Do not be fooled: Cloud-native vs. cloud-storage CAD platforms

Nearly every software vendor and technology service provider claims to be “cloud-native”. The truth, however, is that most of these products are minor enhancements to the software you already have installed – they shop files in the cloud instead of on local hard drives. This type of cloud storage software often requires the customer to continue to maintain a complex server network.

Some cloud storage products disguise the installation by either downloading and installing the software and uploading the files in the background, or by hosting the installed software elsewhere and streaming it. These hybrid platforms can offer some small additional benefits. But only a true cloud-native platform can deliver transformative benefits across the enterprise.

These cloud-native benefits have been proven in products such as Salesforce, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Zendesk, Asana, JIRA, Workday, Microsoft Office 365, Google G Suite and many others. Cloud storage and disc storage products have lagged far behind in these markets.


What is cloud-native software?

Let us first discuss some of the required attributes of a cloud-native platform at the enterprise level.

In a cloud-native platform, all your data is stored in one place in a database in the cloud. When a user works with the data, the files do not need to be copied, locked or downloaded. Your data is also stored incrementally, which means that any data state that ever existed can be easily restored.

Your software, a collection of microservices, also runs entirely in the cloud. Microservices are multi-tenant and allow for rapid scaling and instant replacement of “broken” microservices. This is a fundamentally different approach to a cloud storage approach.

Cloud infrastructure is a global configuration.

“Named users”, their rights and their current session status are understood in the cloud. A user can be in multiple sessions with multiple states at the same time without sacrificing performance or resources.

Some other important aspects of cloud-native software are:

  • The software is continuously and transparently updated for all users.
  • All granular actions that affect IP are recorded immutably forever.
  • All granular data changes are recorded incrementally forever.
  • A data warehouse intelligently indexes this large collection of data.
  • An analytics engine is built into the product.
  • Access to the data is never artificially blocked for users who have the right to access the data.
  • A highly secure rest API and websocket architecture separate the cloud infrastructure from the user interface implementations.


Now that we have established what cloud-native software is, let us explore what it is not. How can you tell if your software is only a partial cloud or a cloud-storage solution? I have found more than two dozen warning signs that your product development team is not taking full advantage of the productivity benefits of true cloud-native design and data management tools.


25 Warning Signs You are NOT Using a Cloud-Native Platform

  1. You can only use it on certain operating systems or hardware.
  2. You need to install anything.
  3. You are worried about crashes and data loss.
  4. You cannot access data you are entitled to when someone else is editing it.
  5. It takes more than a minute to log in and use the product.
  6. It takes more than one minute to set up or remove a new user.
  7. You cannot access and edit your data at any time and from any location on any modern device, including tablets and mobile phones.
  8. You have to make a copy of a file or convert it to another format so that another person can view or edit it.
  9. You cannot restore your data to a state it was in in the past.
  10. You cannot give someone immediate access to your data.
  11. You cannot immediately revoke access to your data.
  12. You must ask your staff to delete files and hope they will do the same to protect your ip if you take away their access to your data.
  13. You worry that if you change something and it goes wrong, you will never be able to get back to where you were.
  14. You cannot track who has accessed your data and what they have done with it.
  15. You cannot prevent someone to whom you have given a copy of your data from giving a copy to someone else.
  16. You need a cad system administrator or other it staff for your cad and/or pdm hardware, data and software.
  17. You need to make back-up copies of your cad data.
  18. You or your company will need to set up and maintain servers to share stored data internally or externally.
  19. You need to use a specific computer or vpn to access or share data.
  20. As a manager, you cannot find out in real time what your team has done recently without holding meetings.
  21. You cannot determine if a supplier or contractor has already started their work.
  22. Once you have given someone access to your data, you can’t prevent them from copying it, downloading it, exporting it, or redistributing it.
  23. Feel compelled to hit the save button or enable an auto-save feature to avoid losing work.
  24. Waiting for data to be checked in before you can see it.
  25. Worry that the data you are looking at is already out-of-date.


Don’t be fooled. Onshape is the only product development platform on the market today that eliminates all the productivity bottlenecks listed above.

Download your free copy now of  Let’s Get Technical: Transitioning to Onshape from Legacy CAD