Why do virtual CAD machines cost 20% less than CAD workstations?

Why do virtual CAD machines cost 20% less than CAD workstations?

The Financial Case For Running CAD In The Cloud

Cloud-based CAD offers designers a huge range of benefits. But, as is often the case, the final decision at organizations boils down to price – is the exciting new product cost-competitive with the alternatives?

In the case of CAD in the cloud, the answer is a definitive YES!

So how much cheaper is CAD in the cloud than physical workstations, and why does it cost so much less?

How much less does CAD in the cloud cost?

CAD in the cloud costs about 23% less than an equivalent CAD workstation. How do we get to this figure?

By looking at the total cost of ownership of a CAD workstation, the average price works out as $93.63/month. By contrast, designairspace’s Professional Plan costs just $72/month when billed yearly – that’s 23% less.

The following info-graphic explains why on-premises CAD workstations reach this price:


The monthly TCO for CAD workstations

What’s more, cloud-based CAD costs even less if you are using it on a pay-as-you-go model, whereby you rent the technology for specific projects then turn off your subscription when you don’t need it – that can bring your costs down dramatically.

Why does CAD in the cloud cost so much less?

There are multiple reasons why CAD in the cloud is less expensive than investing in traditional workstations. These include:

Blown to bits

CAD in the Cloud is running on software-defined Workstations. They don't consist of plastic and metal. Managing and provisioning digital stuff rather than the physical soft is infinitely faster, easier and much more cost-effective. (Think of the demise of CD's and VHS). 

Inexpensive distribution

Deploying CAD over the cloud removes all the costs of distributing physical stuff. What’s more, upgrades and patches can be sent to all virtual machines at once, rather than posting them around the world.

No upfront costs

If you’re buying CAD hardware, you are only forced to buy a whole new machine plus other equipment – and maybe even some IT consultants to help with installation. With CAD in the cloud (and the subscription model that comes with it), everything is provided over the internet, saving you a lot of upfront costs.

By avoiding these additional outgoings, CAD in the cloud can be sold at a very competitive price point compared to with traditional CAD workstations. 

But is the cloud really cheaper?

In the tech industry there has been quite a bit of debate over whether the cloud does genuinely work out cheaper than staying on-premises. While this debate doesn’t directly apply to CAD yet (since few of the CAD companies have launched genuine cloud products so far), it’s worth bearing in mind. The argument against the cloud is that, effectively, customers can easily end up being hit by hidden costs and fees.

Of course, this depends on two things:

  1. How many CAD machines you’ll need: With On-Premise CAD Workstations, you need to buy one machine license for each on-prem CAD user. CAD machines can be used by a couple of different users (although not at the same time). This means you get more users per cloud-based CAD machine and this potentially works out as less expensive.
  1. Price transparency: With many cloud providers, there are multiple additional costs which can arise – such as fees for the amount of storage used. Choosing a seller with a totally transparent pricing structure like designairspace means you never pay anything more than the agreed monthly or annual fee.

Virtual CAD is, in most cases, significantly cheaper than investing in on-premises workstations. And with the security, flexibility and productivity benefits it also offers, it’s starting to look like the future of CAD. Want to learn more? Sign up for a Free Trial.