Autodesk also made a critical move in anticipation of manufacturer concerns about securing critical design IP in the cloud. It is not putting its core Vault product data management (PDM) system, which houses engineering data like full-blown CAD models and assemblies, in the cloud. Vault remains a traditional on-premises application with conventional, behind-the-firewall security options. To share relevant data, it’s seamlessly integrated via a set of open APIs with the cloud-based Autodesk PLM 360.
“The cloud is the perfect technology for PLM, not PDM,” Kross said. “The big files should be kept inside the firewall with Vault. PLM is more about lighter-weight data and turning design data into product information. It’s also about working with people outside of engineering, and the cloud is a perfect way to spread that data to the extended enterprise.”
Steve Bodnar, Autodesk’s vice president of PLM strategy, had a lot to say about the evolution of cloud computing in security, particularly as it relates to high performance and disaster recovery. The software’s modern, no-programming approach is also important to widespread adoption of PLM, he said, since expensive programmers and consultants are not needed, and users can easily customize the dozens of pre-installed apps that automate a range of product development business processes, from quality management to new product introductions, cost management, compliance management, and project and program management.
Licensing is another big area of differentiation for Autodesk 360 PLM. Full-function access for the first three professional users is free, and each additional user is priced at $75 per month on an annual contract basis.