While there have been several articles negatively discussing using cloud software for CAD, users should be aware that for the PLM aspects of collaboration a cloud based system is by far the best way to go. Okay, there are a few cons to using a cloud system for access, such as concerns over security and potential downtime over which users have no control. Security may be a major concern for government projects requiring super high levels of secure data requirements. For 98% of users this should not be a concern. That does not mean that you should blithely ignore what security your chosen cloud vendor provides – by all means make sure that your concerns are met. But today’s security and encryption seem more than adequate for most users, providing that it is properly executed and monitored. You might even want to consult with independent security experts prior to committing to a solution.
Nevertheless, there are a quite a few benefits that far exceed the other alternative — that of maintaining an internal server capability.
First I need to make an assumption that a typical user installation has the following situation:
- More than one engineering facility at which design is done
- Multiple suppliers that need some type of restricted access to the design data
Assuming this is the case (and I’ll bet that more than 80% of users fit in this category), then here are only a few advantages cloud based PLM software accrues:
- Little or no IT required for installation, setup, updates to the software, or backups.
- A single copy of the database that does NOT require synchronization among multiple servers.
- Easy management by database administrators
- Lower software costs??
- No personnel and space costs for servers or multiple servers
- Ready internet access via various speed connections worldwide
- No special costs for high speed telecomm connections
I can think of only two PLM systems that are completely architected for cloud operations: Arena Solutions and Autodesk 360.