Anyone that pays close attention to the Autodesk® Exchanges Apps may have noticed a new addition in the last week. This new application is called Autodesk® Remote, and is available to download as a subscription only benefit, and is aimed at users who need to access their workstation and associated applications from a remote location without the traditional interface performance issues associated with it. Click here to go to the Autodesk Exchange Apps store.
I’ll try and give you some background to try and help place where it’s aimed at.
Having worked for a hardware vendor before coming to Autodesk, one area we focussed on was the topic of VDI. Now VDI isn’t some transmitted disease, but stands for ‘Virtual Desktop Infrastructure’.
There are various software providers that specialise in this market, such as Citrix, Parallels and VMware to name a few. The concept for VDI is to centralise the managed desktop environments, so instead of desktop users having expensive individual PCs that all need maintaining, the users environment could be virtualised on a server and would only require an easily managed ‘thin client’ to login to their desktop from anywhere they have access.
The above scenario requires some investment and is typically aimed at the office user. One of the reasons for this is, up until the last few years, virtual desktops didn’t have any real hardware acceleration. So users weren’t able to run graphically intensive software such as most CAD applications.
Now at the other end of the scale are users that occasionally have the need to work remotely BUT may not have access to the hardware or application licences to be able to do so easily.
In this scenario, some individuals and organisations have either purchased specific software that allows controlled remote access, such as GotoMyPc from Citrix or have been utilising Remote Desktop within Windows and connecting via VPN.
The problem with relying on the MS Windows Remote Desktop component is that:-
- You have to have an infrastructure in place that supports it.
- It only graphically accelerates DirectX9
- Only Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 offered any graphics acceleration (this is when Microsoft introduced a technology they called RemoteFX) but this is currently limited to DirectX9 support. Most Autodesk applications are currently either DirectX 10/11 or OpenGL.
So where does Autodesk Remote fit in?
Autodesk® Remote is aimed at individuals or organisations that need the flexibility to access their host installed software from wherever they are in the world with a minimal amount of effort or pre-configured infrastructure.
Autodesk® Remote is a stand-alone application for Microsoft Window 7 and 8 and is also available to download as an iPad App.
Having used other solutions in the past I have to say the user experience for me was incredible. Driving Autodesk Inventor from an iPad without the lag and very good graphics scaling really impressed me. Also as I didn’t have any special port blocking on my firewall the connection was really easy and effortless. To see more in depth information about requirements Click Here for the Remote Support FAQ.
Installation additional information.
One of the things that may put you off looking any further is the bold letters on the Exchange App site that state that “Autodesk Remote currently works in North-America only”.
Well this isn’t entirely true, although once up and running, the performance will depend on the region you are in, plus as it stands, the iPad application is currently only available to download from the US App Store. (…a quick google on ‘how to’ overcome the above may resolve this for most people)
Once you’ve downloaded the installer for the desktop (which can be downloaded by clicking on ‘Write a Review’ and logging in with a valid Autodesk ID) and iPad, follow all the instructions as highlighted in the FAQ.