Dassault Enters Cloud Era with Caution, Works with Amazon

Dassault Systèmes has decided to make its products for computer-aided design and manufacturing, product lifecycle management and simulation available on Amazon's cloud, the company said on Wednesday.

By Mikael Ricknäs
Thu, June 30, 2011

IDG News Service — Dassault Systèmes has decided to make its products for computer-aided design and manufacturing, product lifecycle management and simulation available on Amazon's cloud, the company said on Wednesday.

The company has committed to making Catia, Solidworks, Simulia, Delmia, Enovia, 3dvia, Exalead and 3dswym available on Amazon's EC2 cloud platform.

The timing of the launch comes down to several factors, according to Jeff Ray, executive vice president in charge of geographic operations at Dassault. The area has matured, in terms of underlying platforms and business model, to a point where going to the cloud is a legitimate option in the engineering and product lifecycle sector, he said.

Customer demand has also started to grow and Dassault's users want more options in how they use the company's products.

"All of the things CEOs and CIOs are seeing as benefits with cloud service offerings are not lost on the engineering community, and they have been pressing us and asking us what we are going to do," said Ray.

Just like for other sectors, moving to the cloud gives users a preconfigured environment where they pay using a subscription model, don't have to make upfront investments in additional infrastructure or sign long-term volume commitments or shoulder administrative burdens. Those benefits seem to be very transportable to the engineering software community, Ray said.

However, take-up of cloud services may not happen as fast as in the traditional business community. Dassault's customers are a cautions bunch when it comes to adopting new technology.

"The engineering and design community always wait for technologies to be proven, and that is a good thing because we ride in the cars they design and fly in the planes they build," said Ray.

Customers who want to move applications to the cloud need a sound migration plan, and Dassault can help them with that, according to Ray.

One of the product families Ray expects will be popular in its cloud iteration is 3dvia, which allows content created using computer-aided design tools Catia and Solidworks to be shared over the Internet. For example, a construction company can send a link to a website to a client where they then can see what the finished product will look like.

In the future, it will also be possible for users to move their resources among different cloud providers and infrastructures, both private and public. To make that vision a reality, Dassault has made a strategic investment in startup Outscale.

"I think, in the coming years, we are going to see more granular clouds, that are tuned for specific needs," said Ray.

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