I Look at Clouds From Both Sides Now

I Look at Clouds from Both Sides Now

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In Judy Collins’ 1967 song Both Sides Now, the lyrics relate, “I really don’t know clouds at all.”1 That may be the way a lot of people feel about computing “in the cloud.”

With cloud computing, the user’s local server or personal computer is replaced by an on-demand network of computers available online, where they can store, manage and process large amounts of data. The nebulous locations of these remote data centers – kept mysterious for potential hacking reasons – doubtless inspired the moniker “cloud.”

Having always been a CAD technology leader, Autodesk established its name in the cloud-computing realm by first offering Cloud Credits in 2013.  Cloud credits are the unit of measurement required to perform certain tasks, such as creating a rendering, running a simulation or setting up a generative study in a cloud environment using Autodesk cloud services. Although it’s a little dated, engineering.com published an article, “When Do You Render in the Cloud?” with helpful tips about how to decide if/when rendering in the cloud is right for you.

Free “starter” credits (100) are given to each user who is set up in Autodesk Account and linked to a valid Maintenance or Subscription contract with Cloud Service. These starter credits cannot be purchased, transferred, pooled, or shared, and they never expire.

Purchased cloud credits cost $100 for 100. These expire in one year OR on the date of expiration of the contract to which they are attached if it’s not renewed, whichever comes first. Software administrators managing users in the Classic View of “User Management” can purchase shared cloud credits, which are then shared among multiple named users associated with the linked subscription contract. To learn how to assign cloud credits, see Assign Products and Services to Users in the Classic View. Administrators can track and report on shared cloud credit usage by exporting to a CSV file or Excel spreadsheet. For more details, see Cloud Credit Reporting. Cloud credits can also be purchased through Applied Software. Individual, single-user subscribers can purchase directly through the Autodesk Store.

Autodesk has stated in its marketing that it has limitless space to accommodate cloud usage. The most common cloud tasks are those that take a lot of computing power and can tie up a computer for hours or even days – rendering, simulation and reality capture:

  • Rendering: Produce high-quality photorealistic images, panoramas, daylight studies, and illumination simulation with Revit, Structural Analysis and InfraWorks.
  • Simulation: Deliver better product designs with digital prototyping and simulations with CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics).
  • Reality capture: Use photogrammetry to capture and create real-life data, then integrate it directly into the design process using ReCap.

Examples of cloud credits required for tasks:

  • 15 for each CFD. For more on CFD analysis, see Variable Cloud Credit Pricing Structure.
  • 13-16 for a high-resolution Revit panoramic rendering.
  • 100 for 3 miles of road profile optimization in InfraWorks.
  • 5 per ReCap job.

Hints from the industry experts at Applied Software for preserving your cloud credits:

  • Draft renderings do not use up cloud credits.
  • Daylight simulations use up a lot of credits.
  • For animations, each still in an animation is a rendering.
  • The estimator tool will tell you in advance how many credits will be used by your rendering.

If you’d like a partner to help you navigate the ins and outs of using the cloud for your big data projects, contact Applied Software today. The industry experts at Applied can give you the information you need to decide whether data management in the cloud is right for you. If you’re cloud savvy already, they can suggest ways to make the best use of your cloud credits.

1“Both Sides Now,” Wildflowers album, Judy Collins; 1967, Elektra Records.

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