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Does it Make Sense to Use Azure AVD for CAD Environments?


The switch to remote work has been a growing trend in the AEC industry for years. Architects and engineers are increasingly mobile and work from home, clients' expectations are rising, and technology is becoming more sophisticated and integrated. However, most devices used for remote work are not built to effectively support CAD applications, which can lead to frustration and inefficiency. There is a need for a device that is purpose-built for running CAD software and applications, which is where the Azure AVD comes in.

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Enter Azure Virtual Desktop (Azure AVD). Azure AVD is a cloud-based desktop-as-a-service (DAAS) that provides users with a high-performance CAD environment that can be accessed from anywhere. It is designed to work with all major CAD applications, including Autodesk Revit, Autodesk Navisworks, Bentley Systems MicroStation, and Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS. In this article, we will take a closer look at Azure AVD and explore its use cases on whether it makes sense for CAD users.

What are CAD Environments?

CAD environments are defined as step-by-step tools and processes used by engineers and architects to design, visualize and simulate the behavior of physical or virtual objects. The most popular CAD environments are Autodesk AutoCAD, Bentley Systems MicroStation, PTC Creo, and Siemens NX.

These tools allow end users to create 3D models of objects and components, which can then be used to generate 2D drawings or simulations. CAD environments usually include a variety of specialized tools for different tasks, such as modeling, drawing, animation, and rendering.

Some CAD environments are designed for specific industries, such as automotive or aerospace engineering. Others are more general-purpose and can be used for a wide range of applications. CAD environments usually require high-powered computers with fast processors and plenty of memory. They also require a special graphics card that can handle the demands of 3D modeling and rendering. CAD environments are often used in conjunction with other software applications, such as computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and computer-aided engineering (CAE).

CAD environments are well suited for organizations that require the use of specialized hardware, such as graphics processing units (GPUs) or field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). For these organizations, the cost of deploying and maintaining on-premises windows hardware can be prohibitive.

Characteristics of CAD Environments

CAD environments are often complex, with many different types of software running on a variety of hardware. The features of these environments can vary greatly, but there are some commonalities.

GPUs are often used in CAD environments, as they can provide the necessary power for complex graphics rendering. Nvidia GPUs are a popular choice, as they offer good performance and are relatively affordable.

CAD environments often need to be run on powerful hardware, as they can be very resource-intensive. This can be a problem for businesses, as the cost of high-end hardware can be prohibitive. Setting up an on-premise workstation for a CAD environment can run from $1000 to $2000.

CAD environments require low latency and high bandwidth. This is due to the fact that many operations in a CAD environment are real-time, and even a small amount of latency can cause issues.

Requirements of CAD Environments

CAD environments require high-end graphics cards and processors to run smoothly. They are also very resource intensive, which can make using a virtual machine (VM) difficult. Azure AVD can help overcome these challenges by providing the power and resources needed to run CAD programs without lag.

Further CAD environments require many system resources, often more than what is available on a single physical machine. This can make working with large models or assemblies difficult, as the system may slow down or even crash.

Azure AVD provides the following benefits for CAD users:

  • Powerful graphics processing units (GPUs) that can handle the demands of CAD programs
  • High-end processors that can keep up with the demands of CAD programs
  • Plenty of memory to run CAD programs without lag
  • The ability to run multiple VMs at the same time, so you can have a dedicated CAD environment that is always available
  • The ability to use cloud-based storage, so you can access your files from anywhere

The features above make Azure AVD an ideal solution for businesses that require a high-powered CAD environment. The cost of setting up and maintaining an on-premises workstation can be prohibitive for many businesses, but a virtual CAD workstation provides an affordable alternative that can scale to meet the needs of even the most demanding users.

Using azure AVD for CAD environments 

The cloud is increasingly being used for computationally demanding applications such as computer-aided design (CAD). Azure AVD can be a good option for running CAD workloads in the cloud. Azure AVD provides a pay-as-you-go model that can be used to scale up or down as needed. Azure AVD also offers a variety of features that can be used to optimize performance and reduce costs.

What are the benefits of CAD Environments on Azure AVD?

As the migration of business applications to the cloud continues, many organizations are looking at their options for running Computer-Aided Design (CAD) in cloud-based environments. There are many benefits of running CAD in the cloud, including reduced latency, increased workspace flexibility, and authentication management.

One of the key benefits of running CAD in the cloud is reduced latency. By moving data and applications off of on-premises infrastructure and closer to users, organizations can see a significant reduction in the time it takes for users to access and use CAD data and applications. This can be a major benefit for organizations with global operations, as it can help to improve collaboration and communication between teams.

Another benefit of running CAD in the cloud is increased workspace flexibility. With on-premises infrastructure, organizations are often limited by the number of physical workspaces that are available. By moving to a cloud-based environment, organizations can provide multi-session to users with access to virtual workspaces that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. This can be a major benefit for organizations with mobile or remote workers.

Security is another key benefit of running CAD in the cloud. By using a cloud-based environment, organizations can take advantage of advanced security features and controls that can help to protect data and applications from threats. This can be a major benefit for organizations that handle sensitive data or that operate in highly regulated industries.

CAD environments require a huge amount of computing power and resources. Cloud services provide scalable computing power and storage, so you only use what you need and can quickly add more resources as your needs change. This can save your organization a lot of money, as you won’t have to invest in on-premises infrastructure that may not be fully utilized.

Finally, one of the benefits of running CAD in the cloud is authentication management. With on-premises infrastructure, organizations often have to manage a variety of authentication mechanisms, including Active Directory and local user accounts. By moving to a cloud-based environment, organizations can take advantage of Azure Active Directory(Azure AD) to manage authentication for all of their users. This can be a major benefit for organizations that want to simplify their authentication management.

Setting up a virtual desktop for CAD

Nowadays, the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software industry is booming. Companies are increasingly relying on cloud-based solutions to store and share design data. Azure AVD is a great choice for those looking to set up a virtual desktop for their CAD needs. It offers a number of benefits, including lower latency and the ability to optimize CPU utilization.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind before setting up an Azure AVD for your CAD environment. First, you'll need to set up an Azure account and start the process of provisioning a new AVD. To do this, navigate to the Azure portal and select "Create a resource." Then, select "Desktop & apps" and click "create." Next, you'll need to select an Azure VM size. For most CAD applications, we recommend the D4s v3 or D8s v3.

Once you've provisioned your VM, you'll need to install your CAD software. For this, we recommend using a Microsoft Remote Desktop session. To do this, open the Remote Desktop Connection app and enter your VM's public IP address. Once you're logged in, follow the prompts to install your CAD software. Once it's installed, you're ready to start using your Azure AVD for CAD.

Why are CAD Users Moving to the Cloud?

CAD users are looking to the cloud for a variety of reasons. They’re drawn to the increased flexibility and scalability that the cloud offers, as well as the pay-as-you-go pricing model. In addition, many CAD users are finding that the cloud can provide a more secure and reliable environment for their data and applications.

The cloud offers a number of advantages for CAD users, including:

  • Increased flexibility: With the cloud, users can access their applications and data from anywhere, at any time. They’re not tied to a single datacenter or a specific device
  • Scalability: Cloud-based applications can be easily scaled up or down to meet changing needs
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing: Cloud services are typically priced on a pay-as-you-go basis, so users only pay for what they use
  • Security: The cloud can provide a more secure environment for data and applications than on-premises systems
  • Reliability: Cloud-based systems are often more reliable than on-premises systems, due to the fact that they’re designed to be highly available and redundant with effective vmwares

How cloud equalizes the CAD playing field?

For years, the high cost of computer-aided design (CAD) software and hardware have been a barrier to entry for many companies and individual professionals. But with the advent of cloud-based solutions like virtual desktop infrastructure (vdi) that's all changing.

The growth of internet connectivity and the falling cost of cloud computing are making it possible for small and medium-sized businesses to get the same level of functionality and power that was once only available to large enterprises. This has ensured that the playing field is now level, and that businesses of all sizes can compete on a more equal footing.

Large enterprises could afford to invest in the latest and most powerful operating systems, CAD software and hardware, as well as the highly trained staff required to use it effectively. This meant that they had a significant advantage over their smaller counterparts. But for smaller businesses, the high cost of entry was simply too prohibitive.

With cloud-based solutions like Azure AVD formerly known as windows virtual desktop (WVD) small and medium businesses can now get access to the same level of desktop environments, and CAD software as large enterprises. This means that they can now compete on a more equal level, without having to make the same level of investment.

Azure AVD is a cloud-based solution that offers all the benefits of traditional CAD software, without the high upfront costs. Its pay-as-you-go pricing model means that you only pay for what you use, making it a more affordable option for small businesses and individual professionals.

What's more, Azure CAD workstation offers the same features, user experience, and functionality as traditional on-premise workstations, so you're not sacrificing quality or features by switching to a cloud-based solution.

Talk to our experts in Microsoft Azure Managed Services

Move your  CAD Environments to the cloud today

Azure AVD for CAD Environments makes sense for some users. The cloud offers a number of advantages for CAD users, including increased flexibility, scalability, and pay-as-you-go pricing. In addition, the cloud can provide a more secure and reliable environment for data and applications.

As you can see, Azure Virtual Desktop for CAD Environments can be a great solution for many companies. It is cost-effective and provides all of the features and benefits that you would expect from a cloud-based solution.

If you're in the market for a cloud solution for your CAD environment, Azure AVD may be worth considering. Our team of experts can help you make the switch and take advantage of all that Azure has to offer. Our team at ne Digital is experienced in designing and running secure IT mission-critical workloads in Microsoft Azure Cloud and IBM Cloud. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you make the most out of your business.

Topics: Azure

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