How do you feel about CAD in the Cloud?

How do you feel about CAD in the Cloud?

Early last year, I ran a poll to gauge your feelings about CAD in the Cloud. Here are the results of that poll:

Cad in the Cloud 2010 Poll

As you can see, the poll response bell curve was clearly biased toward the frightened end of the spectrum, and there was little in the way of excitement at the Cloudy prospects for CAD. A fair bit has happened since last February (particularly the recent Autodesk Cloud announcement), so I thought I’d see how the ground lies at the moment. Are you feeling more positive about Cloudy CAD than you were 18 months ago? 

I’ve just added a poll for you to vote on, identical to last year’s. In addition, I’d love to see your comments on the subject. Is CAD in the Cloud inevitable, or is it not going to fly? If you don’t think it will take off and take over, why not? Is it going to be Heaven, Hell, or somewhere in between? I have my own views, but I’ll keep them to myself for now; the floor is yours.


  1. Chris Cowgill

    I dont think I’m a fan of having my design out there, where I have absolutely no control over how safe it is, leaving it in the hands of others to keep it secure. For now, I’ll keep my software local. We dont deal with other clients or consultants that would warrant needing to work on the same file at the same time via the cloud.

  2. dave ea

    very few seem to understand the very real risks involved… and they are numerous, subtle and profound when it comes to issues like control, security, stability, and accountability.

  3. Dave Ault

    About 9 months ago I had posted a list of 40 questions for these cloud advocates, in particular for DS/SW since they are the major CAD proponents of this. Ranging from throughput to security to reliability and NONE of these questions were ever answered with working as touted examples of proof of concept. Evasions on subscription costs, is there going to be subscription only models for users, does the program have to go online to work, will they guarantee data reliability and throughput rates even over the infrastructure they can never own or controll and on and on. It’s like the Obama Whitehouse where nothing works as planed or stated, it costs a lot more and the reasons for failure can be attributed to everything and everyone else but the creators of the “program”.

    The effort to push users on to the cloud with the astounding affordability of powerfull desktop workstations this year dictates that the purported unaffordable cost of computing that can only be avoided by going to the cloud is pure deceit. So you still have to buy a PC, still have to have a support staff who will have to try and bail you out from the latest failed but forced update from the cloud provider. You will have to get a T-1 line just to try and come close to what your local network used to do. And of course when the inevitable data breaches occur and your customer sues for breach of confidentiality just whom do you think will be left to hold the bag hmmmm? NONE of these cloud proponents have ever put in writing anything about making you whole from this and I bet all the numerous escape clause lawyer weasel words included in any cloud proponents EULA make sure you will be the one who suffers.

    Follow the money. From the little I see from DS for instance, whose name I use because they are the chief proponenets it is all about a CPA MBA Lawyer wet dream of forced payments and data hostages. From Jeff Death Ray’s SW/DS user inflicted pain will force users to the cloud comments to actual things like n!Fuze. n”fuze as a concrete example of cloud savings is $70/month, requires 2 licenses to run and will cost $840 for each one for 12 months. Oh,I forgot to mention that that is $840.00 for EACH customer and I don’t really expect that your customers will be eager to pay for something that used to be free for them like EDrawings. Of course there is a one time up front cost for example for me to own my permanant seat of Solid Edge but my yearly costs of ownership are $1,500.00 and I can share my data with any number of customers with provided aps for that at no extra charge.

    Fraught with unsolvable technical difficulties we have come full circle back to the days of mainframe computing and all the problems that created the demand for autonomy and desktop PC’s. If you are not aware of even a part of the numerous articles posted on a wide range of tech columns, reports and blogs demonstrating in real current time the abundance of failures of the cloud for anything, and might I add most nowhere near as complicated as CAD and you subscribe to this cloud paradigm, you will find that ignorance most definitely is not bliss.

    There is a reason why DS has not rolled out much of anything for the cloud yet and it is because somewhere in the backround where the last shread of sanity prevails [this is not Bernards office by the way] the people who are supposed to make this all work can’t and have to date stopped deployment.

    Question for all the readers here. I know some of you are all excited about this cloud but is there any place you can show me a real example of daily use for cad with complex models with reliable secure creation that even comes close to what a powerfull autonomous workstation on your desktop provides? The answer quite simply is no.

  4. R. Paul Waddington

    Technical advantages/disadvantages aside, putting your data (any data) “in the cloud” or in anothers hands/control will/does have its problems.

    Without substantial USER contractual control over the “cloud” operator(s) and without a commitment to fully reimburse users’ LOSSES due to any failure of the “cloud” and/or its operators, using somebody elses “cloud” makes no commercial sense.

  5. The cloud opens substantial new territory in computing power. The ability to perform hundreds of simultaneous simulations is not a convenience, it is neccessary in some cases, and impossible in most. The cloud enables this to be performed quickly. Simulation, FEA, Rendering, etc. I am quite excited to get my paws on this type of technology.
    As for using a CAD application that is served from the cloud, I’m not worried. The overall technology is not ready for full usage, and when it is, the customer base will adopt as comfort levels rise. The developers cannot wait until people like it better, they have to develop the technology now so that it is ready as consumers demand it more.
    So far I don’t see a down side. The technology is too infantile and in such a state of change that sincere discussions about specific flaws and limitations, while not a waste of time, should be approached as a method of bolstering the future services, and not reasoning to stop the process.

  6. It’s an interesting question. In an non-cad context when debating cloud vs not I was asked the question: “Would you like your medical records stored in the cloud”. My answer is I have no real handle on where my medical records are now so a properly administered secured cloud (which I could access and see who accessed) would likely be better.

    As for design is a (presumed bank strength security) cloud really any more risk than hard drives, usbs, emails & cds floating about with design data? Do you trust your company IT to be as secure as a system dedicated to sharing data in a known hostile environment?

    More questions than answers I know but from what I’ve seen more people trust cloud apps than don’t, look at Internet Banking.

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