CAD on the Cloud – available anytime, anywhere except when it isn’t

One of the multiple reasons Autodesk has failed to win over the masses to its Cloudy CAD vision is fear of unreliability. Anything that relies on using somebody else’s computer over the Internet adds potential points of failure to those already there on a standalone desktop system. These additional vulnerabilities include:

  • Your browser or thin client software fails
  • Your modem, cabling or other Internet connectivity hardware fails
  • Your Internet service provider has an outage
  • Malware or DDOS attacks on your domain or service
  • Governmental Internet service interference
  • Internet connectivity infrastructure failure
  • Malware or DDOS attacks on vendor domain or service
  • Cloud vendor infrastructure disaster
  • Cloud-based CAD software down for maintenance

I voiced my concerns about this in 2011, but technology has moved on since then and surely things are running as smooth as can be these days, right? Most computer users use Cloud services for backing up, sharing files, etc. and that seems pretty reliable, surely? How’s it going for Autodesk? Let’s ignore potential failures at your end and in the middle and confine ourselves to service reliability at the vendor end.

Autodesk kindly provides a health check site with a History option that allows you to look back in time in fortnightly steps to see how things have been going. At the time of writing, there are 25 full 14-day pages you can examine. Want to take a guess at how many of those pages show no problems?

Two.

That’s right, 92% of the last 25 fortnights have had at least one time where at least one Autodesk CAD Cloud service has been down or degraded. The most recent clean fortnight was in June last year. Most of the pages show multiple failures, such as this:
 

Some of those failures have exceeded an entire working day. How do you fancy that when you have a tight deadline to meet?

Let’s see how this compares with the service availability record of my old-fashioned standalone desktop CAD products over the same time period:
 

Hmm. Difficult decision.

8 Comments:

  1. Except for reboots required by Windows updates and the occasional hardware upgrade, my Acer desktop computer has run continuously 24/7/365 since I purchased it in 2010.

    • Ralph, your “since 2010” is intriguing. Did it come with Win7 and are you still on Win7? Or did you go to Win8/Win10 at some point?

      • I am keeping it on Windows 7, as some software my business relies on does not work with Windows 10. Kind of like all those corporations whose business-critical software still requires Windows XP. In my line of work, the only thing that needs to be compatible with my clients are the files I produce for them — PDFs, DOCs, etc. These are OS-independent.

        I have other computers running MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows 8, and Windows 10 — as well as Windows Vista and Windows XP, if needed.

        • Forgot to mention the tablets I have that run BB10 and WebOS (ex-Palm), phones that run PalmOS and WinCE, and a laptop with ChromeOS.

  2. We usually expect 99% up time for online services. The image shows they are very unreliable.
    Even for less resource consuming, the Desktop Subscription accounts are very unreliable. You can easily find threads about that topic in Autodesk Forum. I won’t rely my production software on their cloud.
    Just curious, anyone ever tried other vendor cloud services? Like Enovia V6 on cloud? Are they also not reliable or just Autodesk?

    • Despite the scary looking picture, it’s quite possible that Autodesk’s overall record is 99% or better if you divide the total amount of uptime by the total amount of time.

      If that 1% happens to be a day or two when you have a looming deadline and really need access to one particular piece of software right now, you’re probably still not going to be impressed by 99%.

  3. But none of those products represent core acad/verts right? Are people that do by rental and have decent ISP’s experiencing gaps in ability to run acad? I don’t even know what happens if you try to start desktop sub sessions without internet, do they work for a day or something like Bently software with internet based lic server does?

  4. jmaeding, I’d call Fusion 360 a core app for those who use it exclusively. The other aspect is some services are not just impacting a design team, Field could be multiple roles across a whole project.

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