CAD in the Cloud? What you really want is cloud-based PDM!

There has been a lot of talk lately about “CAD in the cloud” - but I think there is an important distinction to make when discussing this. Are you talking about actual CAD design in the cloud, or referring to leveraging file storage and management on the cloud (while your CAD system still resides on your desktop)?  I think many of the people who talk about “CAD in the cloud” actually want “CAD files in the cloud” or “PDM in the cloud”.  Let me tell you why.

CAD cloud

What are the benefits of storing CAD files in the cloud?

Your data is securely stored and backed up - You don’t have to worry about a folder being deleted or losing an older version of a design. And you don’t even need to rely on IT to help you access or retrieve your work - the cloud solution provider is already taking care of that for you in the background.

You don’t have to worry about physical disk size limitations - If you’re reaching the point where you’ve broken the ceiling of how much data you can reasonably save on your workstation and hard drives, you’re probably fearing the need for humming servers with their own office space, personnel and AC units. Once again leveraging cloud solutions can handle all of this for you quietly in the background.

You can access your data from anywhere - Anywhere there’s internet you can access your data - your work computer, your home computer, your mobile device, wherever. The cloud unchains you from your work desk.

You can securely share data with anyone - Traditional on-premise PDM and PLM systems only allow you to share with other coworkers with a paid seat of the same system and within your corporate firewall. The cloud opens up sharing to additional stakeholders in your product design process whether it be someone in a different department like sales and marketing or completely external collaborators like customers, manufacturers, contractors etc. But that doesn’t mean its a free for all either, sharing is executed with invitations, locking, and different access levels to ensure absolute control and security.

Why not CAD in the cloud?

Hardi wrote about this in his post Why CAD is not moving to the cloud (quite yet) but here are the top reasons I’ve heard from engineers of why they aren’t interested in moving to CAD on the cloud:

  • You love your CAD system

  • You’re worried about network latency slowing down your design sessions

  • You have data in the proprietary format of the CAD system

  • Your design and manufacturing processes are tuned to the data format and capabilities of your CAD system

  • You have partners on the same CAD system

How can you take advantage of the cloud?

By using GrabCAD Workbench you can get all of the advantages of “CAD in the cloud” without giving up the CAD system that you love. Workbench runs on your PC, synchronizing your local files with your Workbench projects.  If you use SolidWorks, Workbench even runs right within SolidWorks - and more systems are on the way.

If you’d like to see your CAD files stored securely in the cloud, with all of the benefits listed above,  check out GrabCAD Workbench. And keep using that CAD system that you love!

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