At DesignPoint, we understand the value of cloud solutions. We’ve partnered with EpiGrid to provide and implement SOLIDWORKS PDM for a number of our customers. Still, we’re finding that in our market those still exploring the cloud as a solution, have reservations about the cloud and that it’s in part due to all their options. Specifically, they want to know why they should choose EpiGrid over public and household names like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft’s Azure, or even DropBox?
This choice was a huge focus for EpiGrid, as their Cloud-hosted CAD services required a hosting provider for it to work. Think of the Cloud-hosting provider as the server AND the IT staff to manage the server. The equivalence can be drawn to any on-premise server your business currently uses – there is a cost for the server hardware and the maintenance of it. Choosing the right Cloud strategy was so important that all options were initially on the table.
Just like your internal IT support of those server infrastructures, Cloud-hosting providers have varying levels of integration and support. The household names, such as AWS, Azure, and Dropbox all provide a Cloud-hosted architecture that can be used with SOLIDWORKS to varying degrees. However, the fundamental difference between these options and EpiGrid is the choice between a Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud.
In a Public Cloud, server resources such as processors, RAM, and even HD storage are shared with individuals from massive server farms with seemingly infinite resources. This type of Cloud is great for housing and sharing simple office documents, such as PDFs or PowerPoints, that are neither complex nor large. However, CAD data is far more complex, with multiple file references, toolbox files, imported files, multiple revisions of files, etc. And that’s where a simple Cloud solution like DropBox breaks down – they just can’t manage the intricacies of complex file relationships.
Fortunately, SOLIDWORKS has a Product Data Management (PDM) system designed to manage the complexities of CAD data, and it can be leveraged on the Cloud in the context of an engineering office environment. With PDM, a Cloud-server can be spun up just like an on-premise server, and a PDM Standard or Professional vault can be deployed to it.
This is where the differences of Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud come into play. In the end, EpiGrid decided to invest in a Private Cloud infrastructure for the following reasons:
- Predictable Pricing
- Security and Compliance
- Management of the Solution