A Cloud Storage, Versioning and Vault Tool Built Specifically For CAD
Kyle Maxey posted on March 24, 2015 |

kenesto, drive, network drive, cloud, vault, CAD Over the last five years, there’s been an explosion in the way the cloud has been used to store, manage and share data. In fact, it’s likely that your firm uses some kind of cloud storage, or network drive solution, to manage projects. While cloud solutions such as Box, Dropbox and Google Drive have chiseled out a large part of the market, their solutions aren’t ideal for CAD file management.

So, what’s an engineer to do?

A company called Kenesto believes they’ve come up with a CAD-centric cloud solution for small to medium-sized businesses. They call it Kenesto Drive.

What is Kenesto Drive?

Kenesto Drive is a cloud-based network drive that allows users to work with cloud based-files directly from their local workstation. Much like Dropbox and Google Drive, a “physical” Kenesto Drive folder can be mounted on your workstation and accessed through your file browser. From this folder you can manage, view, access and modify files that are stored in the cloud.  

Just like its competitors, Kenesto Drive gives you the ability to share files in a variety of ways through permissions. If you want to let a customer view a file, but not modify it, you have that option. If you’d like a vendor to have access to your BOM, but not your models, you can do that too. Finally, if want a number of designers on your team to have full access to modifying CAD files, that control is also at your disposal. Put simply Kenesto drive allows you to securely distribute your designs, and their related materials, with a great deal of security and authority.

Of course, given all of this file sharing ability your team can also use Kenesto Drive to reach outside of your engineering department. Whether you need to share documents with your marketing team, or have your designs verified by a 3rd-party inspection team, you’ll have better control over how your documents are organized and distributed.

So, now that we’ve established that Kenesto Drive has many of the features as some of the bigger names in the cloud storage field it’s time look at what sets it apart.

Vaulting

In my opinion, the feature that separates Kenesto from the rest of the network drive crowd is its easy to use, built in vault feature.

When working on any product, you absolutely cannot have multiple engineers tirelessly working on a model only to realize that they’re all making the same changes. Not only does that waste time, but it can lead to a versioning/revision headache (I’ll come back to this later).

To get around this issue, Kenesto Drive has introduced a very useful vaulting tool that’s intuitive. To give vaulting privileges to a project simply navigate to its uppermost folder, right click and choose the “Set as Vault” option.

Now that a vault setting has been applied to that folder (and all of its contents) you can simply navigate to the file you want to use, right click on it and check it out for yourself.

After that simple action, no one in your company will be able to modify that file (though they will be able to view it). When you’re done modifying a project, you simply save it to the cloud and return to your file manager, right click and check it back in. Now, the next person on your team is ready to get their part of the project off and running.  

Versioning

The other major cloud innovation Kenesto has introduced is an automatic versioning system that eliminates confusion and boosts productivity. 

We all know how frustrating it can be to spend time modifying a project only to realize that we were working on an outdated revision.

To eliminate this type of snafu Kenesto’s Drive has a built-in versioning system that automatically numbers and organizes every version of your file on your web-based, Kenesto Drive account. A check mark is placed next to the file to identify which one is the most current.

With this simple addition to its platform Kenesto has made versioning an afterthought, leaving your team to tackle the design work that they need focus on without fear of wasting time and energy.  

Collaboration Kenesto

The last tool I’d like to highlight is the ability to facilitate collaboration on documents. While Kenesto is set up to give you access to a file management system on your local machine, its online dashboard seems to be home to its most powerful assets.

Members of your team can work simultaneously on documents. Double clicking a file automatically launches it in a web-based version of its appropriate application. Once launched, any member of you team who has been granted modifying privileges to a document can hop in and add content.

This feature is limited to working with basic Microsoft Office file formats for now. However, according to Steve Bodnar (Kenesto’s VP of strategy and products) this type of online file interaction could be extended to CAD application in the future.

For me, that’s a big deal.

With that type of functionality all of the documents that help define your product’s lifecycle – from CAD files to marketing materials – would be centrally located, sharable, collaborative and editable.

Still, that dream lies in the future. Without that functionality, Kenesto is a file tool worth considering, but not completely necessary.

Conclusion

Kenesto Drive really does look and act like a cloud solution that’s tailor-made for CAD users working with a large number of expert, vendors and manufacturers. It’s even packaged in an easy-to-use interface. One concern for future user, however, might be the Kenesto Drive’s subscription price. At $250 a month for 10 users Kenesto’s price might be a bit too steep (especially for a small company). 

With companies like Autodesk (Fusion360), Siemens (SolidEdge on the Cloud) and upstarts such as OnShape moving entire CAD platforms to the cloud – or even online – Kenesto looks like it could carve out its own space in the CAD file-management field. As new features are added I think it will be a very versatile and useful tool. Only time will tell.

Kenesto’s Drive solution is available as a subscription model for $250/mo. With that subscription you can give 10 members of your team access to your Kenesto Drive. 

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