April 15, 2013

Virtualization’s Impact on the AEC Industry

Ideate is always investigating new technologies that affect AEC firms’ workflow. Virtualization is one of those technologies. Server virtualization has been around for a while, and the firm’s IT Department/Consultant has been at the forefront of server virtualization.

Application virtualization is a different type of virtualization technology. Application virtualization is the dividing of a server into separate ‘virtual’ computers and then pooling the RAM resources of the server to serve all the virtual computers. Why is this a ‘game-changer?’
  • No need to purchase new laptops/workstations every 18-24 months. 
  • Ability to allocate resources (CPU + GPU) based upon usage metrics. Resources can be allocated dynamically, so each user gets the RAM they need, when they need it.
  • Deployment of software applications, users, and resources can be done centrally and pushed out to the users. Resource usage can be monitored and measured.
  • Lastly, users can access the firm’s software assets from anywhere, using any hardware (MAC or PC), through virtualization’s secure URL interface.  
Sounds easy, right? Well, it turns out there are some key issues to consider. This is what Ideate has been researching and testing over the last year. Here are some key factors to consider: 
  • Buying the right server hardware is crucial. Most critical errors to user satisfaction are because the hardware was bought on price, without thought of usability. 
  • Make sure your virtualization partner has Autodesk and virtualization experience. Most IT consultants are very experienced at virtualizing Microsoft Office programs, and not experienced at successful Autodesk software virtualization. 
  • Have the right Autodesk licensing. Virtualization is not a methodology to use one license of Autodesk product to serve many concurrent users. A review of the Autodesk Software Licensing Agreement is essential.
Want to know more? 

Ideate Consulting can provide both implementation and support services to ensure your firm’s successful move to virtualization.

Don’t forget to look through the great features our Ideate Technical Team has found in the new 2014 releases for Revit Structure, Revit Architecture, Revit MEP, Navisworks, Civil 3D, AutoCAD and more: ideateinc.com/2014

David Haynes, NCARB, PMP, LEED AP
Ideate Director of Consulting

David is a Registered Architect, Project Management Certified Professional, who previously had his own architectural practice and was President of a commercial design-build construction company for 15 years. A graduate of University of Arizona, he has worked as an Architect, contractor, developer and as a national construction manager for a national retailer. David currently provides business process analysis, virtualization and change management solutions for AEC clients across the United States involved in the design and building industry. Follow David on Twitter: @dhaynestech

Get it. Know it. Use it.