How Autodesk Gained Early Customer Insight with Nutanix Xi Frame

Autodesk University: The Path to Virtualization with Frame and Azure

Putting on an event the size of Autodesk University is not for the faint of heart. Autodesk’s annual user conference draws 10,000+ attendees for three days of talks, demos, and hands-on classes that together require a huge amount of computing power. See how Xi Frame saved their IT team 600 hours in deployment time by launching virtual apps from the cloud.

Autodesk makes software for people who make things. If you’ve ever driven a high-performance car, admired a towering skyscraper, used a smartphone, or watched a great film, chances are you’ve experienced results of Autodesk’s software played a critical role in its creation. Autodesk gives you the power to make anything.

As a leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software, Autodesk needs to keep a finger on the pulse of what its most demanding users want to see in new versions of their products.

Autodesk Inventor (professional-grade 3D CAD), Autodesk AutoCAD (2D & 3D CAD) and Autodesk Revit (BIM software for architectural design) all have vibrant communities, where thousands of users directly engage with the development teams to provide their thoughts and ideas on pre-released versions of the product. Gaining customer feedback as early as possible in the development cycle is a critical element in Autodesk’s product development process.

Historically, participants had to download and install pre-production software to their desktop computers to try out the latest updates from the development team. This limited the frequency and amount of feedback that could be collected because some participants didn’t want to affect their production work environments and spend the time to download and configure new updates.

Why Xi Frame

Autodesk evaluated a number of ways to virtualize their applications and harness the power of the cloud to get early customer feedback. They chose Nutanix Xi Frame because it made it simple to instantly reach customers around the world.

Since Xi Frame runs on public cloud infrastructure, the teams at Autodesk can immediately offer customers low latency access to their applications by allowing them access to the nearest data center in Virginia, California, Australia, and Ireland. Nutanix also supports a number of APIs that make it easy to embed applications in web pages and authenticate users using SAML2.0. Xi Frame APIs made it easy for Autodesk to leverage the Beta Management Platform from Centercode, and seamlessly connect users to applications delivered through Xi Frame. Finally, since Xi Frame doesn’t require that anything be installed by customers, it is fast and easy to access the applications and provide feedback without interruption.

The Benefits

Participation in the Autodesk feedback programs has increased significantly, allowing customers to run apps instantly and without having to install a thing on their local machines. The programs have realized a broader reach within the feedback community, helped faster iterations, and ensured better quality and stability. Autodesk has seen updates being tested more frequently, and this has now become the preferred approach for users over downloading pre-release software.

Xi Frame has allowed us to quickly get feedback on pre-release software from customers around the world and make important improvements before the final release.

Sanjay Ramaswamy, Product Manager, Autodesk Inventor

Customer Reactions

I love having the ability to try the new features without having to set up a clean virtual machine or workstation. The latency of the cursor is the best I’ve seen, and we’ve been researching VDI possibilities for a couple of years.

AutoCAD user

Absolutely fantastic!! It is fast and up to date with all new enhancements without install.

Inventor user

This is absolutely mind-blowing! I am lying in my bed ready go to sleep. I have iPad in my hand and was very curious to open Revit preview on iPad, and outcome is amazing. Everything works!!!!! I love how I can draw in Revit from touch screen. Revit is fast…. I’m so impressed…..

Revit user