Many people have asked me whether or not Autodesk supports virtualization solutions for their products. Virtualization solutions could be anything from VMWare, Remote Desktop, Citrix XenApp, etc. There is an increasing number of virtualization technologies coming out and hitting the market. As computer hardware and cloud computing technology expands, many people are seeing virtualization technology as the way of the future. A world where you only need client machines with a VGA port (or DVI/HDMI), an Ethernet connection, and a few USB ports and all the software they run is simply streamed to their little box via Ethernet from one central computer with high-end hardware. It will save huge amounts of dollars in hardware purchases as well as IT overhead. This seems to be one highly probable path that businesses and schools will begin to utilize in their environments.
The good news is that Autodesk does support virtualization, although the scope of virtualization is limited at the time. Officially, Autodesk only supports Citrix XenApp for a virtualization solution at this time. It is not known whether or not Autodesk will support other popular virtualization methods such as VMWare in the future. As of the 2012 release, however, XenApp is the only supported method. You can read about which products are supported for XenApp here.
Now, it is important to note that people have successfully implemented VMWare and other virtualization solutions for their Autodesk products. It is also important to note that this is against the Autodesk EULA. The Autodesk EULA specifies that only “supported” virtualization applications are acceptable. Supported Virtualization applications is defined as “those third party virtualization applications or methods that are specifically identified as supported by Autodesk in the User Documentation for the Licensed Materials.” The only product that falls into this definition currently is Citrix XenApp. This applies to Educational and Commercial licensing. So, again, it is possible to implement a virtualization solution that isn’t Citrix XenApp, but you will be doing so at your own risk. It is against the EULA to do so and it is also not supported by Autodesk so you would not be able to receive any support for any issues you may have.
Now you may be thinking “will Autodesk expand the scope of their virtualization support in the future?” to which I would say that they most likely will. However, this is all speculation. Autodesk does not give out these kinds of details until their new release is launched or ready to be launched. Unfortunately, the only way we will know is when Autodesk announces their next release and we look at the System Requirements. It only seems logical that Autodesk will expand the scope of their virtualization support since so many institutions are beginning to utilize virtualization for its cost-savings benefits. But, alas, it is ultimately up to Autodesk to decide on this. If you would really like to see their virtualization support expanded, I highly recommend submitting your feedback to Autodesk about their products by using this webpage. What you submit on that page is sent to Autodesk’s development team so they can consider ideas for future releases. If Autodesk sees a large number of people asking for virtualization support, then they will most likely expand on their virtualization options.
Author: Mark Philipp