At the heart of the modern digital factory is a growing suite of applications that digitally design, test, and prototype products without a single piece of raw material ever being used. Modern CAD applications can model highly complex products in digital 3D mode, enabling engineers to change and modify every part of an assembly hundreds of times before anything is actually built.
The result is huge savings in the form of time and raw materials. Predictably, manufacturers have put back some of these savings into designing ever more complicated and feature-rich products, but much of the savings also go to the bottom line.
However, modern manufacturers are finding it harder to realize these savings because their design, engineering, test, and production teams are increasingly distributed across multiple offices, geographies, and time zones. Tapping expertise across many sites and enabling global manufacturing teams to store, share, and collaborate on large CAD files is now a critical requirement. One that traditional NAS and file servers – which were designed to scale within a single data center – are not equipped to meet.
Cloud storage has emerged as the solution to this multi-site CAD collaboration challenge. Here are 4 advantages of cloud-based CAD collaboration:
1. Multi-Site Cloud-Based CAD Collaboration Efficiency
Building a scalable collaboration platform that lets every designer reach the part of the product they need to be working on, and collaborate with their fellow engineers, is essential. With cloud storage and a global file system, manufacturing teams gain efficient cross-site CAD collaboration. CAD files are stored in the “new disk” – cloud object storage. Then, just the active work files are cached in each location by the global file system, giving every manufacturing team member high performance access to CAD files and related documents. The caching appliances look and act like traditional file servers or NAS devices, but are only a fraction of the size since they are only storing the active project data.
2. Secure CAD File Transfer
Proprietary designs are at the heart of any profitable, successful product line. Transferring large CAD files that represent these designs – between engineers, contract manufacturers, acquired companies, and even between a manufacturing company and its distributors – must be done securely. Public cloud storage from vendors such as Amazon and Azure and private cloud storage from vendors such as Dell EMC and IBM, together with a global file system from a vendor such as Nasuni, ensure these CAD file transfers are fast and secure by encrypting the data at rest and in flight and adding other safeguards. For many modern manufacturers, cloud storage is now more secure than traditional data center storage.
3. IT Simplicity
Aging file infrastructure spread out at the edge – file servers; NAS arrays; backup software, media, and devices; WAN acceleration, MPLS bandwidth, and file transfer tools – slows down file sharing, complicates data protection plans, and causes CAD files and other project data to be inaccessible when devices go down. Managing this complex infrastructure puts an enormous strain on IT budgets and resources. Cloud storage and a global file system consolidate these disparate tools and processes into a unified platform that is much cheaper and easier to deploy, operate, and scale.
4. Scalable Capacity and Performance
The sheer size of modern design files can get in the way of storing and sharing them. Minutes to hours of latency create long wait times for CAD models to synchronize and open. Group directories and project shares constantly run out of space. The modern solution – a global file system that is based in cloud storage and extends to any number edge sites – offers unlimited storage capacity and performance for CAD files, across any number of locations.
To learn more, watch the webinar: Efficient Cross-Site CAD Collaboration for Manufacturing. You’ll find out how some of the world’s leading manufacturers are realizing the 4 advantages of cloud-based CAD collaboration by using private or public cloud object storage and Nasuni.