Since its announcement in late August, Solid Edge’s subscription model has been compared in many different lights. One thing is for certain, this is not the cloud.
Although rhetoric comparing Siemens' position on the cloud to its competitors has died down lately, the fact remains that most Solid Edge users are none too interested in the cloud right now. Therefore, the Solid Edge monthly subscription plan is not cloud-based and any rumors of it becoming cloud-based are purely that, rumors.
I can see how the rumors might have started. Solid Edge’s original subscription services plan was Solid Edge Design1, which was made available through Local Motors’ Forge. Since the Forge is a community collaboration environment, associating Solid Edge subscription with the cloud is a natural conclusion. Wrong, but natural.
Not Web Based
To put it in its simplest terms, the Solid Edge monthly subscription plan is an option that allows professionals including, contractors, designers, and startup owners, to access CAD software without the large up-front cost typical of a full seat license. And that’s the benefit which the subscription model of Solid Edge provides users. It is not web-based, although an internet connection is required for licensing. For the monthly price of subscription, you get everything on your desktop that you would have, had you purchased the software outright with active maintenance.
The biggest benefit for users is that this is the latest release of the full version of Solid Edge that has been developed over decades. This is not a brand new software version created for the cloud or a ported version of existing software dumbed down to run via the web. As a subscription user, you receive the same benefits as perpetual license holders, including local support. Additionally, you are not locked in to any long term plans in order to get the monthly pricing. This subscription is a true month-by-month, pay-as-you-go method that makes CAD more affordable.
There is no denying there are some benefits to the cloud, for example data backup. But, the minute you put data on the cloud the uncertainty of intellectual property protection comes into play. If you happen to be in an industry with export controls, placing data on the cloud could result in an ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) violation. With this subscription based model, your data is your own, stored on your servers, accessed locally. That means you are responsible for your own long term archiving and retrieval.
That comes as a mixed bag. On the one hand, your data is always your own.
- You don’t have to worry about a company hosting data on servers it deems to be no longer cost effective. If the servers go away, so does your data.
- You don’t have to worry about having an active account to access your data. It’s always there, right where you left it. No account means no data access.
- You don’t have to worry about internet outages affecting your productivity, or bandwidth problems slowing you down. All of a sudden that spinning hourglass doesn't look so bad.
Of course, you’ll still need an active license to run Solid Edge, so if you’ve not renewed your subscription you won’t be able to open your data natively, but you could have saved it in a neutral format. And part of any good LOTAR (“LOng Term ARchiving”) plan should be storing files in neutral formats – which is possible with Solid Edge.
Putting Rumors to Rest
So there you have it. As Siemens has stated in the past-it does not plan on bringing design to the cloud. However, with this monthly subscription model, Siemens is introducing a new level of flexibility for users that need access to professional CAD.
Siemens has sponsored promotion of their subscription-based offerings on ENGINEERING.com. They have no editorial input to this post - all opinions are mine. Scott Wertel