In the past couple of weeks there have been a string of cloud failures that cannot be ignored. This week we saw the Amazon ECC cloud failures due to massive storms in the Washington DC area, the CNET article on crime in the cloud, problems last week with getting files from Dropbox, Dropbox security breach, Google Docs announcing an off-line version, Twitter overloads and other things that never make headlines. These are all bellwether services that those selling the cloud point to as irrefutable evidence of the inevitability of the cloud.
I’m guessing that SolidWorks V6 is going to be a massive failure if they cannot get certain things under control:
1: Informed customers will shoot down the cloud
2: Lack of a local implementation option will kill CAD in the Cloud in its tracks
3: Pricing options have the potential to derail the entire plan
4: Terms such as long-term viability, responsibility for security, access, and real ownership of data could prevent all but irresponsible risk-takers from buying in.
5: Reliability of complex systems decreases with the addition of more complex subsystems. Adding an internet connection as a critical path to your CAD process will not improve its reliability.
6: Costs for this type of arrangement will not decrease. You still need everything you needed before but now you also need a more reliable internet connection , and a faster internal network. The internet connection is something that is beyond your control .
I personally believe that Dassault is playing fast and loose with the reputation of the SolidWorks brand. We have seen a lot of changes in SolidWorks over the years, but nothing as potentially destructive as what DS is up to here. It seems clear that DS mgt outside of the SolidWorks ranks (if such a thing truly exists anymore) does not understand the existing SW customer base, or is trying to turn SW into an unneeded Sketchup competitor.
The cloud may be a reasonable home for a lot of things, but CAD for small business is not one of them. The opacity of official public statements raises its own cloud of credibility, and the claim that Catia Lite will be a mainstream competitor is beyond what I can believe. SolidWorks was a product and a company that I used to believe in, but I believe the engine pushing the train is derailed, and the only way to save it is to cut it loose. I think if former SW employees were to be able to speak candidly, many of them would mourn some of the changes.