CAD as SaaS

There are five us in my house. We have four, nice computers. Until this week we were a happy family living the dream.

This week the youngest had homework and we found ourselves short one computer. The fighting began. So I went to the basement, threw some parts together, installed Ubuntu (Linux) and within an hour had everyone in the house on their own computer.


(This is what the computer looked like when I set it on his desk.)

This homemade machine didn’t have a part on it less than four years old, most parts were significantly older, yet he went to my Google Docs account and put together a rather nice looking report complete with pictures and even a little graph. The performance was pretty good perhaps even as good as your top of the line CAD station works with office documents.

So I got to thinking, in the last few years the need for increasingly faster computers has tapered off. Aside from Great Aunt Eleanor’s PC games, hardware seems to have caught up with software. Except for CAD.

Companies are still buying hardware every few years to get the most out of their CAD systems.

**Special note before I go any further – I don’t have any more of a look into the future of SOLIDWORKS than you do. This is just one guy sitting in his little cubical under the big florescent light wondering and scratching his chin…**

Back two years ago at SOLIDWORKS World, they showed us what SOLIDWORKS may look like on the cloud. (From now on let’s use the correct term “Software as a Service” – SaaS. Please!?) People ran into the streets, screaming the sky was falling. SOLIDWORKS, it seemed, had finally jumped the shark. Hey I was one of them. At the time it was big and scary.

I know SOLIDWORKS as an SaaS application wouldn’t work for everyone. Some people aren’t going to be able to have their files stored off site. (Though these exact same people don’t seem to hesitate to put their files in a public DropBox folder.) However take a minute, and step back and wonder about not having to get a new machine every other year, not downloading new video drivers or searching for hardware compatibility.

What if this crazy hardware race that we have been living with for the past twenty years is finally slowing down?

I hope it happens.

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