I know, the last post clearly stated (with images) that SolidWorks and your precious models would get sucked up into ‘the Cloud.’ So, while we’re all getting comfy with that idea, I’d like to destroy it. The concept of it. We won’t use SolidWorks (or any other program) on the cloud. We will simply use SolidWorks. Here’s why…

The Cloud

First, we need to stop calling it the Cloud. It’s great for presentations, but it’s like calling email the Fatman – slow, inefficient, too much of’em. A better analogy would be the Ninja (thanks Al Dean.) However, storing data in ‘the Ninja’ just sounds disgusting. So, instead of explaining the future in the cloud, and then having to explain the cloud, let’s just say it’s instant. Instant computing, instant access, instant compatibility.

An example. Check out Dropbox. It’s been around since 2007 and has quickly become the most simple approach to what computing will be like. Seamless and accessible. Not in something, but about something, your data.

The Reaction

Dropbox is a static file example, though. How will you instantly access, create and modify your designs? The same way, instantly with instant response. Now that the word instant has become as annoying as the word cloud, let’s take a look at the idea of how this will happen.

OTOY has developed, in conjunction with AMD, a ‘server-side 3D rendering technology’ for gaming, based on OpenGL. At the very least, SolidWorks has talked with them. In September 09, Jules Urbach, CEO of OTOY, said the following:

A graphics card typically displays things on a monitor. Our technology does compression and virtualizes a game or application and it runs on a compressed stream to a client. In a browser, it will run instantly – no Flash, no browser, just HTML.

We developed a codec for this use that installs on the Webpage – then you can get HD streams that replicate your entire desktop in the cloud. This implementation allows you to play a Blu-ray disc full screen, or Photoshop, or SolidWorks.Tech Republic

It’s rare you see that last word along with Photoshop and Blu-ray, so obviously there’s a partnership there. In the same arena of rendering tech, Autodesk has thrown in it’s funding to OnLive, another streaming game service. Both companies are investing in this technology. It is happening.

Here’s Jules at CES 2009. You’ll get a good dose of ‘cloud’ speak, but it easily shows you the capabilities of this technology.

What to take away from the above video?

“If we can put a game like this in the cloud, we can put any application in the cloud.” – Jules Urbach

Ok, so bam, the platform-independent SolidWorks concept shown Monday will solve all our issues. We’ll have other problems though – lost connections, service interruptions, but it’s likely we won’t even notice. Nevertheless, old people will frown and young people will laugh, but it will all be good, because it won’t be that ‘cloud’ thing. It will be instant access to design and design tools, interacting right along with all your other apps.


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.