huge because your employees can go sit at Starbucks or at home and work. Will they be 100% productive? Probably not, but most anything is better than 0%."

Read more »

Tools and Resources

Cadalyst Webinar Will Explore How GPU-Accelerated Virtual Workstations Are Powering Revit Mobility
On Wednesday, August 29, 2018, Cadalyst will host a webinar examining the use of virtualization to run applications such as Autodesk Revit. The featured case study is Clark Builders, a partner of the Turner Construction Company that uses NVIDIA Quadro vDWS-powered VDI across the organization to boost the performance of Autodesk Revit and Windows 10. This webinar is sponsored by NVIDIA and Autodesk.

What's New at

NVIDIA's Turing Tech Takes Real-Time Ray-Tracing GPUs to Next Level
At SIGGRAPH 2018, the graphics solutions developer celebrates achievement of a longtime goal, and launches a new graphics processing unit (GPU) lineup starting at $2,300. Read more »

AutoCAD Video Tips: Search and Rescue for AutoCAD Xrefs
Is there anything worse than broken xref links in AutoCAD? They can take hours to correct, depending on the extent of the path damage. Join AutoCAD tipster Lynn Allen to learn some amazing shortcuts to finding and repairing broken links that will save you loads of valuable time! Watch the video »

CAD Manager Column: The Continuing Value of Local, Customized CAD
Cloud-based CAD is being heavily promoted by software companies, but there are concrete reasons why CAD managers may be better off sticking with locally installed CAD that's tailored to their users' needs. Read more »

Herrera on Hardware: CAD Workstation Form Factors 101, Part 4 — New Flavors of Mobile Workstations Diversify the Spectrum
As mobile workstations become ever more popular, the form-factor options buyers have to choose from are expanding to include exotic display types and portability options. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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