Autodesk Vault is a PDM (product data management) solution that is designed to be hosted internally on your own servers. Most companies with proprietary designs and information stored in the Vault wouldn’t consider switching to a cloud based, external solution for managing their data. In fact, the approach of PLM 360, a cloud based product lifecycle management solution from Autodesk is to keep the sensitive data in Vault on your own network and only host the generic PLM data on the cloud servers.
Vault is actually a very easy software solution to deploy and maintain with very little IT knowledge required in order to get started. The product setups of using a simple wizard interface that checks your server for issues, provides the solution and installs any necessary required supporting applications.
What’s not always easy or inexpensive is maintaining a server or servers, keeping security patches applied, updating SQL databases, backing up data and general upkeep of your hardware. Most of these tasks require dedicated IT support that many small businesses may not have the resources for. This is why the push to the cloud is accelerating at a rapid pace. Microsoft offers a suite of Office products now in the cloud called Office 365. Autodesk is developing it’s cloud platform called Autodesk 360. So why not take Vault itself to the cloud while keeping the same reliability and security you currently enjoy? Windows Azure from Microsoft can provide this.
Windows Azure is a Microsoft cloud computing platform used to build, deploy and manage applications through a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. Windows Azure allows for applications to be built using many different programming languages, tools or frameworks and makes it possible for developers to integrate their public cloud applications in their existing IT environment.
Windows Azure offers a one stop shop for all that you would need to move Vault to the cloud, a hosted SQL database, storage and computing for ADMS (Vault Server).
Pricing is based on what you use, versus a flat rate. This allows you to grow into usage with costs based on things such as storage used, database size and total bandwidth. You can use the price calculators to determine basic costs. For example, a medium size configuration (2x 1.6GHz, 3.5GB RAM, 490GB max storage) with 100GB bandwidth/month and a 5GB SQL database) will run $210USD per month. Just keep in mind that your local business now does not pay for it’s own hardware, power consumption or local IT support.
To get started, you’ll first need to create your Azure account by visiting the Windows Azure homepage. You can then sign in here. Windows Azure can be linked to Windows Live accounts or Office 365 accounts.
Once your signed in, click on the “Portal” link to manage your Windows Azure account. A menu as seen here, will allow you to setup each of the required services.
Azure is currently in a state of flux of adding new features and functions. Virtual machine being one of them. You’ll first see some “preview” related road blocks that you must overcome before you can move forward.
Once you complete the registration for the preview program, you can begin.
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