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Thread: Revit SaaS

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    Default Revit SaaS

    For those of you who don't know what SaaS is, it stands for Software as a Service. I recommend reading the Wikipedia article for a full explanation, but in a nutshell it means that the processing and storage of a program happens on the software vendor’s end instead of the end user’s. This can eliminate the need for high-end workstations, IT departments, even servers. Working on a central file between offices would also no longer be an issue. The concept puts more control in the vendor’s hands which some may see as a flaw…. but with yearly releases and no backwards compatibility, how much control do we really have anyway? I see this as a way to overcome many Revit shortcomings. AutoDesk can more easily observe how users really work, see how ridiculously slow large Revit models get, see what causes problems & crashes, and seamlessly release patches & updates. AutoDesk could keep it’s greedy corporate agreement with Microsoft by running their OS on their end, yet allow users with Linux and Mac OS to tie into the system. This is not a new idea… a book entitled ‘Construction Collaboration Technologies: The Extranet Evolution’ was published three years ago. I think it’s up to us as the consumers to start demanding better service from AutoDesk… and services such as this would be a really good start.

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    Certified AUGI Addict patricks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Revit SaaS

    Essentially what you're talking about is everybody having a remote terminal connection to a source of computing power and storage elsewhere.

    My experiences with remote desktop/terminals has been less than satisfactory, i.e. jumpy screen, poor refresh times, etc. And this was with a high-speed cable modem at home, and a business-class cable at work with a gigabit connection between the modem and server.

    So unless some advances have been made in the last year or so in remote desktop computing, I wouldn't want to go that route.

    But that's just my personal preference working in a small office and Revit models under 50 MB.. It might be a viable solution for a large office.
    Intern Architect, BIM Manager/Coordinator
    AERC, PLLC
    Hernando, Mississippi

    Revit - all up in your voxel space

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    Default Re: Revit SaaS

    Yes and no. With remote desktop, you're accessing an entire computer... so the data from the software you're using has to be transferred in addition to the client's entire OS. Also the idea with SaaS is that you're accessing a much more powerful computer than your workstation at home. Sorry for the whiney rant yesterday (I was tired and frustrated with a big piece of curtain wall that was taking 30+ seconds per add/remove segment), but I'd like to hear more about the feasibility of this if anyone reading knows more than I do. Autodesk freewheel is an example of SaaS, but I'd be the first to agree that it's entirely too slow. Perhaps the processing could be shared between the client and server? I don't know.... but I do know that large projects get way too slow, and there has to be a better way to do things.

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    Default Re: Revit SaaS

    I want to correct you in regards to remote desktop. All that is getting transmitted is the graphics stream and user I/O. Remote desktop enables I/O mapping between devices at a remote location and the core hardware on the host computer. So, in the case of my little laptop remote desktopping it to my workstation; the keyboard, mouse, and display on my lappy are mapped to the appropriate ports on the workstation. Thus, I am controlling a much more powerful computer remotely (hence the name). I am not running any processes from the host on my laptop. All the laptop is doing is logging the I side, sending those over the LAN/WAN and then receiving the O (graphics stream) from the host. The host does all the graphics processing as well (which is nifty since my lappy lacks the 3D acceleration required to run Revit smoothly). To my laptop it is a lot like playing a video.

    Now, that being said, remote desktop tends to be a little less smooth because it is designed for LAN use, not WAN use as there is little packet optimization or QOS built into the application. There are other dedicated applications that yield the same result but have lower overhead on the client and do superior routing of the data. So, you can get smoother. But, it's pretty darn close and it is free!

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    AUGI Addict MikeJarosz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Revit SaaS

    Quote Originally Posted by patricks View Post
    Essentially what you're talking about is everybody having a remote terminal connection to a source of computing power and storage elsewhere.
    I think that's called a mainframe
    "everything you know is wrong...." -FST

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    Default Re: Revit SaaS

    Thanks for the clarification. So basically you're uploading keystrokes & mouse location while downloading a monitor-resolution video stream... makes sense. What I really don't like about Revit that SaaS would help solve is the up-front costs for using the program. You need a $1500 workstation running Windows that'll be completely obsolete in two years, a $7000 license plus a $700 a year subscription for software that will last until AutoDesk buys out some other company, and a server depending on your number of users. I'd much rather pay a higher subscription fee to tie into Revit via high-speed internet with my Linux ultra-portable, let them do the processing, save the files to their servers, and not have to worry about the latest graphics cards, whether or not Revit is able to utilize all 4 cores of my workstation... etc.

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    Revit Mararishi aaronrumple's Avatar
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    Default Re: Revit SaaS

    Internet down or Autodesk down and you're out of work. Buzzsaw doesn't have 100% up time. And adsk takes a vacation from Christmas to New Years..... I don't.
    Don't drink the Kool-Aid...
    Aaron Rumple, AIA

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    Default Re: Revit SaaS

    If the license server, or the file server, or the individual workstation goes down I'm outta work. I've found the internet to be much more reliable than all of the current peices of the puzzle. Economy of scale would allow AutoDesk to have multiple redundant servers; I can't afford that.

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    Default Re: Revit SaaS

    Autodesk's servers are so slow that installing Revit with a full content download can take hours, and you want to put all the eggs in your company in that one basket?

    Seriously, I think SaaS makes a ton of sense for totally commoditized volume software, like Word Processing, or very specialized and scalable stuff like Rendering, Energy Analysis, etc. But I just don't know if semi-specialized and yet core business tools like Revit really makes sense. And certainly not from an industry whose current guarantee of their product is "It might not even work, and if you install it you accept that. No promises made, but we did cash your check." Until there is a Lemon Law for software I just don't think I would trust my very existence on a daily basis to anyone but myself.

    Gordon

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    Default Re: Revit SaaS

    Quote Originally Posted by gordon.price View Post
    Until there is a Lemon Law for software I just don't think I would trust my very existence on a daily basis to anyone but myself.
    Amen. Open source BIM, anyone?
    Aaron Bergmann

    Another in-place family narrowly averted.

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