As one of the more compute-intensive applications used on the desktop by any business, the hardware investment needed to run CAD/CAM applications from Autodesk can be quite substantial.
In addition, the nature of that work when Autodesk is deployed on-premise tends to be sequential because desktop systems can only really process one set of tasks at a time. So when you couple potential hardware savings with increased productivity, cloud computing seems like a natural for Autodesk.
According to Grant Rochelle, director of digital simulations in Autodesk's Manufacturing Industry Group, Autodesk has several cloud computing initiatives under way that extend the its capabilities on the desktop. Those projects include:
Rochelle says that because Autodesk makes heavy use of graphics processors, there will always be some need to process data locally. But it's also becoming clear that the economics of cloud computing can be applied to processing AutoCAD data remotely across a wide variety of application scenarios.
Rochelle adds that Autodesk is already exploring a broad number of cloud computing implementations of its software at the request of specific customers, many of which he expects will turn into additional commercial services.
As more processing power is brought to bear via cloud computing, the economics of many projects will fundamentally change as more engineers start to work in parallel on multiple projects. And anything that results in faster project completion times is going to be a major boon to the business as whole at a time when every hour of additional productivity counts more than ever.