Nutanix+Frame trajectories and cloud CAD transition

Nutanix+Frame trajectories and cloud CAD transition

I’ve been following the story of Frame (also known as or Mainframe2) company and their virtualization technology. Frame provided virtualization infrastructure to run application in the cloud desktop and made few splashes in CAD and PLM eco-system by partnering with large CAD software behemoths with the offering to run desktop CAD systems in the cloud environment.

I published few articles in the past speaking about how Frame technologies and products can be compared with other cloud based options – 5 questions to ask before moving your CAD work to cloud using Frame and Can Frame make cloud CAD and PDM irrelevant.

Earlier today, I’ve heard that Frame was acquired – Nutanix to acquire virtual desktop startup Frame in move to bolster cloud lineup. Nutanix is  cloud computing software outfit focusing on two areas – virtualization and software defined storage. Frame is coming to boost Nutanix cloud stack.

According to SDXcentral, the deal value is $165M and in a nutshell it will allow to run virtual desktop services similar to AWS DaaS

“The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS provides a cloud-like infrastructure stack (IaaS) similar to AWS — but with a more open approach so IT leaders can choose the right technology for each use case,” said Greg Smith, vice president of product and technical marketing at Nutanix, in an email. “With Frame, we will bring the same consumer-grade simplicity and openness to DaaS, addressing an unmet customer need to deliver desktops from multiple public clouds, and built with technology that was ‘born in the cloud.’ This acquisition will help us continue to grow [our] technology stack so our customers can get access to new services while still benefitting from our open approach.”

The following passage is my favorite from TheRegister UK’s article:

Although described as a form of VDI, it’s not really traditional virtual desktop infrastructure as you need a desktop or other internet browser-running device to access it. Boxinovic has blogged: “We’ve focused on … the delivery protocol that makes virtual desktop and app delivery possible for any application on the planet.” Frame users can run graphically intense 3D tools for visualisation, science and engineering, and design through an HTML5-capable browser. Its software runs user apps on servers in the cloud and delivers the user interface to the end-point device browser as an optimised H.264 video stream.

What does it mean for CAD and PLM providers? Frame has a long and respectful list of customers from CAD world – Autodesk, ANSYS, PTC, Solidworks, Siemens PLM and others. The image on their website shows Solidworks desktop app running on mobile phone screen, which made me chuckle – I’m not expecting to run Solidworks user interface from iPhone screen.

However, the picture below is more interesting. Two very relevant industry promoted on Frame website – AEC/EPC, CAD. My hunch Nutanix will be busy integrating Frame and won’t put much pressure on application and competition. At the same time, DaaS infrastructure will continue to provide competitive angle on transformation of engineering and manufacturing applications.

What is my conclusion? Last few years demonstrated some level  of reluctance from engineers to leave comfort zones of existing desktop applications. In such case, DaaS infrastructure can become a critical piece of supporting cloud strategies of large manufacturing companies. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.


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