6 benefits of running AutoCAD on Amazon WorkSpaces (VDI)

November 19, 2019
Michael Wines

Highly technical professions such as engineering and architecture are relying more and more on technology. They require modern tools to cope with increasing customer demands and to remain competitive.

AutoCAD is an excellent example of an industry-standard software used by electrical engineers, civil engineers, graphic designers and architects. The computer aided design (CAD) application by Autodesk is used to draft, draw, design and plan technical documentation. AutoCAD was initially released in 1982. Since then, it has been updated continuously to keep up with the changing industries.

Traditionally, enterprise sized companies who wanted to use AutoCAD would need to install an instance of the software on every machine they intend on using. While this approach has been sufficient over the past few decades, it is no longer sustainable. Nowadays, AutoCAD can be run through virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), providing numerous benefits.

What is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

VDI is a technology which allows users to access fully functional desktop applications from their browsers. The applications are hosted on remote servers and accessed on demand. VDI works by handling all the processing on servers, only sending active users the graphical interface. End users are then able to execute commands through a typical desktop instance.

Amazon WorkSpaces as VDI

Amazon is a pioneer of cloud offerings and has kept the title of market leader for over 10 years. One of their solutions is Amazon WorkSpaces, which is a cloud-based virtual desktop offering. Any connected device can access WorkSpaces and provide users with working, high-performance desktop setups.

6 Benefits of running AutoCAD on Amazon WorkSpaces

By running virtual desktops, businesses and users have the following advantages:

  1. Software can be accessed through any device: as the device is no longer responsible for doing the processing, users can also use mobile devices such as tablets and laptops. These can run AutoCAD without compatibility issues or performance impediments.
  2. Enable remote working: through Amazon WorkSpaces, AutoCAD can be accessed from any location. The only requirements are a connection, a browser and valid user credentials.
  3. Eliminate the need for dedicated infrastructure.
  4. Better collaboration and sharing facilities: all cloud users are accessing the application and files through the same portal, which enables them to read and write files remotely.
  5. Improved security: all information is stored by the cloud Service Provider rather than on local machines. This means that files are only accessible through secure user authentication. Likewise, if a device is stolen or lost, the data is not at risk of being compromised.
  6. Easier management by IT departments: control software deployment, licensing and user access from a single, centralised place.

AutoCAD on Amazon WorkSpaces

AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT function fully on Amazon WorkSpaces. Once AutoCAD has been deployed on WorkSpaces, the application can be accessed through a browser from any connected device. The deployment of Workspaces on AutoCAD is straightforward. The installation workflow is as follows:

  1. Launch Amazon WorkSpaces
  2. Connect to the WorkSpaces
  3. Install AutoCAD on WorkSpaces

Autodesk conditions for virtualised licences

Before deploying AutoCAD on WorkSpaces, we recommend familiarising yourself with Autodesk's requirements for virtualised licenses. For example, AutoCAD Single User Subscriptions and Enterprise Business Agreement licenses are both eligible to be used in virtualised environments. The connection can be either through the internet or through WANs and VPNs.

Another aspect to take into consideration is choosing the suitable WorkSpace bundle. These bundles allocate different levels of processing power and memory. Considering AutoCAD is heavily dependent on both processing speed and memory, Amazon suggests the Graphics and GraphicsPro bundles. While those are more expensive compared to other bundles, it is worth paying the price for having enough resources to run the application smoothly. You can find a list of bundles here.

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