Do I Need An Invitation To Join CAD/PLM Cloud?

Do I Need An Invitation To Join CAD/PLM Cloud?

Last week was very cloudy in Southern California. I’m sure you understand…  I’m talking about SolidWorks World 2010 in Anaheim, CA. It was time when SolidWorks presented their technological preview and first SolidWorks PLM on the cloud (SolidWorks Product Data Sharing). However, I want to start from a very interesting twitter message I’ve got at the time SolidWorks presented.

I can understand this twitter message from Arena. Arena was the pioneering cloud PLM solutions since early 2000s. It was called OnDemand back that time.  Finally, cloud apps started to appear in the mainstream presentations of vendors like Autodesk and SolidWorks. However, read Arena’s message and blog. Arena is looking how to organize work between SolidWorks’ new cloud solution and Arena’s Bill of Material products online. And this is very interesting turn that requires future discussion and understanding.

Interoperability Tabu and Cloud Openness
This is one of the most widely discussed and prohibited topics in CAD/PLM industry. In the very competitive world, CAD and PLM companies have hard time to maintain communications, formats and data exchange to provide a solution to their customers. However, introducing of cloud can bring a new voice in the story of interoperability. Internet and cloud, obviously perceived as the most open space. It will be very interesting to see how CAD/PLM solution on cloud will develop their openness skills in the future.

How Many Clouds Do We Need?
This is the question that I had in my mind when I’m thinking about future PLM cloud solutions. What will be the communication in the cloud and between clouds? How customers using SolidWorks will be able to use Arena PLM solutions? How SolidWorks on cloud will work with apps from How multiple CAD systems on cloud can be connected to the cloud solution from PLM and ERP vendors that I’m sure will depart to the cloud universe?  Those and many other questions I have in my mind. I’m sure we are about the right time to start discussing it.

What is my conclusion today? In my view, the cloud time is coming. We will see massive introduction of first solution on the cloud from CAD and PLM vendors. However, I hope we will not create multiple “PLM clouds” in the way we created multiple CAD files and PLM Databases. I hope, we’ll find a better solution to do so. Just my thoughts…

I’m looking forward to have more cloud-related discussions with you. And I posted about cloud before. If you haven’t had chance to see them, take a look below:

Cloudy PLM: Roadmap Into The Future

PLM Architecture: Get Off My Cloud?

Where is PLM on Industry Cloud Map?

Where is the PLM shortcut to the cloud?

Should PLM take Excel to the Cloud?

Host PLM Data using Cloud Services

How will PLM applications change when they move to a cloud?

Best, Oleg



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  • Thanks for asking, Oleg. For your readers who aren’t familiar with it, here’s an overview of how SolidWorks customers can use Arena.

    In brief, we have an existing integration that links Arena and SolidWorks, and with SolidWorks’ cloud offering, we expect our integration to work much in the same way as it currently does — possibly even better.

    Our current integration consists of two parts: 1) an Add-in to SolidWorks that allows engineers to create and reserve part numbers and link SolidWorks parts or assemblies to Arena Items, and 2) a Publisher that listens to the PDM vault and pushes properties to Arena.

    As a SaaS solution provider (also known as on-demand, or in current terms, “in the cloud”), we are agnostic to the location of the vault — imagine a cloud drawn around the PDM vault on this diagram of the Arena-SolidWorks Integration ( As long as the vault is available (and, importantly, SolidWorks continues its long-standing tradition of supporting third-party add-ins), the integration will work. And PDM in the cloud could make integration even easier, because the software to connect two cloud-based solutions generally has the same virtues as the solutions themselves: low or no IT overhead, continuous availability, and automatic upgrades.

    Just a note on the “cloud”: While SaaS-to-SaaS or cloud-to-cloud integrations are definitely a new concept in the CAD world, companies like Pervasive ( and Boomi ( have been doing it for years.

  • Hello Joe, Thanks for your comments and great explanations! Yes, you are right SaaS-type integrations are relatively new and in my eyes are still not much known to the people. Additional example to Prevasive and Boomi is the SaaS integration done by Workday (they actually acquired separate company to do so- With regards to SolidWorks and Arena integration, it seems to me very similar to the SolidWorks Product Data Sharing solution presented on SolidWorks World. Just instead of Arena, SolidWorks pushed files to the ENOVIA V6. Best, Oleg

  • Tom Gill

    Hi Joe,
    Thanks for the description on how Arena’s CAD integration works. Just to clarify, your integration manages metadata on the cloud by integrating with PDMWorks or PDMWorks Enterprise, but leaves the CAD models on the customers server. Am I correct?


  • Tom, My best knowledge is that Arena relies on local PDM system that manages CAD files in the vault. So, read CAD models are not going to the cloud… Best, Oleg