Move Vault to the Cloud with Windows Azure

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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AUGI wishlist… I wish I may I wish I might

I’m still not happy with the whole AUGI wishlist process. I know I can volunteer to help, but some things are just too much out of control to try and tackle. My answer, was to create my own wishlist system which is based on Twitter. Yes, I know it’s not perfect either and I haven’t quite figured out the perfect way to process the received wishes. I’m going to work on a better system for input and handling the wishes… but we’ll see. I’ve promised lots before and I only have so much time in the day. 🙂


A wish granted can not be granted until it is truly granted…

An AUGI member has reported that this wish has been granted and appears in the software. An administrator will review it promptly.

Wish ID: #411333

Wish Title: Attach Text, Symbols to View

Status: Hall of Fame Pending

Product: Inventor

Feature: Drawing Manager

Edited By: ******* on Fri, 12 Oct 2012

Summary: Be abl to attach text, symbols, etc to views without creating sketch

Description:  Ability to attach text, symbols or any other annotation to a view without creating a sketch.

Product and Feature: Inventor – Drawing Manager

Submitted By: Thomas Rambach on 09/13/2006

Granted Reason: Use a leader with the symbol or text first then delete the leader. I know, the workflow is not obvious.

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Buy Swift Prints & Get Design Notes Free

As an appreciation to all of my loyal followers on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and to those of you who visit regularly I am going to be giving away a license of Design Notes for Inventor 2013 with every purchase of Swift Prints now through the end of October.

Buy from the Autodesk Exchange Apps Store and I’ll email you the link to download Design Notes for free.

[notice]Offer has now expired.[/notice]

Hurry, hurry!


Swift Prints allows you to create templates for common printer configurations that you can quickly access later for one click printing of Inventor drawings.

Design Notes is a history based note editor for all types of Inventor files. This application adds the ability to tag notes to a file without the overhead of maintaining another database.

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Autodesk Exchange Apps

The Autodesk Exchange Apps store has been live for quite a few months now and I have answered this same question dozens of times already… so I thought I should blog about it and see if I can get Autodesk to pass this information along to the general public.

It’s very important to understand that when you purchase any add-in from the store that it is only going to be compatible with a 2013 version of Autodesk software (Inventor, AutoCAD, etc). This doesn’t necessarily mean the add-in application was specifically written for 2013, it simply has to do with the method Autodesk packages the add-in for addition into the Exchange store and how the resulting package is installed on your system.

Be sure to check the “Compatible with” information listed under the add-ins download details before making a purchase.

For those of you who have purchased any add-ins from the Exchange Apps store and are still only running 2012 or 2011… fear not. I have sent you all a link to download the legacy version if you have emailed me.

…and who says engineers don’t like to read instructions? 😉

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