Any business owner who works with 3D CAD programs, Get Your Head Out of the Clouds and Put Your CAD In It especially those who have multiple design engineers on staff, knows the financial burden of having to buy a high powered CAD station for each engineer. Currently, it is a necessity that each engineer has their own workstation with good processing and graphics power. But what if it wasn’t?
NVIDIA Corp announced earlier this year the release of their new VGX platform, which will allow users to move their computing power from a workstation to a server, known as cloud computing, without any loss in performance. What are the benefits? First, instead of having a high powered workstation for each engineer, a standard computer could be used and all the graphics processing will be done on the server, with the data being sent from the server to the computer. NVIDIA claims that one server using a single VGX graphics processor board can support 100 users operating programs with heavy graphics processing needs. The other benefit (depending on who’s asking) is it allows work to be done remotely, regardless of the device or operating system. It would essentially come down to the strength of the internet connection. We’re talking SolidWorks on an iPhone. Oh, the possibilities…for good and evil. Imagine calling in sick and saying “Sorry won’t be able to finish that design until tomorrow” and hearing “You have a mobile don’t you?”
Get Your Head Out of the Clouds, and Put Your CAD In It NVIDIA is not the first company to attempt cloud-based engineering software. It has been tried without success due to the lag time between server and operating device. However, NVIDIA claims to have eliminated nearly all perceptible lag via patents pertaining to memory management technology, which is a huge step forward. If there is anything design engineers hate, it’s a slow computer.
Depending on the company, engineers would not always be drawn from the processing power of the server, making it even faster. Sometimes they will be in meetings or doing other things. It’s sort of like the idea of sharing a lawnmower. Since you and your neighbors each mow the lawn only once a week, why each has your own mower? Spend a fraction of the price and pool your money to buy an awesome mower that you can each use once a week on a different day…except you could mow from your iPhone.