Storing CAD Databases In The Cloud

A while ago Microsoft contacted me asking whether I would be interested in writing a guest article for their TechNet blog on Enterprise Applications running on Microsoft SQL Server. At first I was reluctant since I am basically a CAD guy with not much experience with enterprise applications. But after some thought I agreed to contribute something related to CAD. Today my guest article titled “Storing CAD Databases in the Cloud” was published on the Microsoft TechNet blog. And just so that you know, I had nothing to do with being referred to as a “PLM industry analyst and CAD expert“. 😉

Actually I got a kick out of writing this article, for a very different reason. You see, Microsoft paid me for writing this article. All my life I have been sending money Microsoft’s way. It felt really good to get back some from them. 😉

And for those of you wondering why it has been a bit quiet on this blog lately, please be advised that I am “extremely busy” in Hawaii. To know exactly how busy I am you can visit my personal blog at


  • Chris

    Deelip, do think companies like Airbus and other IP sensitive manufacturers will be willing to put their data on a cloud environment? I can see having a cloud setup running within the boundaries of an organization, but having sensitive data (I know we all use the web to track/manage our bank/finances, so its secure) but I still think there will be resistance by most larger OEMs to putting their CAD IP on a cloud environment.

    • AFAIK, large OEM’s track/manage their finances on the web. 😉

      In fact, they will have the least problem moving to the cloud because they already have a private cloud setup in place for their other business processes.

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  • Chris

    It’s not the technical aspects I was asking about, but more the perceptions and hesitation for organizations to trust their technical IP outside the 4 walls of their building. I think engineers and mfg. will be resistant to the idea of having their data hosted (no matter the security) outside their physical buildings.

    • I was not talking about the technical aspects either. The perceptions and hesitations you talk about will go away just like they went away for online banking. That’s just the way things happen.

      • NIraj

        Everyone is talking about Cloud Set up but can we know when exactly it will be coming in the market…….SolidWorks User

      • NIraj

        Everyone is talking about Cloud Set up but can we know when exactly it will be coming in the market…….SolidWorks User

      • I , too, use the online banking analogy when I talk about emerging technologies with my customers and colleagues: Who would you trust more? A waiter in an unfamiliar restaurant in an unfamiliar country taking your credit card in the “back room” to swipe your card to charge your bill or using it on

        I know some people who won’t use ATMs.

  • Rick

    The cloud will always be limited by bandwidth. The CAD databases will benefit greatly from compression. I have found that Solidworks files are 1200 times larger than the information required to define the part. Of course that level of compression will make it easy to store the CAD data locally. A memory stick could easily store all of the CAD data for my company.

    • I recently saw a demo from CADM ( of their CAFM/CRE software – specifically, their Space Management, Moves/Changes, and Occupancy features.

      According to CADM, their system is “web-deployed (read Cloud) with strong links to centrally held and managed CAD information”

      What I found interesting was how CADM “strips” DWG drawings and stores only the information relevant to Space Management, Moves/Changes, and Occupancy. And, in some instances, it replaces certain DWG elements with less data-heavy icons which are more than adequate for the task at hand.

      I thought CADM’s implementation was clever which, in turn, made their application more suitable for Cloud by reducing the bandwidth requirement.

      My point: Like Deelip’s clever implementation of bus design data, one can come up with apps for CAD platforms that are eminently suitable for Cloud implementation.

      Also interesting to note that their largest customer are multi-national financial institutions.

  • Rick

    Something changed while I was on vacation. I can no longer log in to DISQUS. I think that this type of failure will be typical for Cloud computing. I am posting as a guest.

  • Randy

    The challenge I see with cloud storage is that the firm storing the information may no longer be in business next month. Your data will be on an offline hard drive somewhere in Texas.

    And the band width issue will continue.

  • John

    The problem I see with cloud computing is its dependence on electricity.

    The firm running my power plant may no longer be in business next month.

    The only safe bet is drawing with charcoal on a cave wall.

  • Uwegraphics

    Hey you get out of my cloud 😉
    Have they been on drugs?
    What does it bring to the designers ( cad operators) ?

  • Well, storing “cad data” on sql server is the least possibility but you will soon (1-2 years) see “cad data” stored on clouds mostly using no-sql(key-value pairs) databases. They are the best suited databases for CAD rather than traditional databases…. What will designers get? availability of your cad data wherever you are, whichever device you are using. you can open ur cad visulizer on ur mobile phone or any thin device with “0” cad footprint? . Authoring cad will be much faster and as easy as desktop based application while ur data is always backed up and securely stored?

  • Gregg

    I find the “on-line” banking analogy somewhat false … at least for now. I know if I deposit money in the bank, its federally insured (at least in the U.S. We all know American history around 1939). The next major advancements in the Cloud might not be technical … but legal.