Cloud benefits – constant updates

One promoted benefit Software as a Service is that you are always up to date. There are no local applications to install and maintain. You don’t need to go through expensive and disruptive annual updates and/or install service packs or hotfixes; all this is taken care of for you. The latest and greatest software is always automatically available to you, and because everybody is always using the same version, there will be no compatibility issues. You won’t need to worry about your OS being compatible with the latest release, either. Bugs, if not exactly a thing of the past, will be quickly taken care of without you even being aware of them.

This is something you all want, right? What could possibly be wrong with this picture?

3 comments to Cloud benefits – constant updates

  • Dave Ault

    I am going to make a couple of presumptions here. First that this is a cloud based service and that it is on cloud based servers both independent of the customers facilities. In no particular order here are some concerns and the assumption is this is mostly for CAD on the Cloud as this is a cad blog .

    .NET updates can bring lots of problems and these are required to go to new versions. You will have to figure the mess out at your end when it does not work because of the install base specific to you or your companies needs and outside the realm of testing the SAAS may or may not have done for compatabilities. This will be on all effected workstations and not just your test bed unit as before for Q&A before roll out.

    Graphics cards will have to be updated or changed. In my case recently I had to try two versions to get one that worked well after the one that was originaly installed. You will have to fix them all with no warning since you did not control the software updates.

    Many companies prefer to wait well into the release cycle before rolling out a new version update so they are not beta testers. Many companies still use XP Pro for this reason. They can predict what it will do and how based on actual experience with people on hand who know how to remediate problems. They are concerned about operating costs as well as predictability and upgrade on a cycle that benefits their business for many reasons. You will spend what it takes when told to do so with whatever the SAAS wonks tell you to do. Or of course you could continue to pay for something you can’t use and don’t upgrade.

    You will have security measures in place in your business. You audit these and determine according to a metric you choose based on your needs and customers signed NDA’s. With the SAAS you have no control, no audit capability, no nothing but a monthly bill. Does anyone out there honestly think Dassault or Autodesk will stand behind you when these breaches occur because you have to go on the web to do things? They know security can’t be guaranteed and so they don’t and won’t.

    This is a philosophical thing here. Lets use XP Pro for example. It does everything most companies need. the only reason for many to upgrade is because they are forced into it for reasons not based on XP capabilities. SE V5 means you can’t use XP Pro anymore for instance as it will be unsupported. So now you have forced OS upgrades along with forced equipment upgrades to meet SAAS demands whether it makes sense for how you operate or not.

    Many SW users right now are operating just fine on versions one or two years old or more because there has been no compelling reason to update. They are earning money and are not shut down. They are also letting Dassault know they are unhappy with the way things are going in the only way they can, by not forking over the dough. SAAS means you will have to pay without fail if you intend to work tommorow. SAAS is an autonomy buster that only benefits the software author in this important area.

    SAAS is tailor made for obfuscation of liabilities when problems happen to you. Mr SAAS says nope, the server farms fault sue them. Server farm says sue Dell, they sold us the server replacement board with the Chinese back door built in. The server farm says don’t sue us, sue the tech repair company who sent the worker who downloaded stuff or installed a backdoor. The ISP says don’t sue us, sue the Federal Government(insert your favorite freedom and security wrecking government here) whose proven track record of incompetent employees did not protect you when you were needlessly involved in Patriot Act fishing expeditions. Any and everything that can be will be used by corporate lawyers to obfuscate responsibility and in the end you will pay for the SAAS stuff that got you in the mess and the remediation of the mess, if you have the money to even survive. All because you were forced to go on the web where ultimately the person who made to choice to do so will pay the piper.

    Mentioned before on other venues is competitive improvements and it bears mentioning it again. I use SE for my cad program. I bought it because competition forced them to offer new and improved to compete in the market place. You know how bean counters work and the death grip they have on many companies. IF they had you locked in to a program where you could not operate autonomously, did not have your data, did not have your permenant seat of software and relied instead on the good graces of people who are more worried about quarterly bonuses than a good product. . . . , where do you think you might rate insofar as a robust reliable and constantly improving product for you is concerned?

    The main principle behind CAD on the CLOUD or CAD SAAS is to financially benefit with a hostage buyer group forced payments to the authoring company. To start you off cheap, lock you down and in and then put the screws to you. I like the all is taken care of for you theme. I have no doubt when the troubles start they will fully stand behind you. And too there can be no doubt that since this is meant to save you money there will be a sliding scale of peripheral costs reimbursements to offset the things you have to buy to use their stuff, right? SAAS will bludgeon ISP’s into removing data caps no doubt and into better thoughput rates to boot so you won’t have to work at half the in house speed to to the same things. It’s all about saving the customer money afterall isn’t it;o)

  • This is my first time here. I am overwhelmed with the sudden blast of information. Our company just completed a cloud server, which includes three workstations, an admin workstation for FTP and timesheet management and four slots for future workstations. So there are presently four “Drive C’s”, which share a “Drive E”. The whole thing is contained within one rack mounted box, measuring 17″ x 8″ x 30″. We have two Premium Design Suites and one Ultimate. We are switching to a cloud business model, because we are committed to BIM, and we have found after four years of trying that FTP is not a good vehicle for BIM. We are a service company to the building industry. We have done work all over the country for 20 years, over 1,000 projects, over 150 firms in 27 states, the US Virgin Islands and overseas. We have collaborated with BIM and CAD production workers all over the world.

    We are using stand alone licenses. we are only allowing licenses to be used by individuals, who are contracted in writing with our company to do work specifically for us on projects for one of our clients. If work expands too quickly we are contemplating inviting our collaborators to use their one time allowable uploaded installations of their stand alone licenses on workstations we would set up for them in our cloud.

    We are using Windows 7 Professional as an operating system. We are using Remote Desktop Connection and the security permissions in the operating system to manage access. Sharing is left totally open. I think the security protocols in Windows 7 Professional stink to high Heaven, and I am looking around in frustration to find an application, which might overlay the Windows 7 Professional security protocols and work faster and be much more user friendly.

    Our settings in Windows 7 Professional prevent any more than one user from being on the cloud at any given time. If one user is online and a second user attempts to log on, the first user gets a request to log off or deny access to the second user. If there is no reply the first user is kicked offline in 30 seconds. If a second user with the same user name and password logs in the first user is unceremoneously kicked off with no notice. We are configured for three users per workstation, so via rotating 8 hour shifts we can have as many as 9 users online during any 24 hour period. We are looking at the possibilities of having two teams, one which works 4 days per week and the other, which works 3 days per week. Thus, presently we can only support 3 users on the cloud at one time, but without adding more workstations we could support up to 18 users per week. These users will prototypically be limited to our production collaborators. We are only allowing our clients to get on the cloud via a cloud hosted online conference application, called Mikogo. That handles the visuals. We communicate orally by phone. No files are allowed to be uploaded or downloaded to or from the cloud via Remote Desktop Connection. We transfer files via the admin workstation, using FTP. This includes timesheets as well as drawing or model files.

    My concern is the EULA. From a behavior point of view we are using this cloud no different than any aggressive firm would be allowed to do, where all personnel would be functioning at workstations under one roof. The EULA states that cloud computing is not allowed. Yet, I have been told by two different Autodesk resellers, an attorney and a pretty well known cloud consultant that what we are doing is OK. I have in the past attempted to initiate dialog directly with Autodesk about this subject, but have had no responses. Maybe this forum will be different.

    In my opinion BIM belongs in clouds. BIM loves clouds. We should be allowed to use it there.

  • dave ea

    i can’t even begin to list all the complications that arise with implementing (and relying on) cloud-based applications. suffice it to say, this is not a simple issue by any means. you mentioned in your originating post that everything might be handled for you such as hotfixes and patches and updates. so… what if those updates break things (that would never happen, would it)? what if those updates are incompatible with other non-cloud resources you depend on? what if your users aren’t ready for an update (training-wise)? the questions go on and on. having everything ‘handled for you’… is not always an ideal scenario.

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