Yes, Chuck, it's good to leave that saying behind. The other one hat comes up so often is that the file is too large so send by email. Even ftp sites now won't take large files, and Dropbox has limitations unless you pay a monthly fee. The cloud really is the answer to a lot of this.
TJ: The way Autodesk is pursuing a cloud strategy appears to address some of your concerns about bandwidth. The main engineering repository or PDM (Product Data Management) platform is not being offered in the cloud. Autodesk Vault, as it's called, remains a traditional, behind-the-firewall type of application with the requisite security options and without reliance on Internet bandwidth for sharing files.
The cloud-based tools, PLM 360, and some of Autodesk's other cloud offerings leverage the cloud for collaboration and for heavy-duty, scalable compute power. CAD files that are shared via the cloud are lightweight versions of the full-blown model, so they can be visualized and marked up, but they are not the full geometric representation.
As for the different security options others raise, that I'm not sure about. Sorry.
The security aspect has been discussed already, so let's cover cost now. I don't mean the cost of the Autodesk software, nor even of the tablet hardware.
I'm talking about the cost of the bandwidth. How fast are we going to burn through the 2gb limits that the wireless companies have most commonly imposed? Or, WORSE, if you exceed your monthly budget, your access is throttled?
At the same time Autodesk is pushing the cloud, it is also pushing 3D software like Inventor. 3D files are NOT as small as 2D AutoCAD files. Even some of the more complicated, many-layered building architecture 2D files (the ones with each service defined on a separate layer) can be 20mb or greater. It would not take long to hit that 2gb monthly limit.
We are not yet at the point where cloud computing is secure AND no longer cost-prohibitive.
AT&T even tries to double-dip its customers by charging for the data AND tethering (using your smartphone as a modem for your computer). No, until we see some better bandwidth options, I see problems with mobile cloud computing.
Security would be the major issue on several levels. I worked at one place that tightly controlled all Internet activity and I can see how this would be a major problem for them, as well as the bandwidth needed. There would be concerns about how well the company's IP is backed up, how backups can be accessed, how controlled the access to the IP is, what happens when an employee leaves the company, how to control file sharing with others. This one would be tough to do in the cloud, but it sure is tempting to push all that horsepower off onto somebody else's computer.
Just wondering if Autodesk or others have options for various security models that their customers would use. While I don't doubt that they have taken steps to make sure access is secure, I've been surprised by the number of companies that have taken things well beyond usual "remote" authenticatons, such as the inability to even access the company's data without software installed on a PC that was solely issued by the company (i.e., no working form home on your own hardware, even).
While we might question whether mobile and social media will gain much traction in CAD, cloud has to be a no-brainer. As the software becomes more sophisticated the ability to move files back and forth becomes increasingly difficult. So why move the files? Sharing files that have a single residency (in the cloud) makes a lot of sense.
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Good engineering designs are those that work in the real world; bad designs are those that don’t. If we agree to set our egos aside and let the real world be our guide, we can resolve nearly any disagreement.
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