Subject title (What’s been achieved)

Delivering a highly performing 3D modeling software on the cloud reduced the hardware and operating IT costs of an architectural firm by 60%.

Summary

An architectural firm based in Germany turned to we-IT for a solution that would allow them to design, render and share complex 3D models in the cloud. They needed software for schematic design which would reduce the operating times of the application and generate designs more efficiently by keeping their IT infrastructure in a centralized location. Security and reliability were a top priority for this client as they were looking to transition to a more advanced services-based model for their project management and routine modeling tasks. We-IT responded to this challenge with a highly available and agile cloud-based deployment (DaaS) for their 3D design application, which gave them a more secure and cost-effective environment to offload their GPU-intensive processes on the cloud, whilst achieving an overall higher bandwidth for their application.

Introduction

Architectural firms these days utilize the cloud not only as a place to store their 3D models but also as means to better collaboration, design implementation, and fast exchange of information between one another. To stay competitive and deliver schematic design projects quickly, more efficiently and at a lesser cost, architectural firms need cloud-hosted software for their 3D modeling projects, which perform highly, and expedite the delivery of those projects to their customers as required. Our client reached out to us with an inquiry regarding a highly complex 3D modeling application, for which they needed a secure and reliable cloud desktop environment, reducing their IT costs and upkeep workload as a whole. Before migrating to the cloud, this client was experiencing latency issues due to having their employees to work from geographically remote locations with respect to their local servers. The load on the application they were provisioning on-premises was high and this was also increasing the flow of data on the network, and their databases. As a result, the bandwidth of their architecture was underperforming as well as their project delivery process altogether.

 

Business challenge

Customer story

There is a wide range of CAD applications and BIM solutions on the marketplace for architects, engineers, and designers- serving those professionals with various 3D modeling functions and complex technical features within the software interface. Traditionally, architectural firms would use costly graphic cards to generate pixel-based 2D images and translate their rastered designs into 3D models- by running the rending process on local servers or as an outsourced task. In this instance, our client was generating their designs through GPU clusters in-house, which would take longer when their teams were dispersed in multiple locations.
“We have a team of nearly 30 architects, designers, and engineering professionals, who were made to work remotely from home after the onset of the pandemic last year. This posed an immense challenge to our firm to sustain our operations at the same speed and efficiency that we could achieve previously. Most of our staff was scattered across the city and the country, so we suffered very high latency due to the geographical limitation of having our servers far away from the end-users, designing remotely.”

“There were two possible ways to go: Outsource various IT services, including cloud storage for our models, maintenance, rendering and so on…thus potentially risk losing our operational integrity due to project pitfalls in the interim of a complex management process; Or alternatively, outsource the entire IT infrastructure to a single cloud provider such as we-IT. We were weary of the challenge we take with our decision to transition fully to the cloud due to the complexity of our 3D modeling software solution, which was not designed specifically for the cloud. However, we decided to trust the expertise of we-IT as a cloud desktop provider and hope for a highly automated deployment for our application, which they guaranteed to us in our early chats.”

 

Transformation 

Architectural software on the cloud

When we were first approached by our client, we were aware of the complexities and challenges associated with these types of software solutions on the cloud. The load of data that flows from the virtual machines to the physical devices, running the applications, is a lot bigger than standard office and management tools deployed from cloud servers. Different CAD packages that are not cloud-native also have individual technical intricacies that require a great deal of expertise to provision seamlessly from cloud data centers. Our goal with this project was to deliver high-value deployment on our platforms which the client expects from us as a trusted cloud desktop provider.

“Building a cloud-ready application is vastly different from moving and running software on the cloud that was not initially designed for that purpose. The bar is even higher when you are dealing with applications with high computing requirements such as 3D modeling software, application developments for creating animation, video games, etc. In this instance, we had to transition all of our client’s servers to the cloud and ensure that the whole deployment was highly available and efficient,” says the head executive of we-IT about this project. “For this architectural client working remotely, we needed to ensure that the cloud architecture and desktop services we provide deliver high bandwidth, no latency, and networking capacity that supports their design work fully.”

“Another factor of critical importance that we consider when building a deployment of this type is data security. For us, cloud security is a priority, not an afterthought. This is why we integrate cyber protection tools and functions that are systemic to the application architecture from the very beginning of our deployment development, rather than the end. This way, we ensure that the software and data security align perfectly well together, and that there will be no issues with compliance or performance in the long term of our partnership.”

 

Results

Efficiency and cost reductions

Migrating 3D modeling software to the cloud takes a great deal of expertise and infrastructure to make sure the application resources are spun proficiently, in a way that allows the deployment to run seamlessly from end-to-end. Our team investigated and found a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution that worked perfectly for this architectural firm and their power-intensive 3D design application, only by transferring the screen content as a desktop service.
After we moved all of their servers to the cloud, the need for them to invest in costly graphic cards, PCs for employees, and their own on-site infrastructure was completely eliminated. As a result, the client managed to lower their IT costs by 60% since they had no hardware expenses or other operating costs such as IT maintenance and support.
The bottom line for this cloud migration project was achieving a highly performing desktop environment for their design software, regardless of the remoteness of the employees from one another, or the main headquarter. Currently, all 30 employees are working on the cloud from their own devices by connecting to the internet and opening a cloud desktop session through a standard web browser.
Another key achievement of this project was the data security and disaster recovery plan we managed to implement for this client. All of their data is stored in three data centers in parallel, which ensures that no disruption will affect the integrity of their information and the availability of their desktop service on the cloud will remain high at all times. In the future, we hope to take up the cloud migration journey for architectural firms of all sizes, operating on AllPLAN, DataCAD or any other CAD and BIM software solutions, currently available on the marketplace for design, construction and cooperation.

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