Virtual Desktop Computing for Inventor (Autodesk)

Table of Contents

Not too long ago, the marriage of Inventor, an ingenious CAD software, with virtual desktop computing seemed like an unattainable feat. However, the answer to the burning question, “Can you perform virtual desktop computing for Inventor?” is a resounding “Yes!”

Previously, the struggle stemmed from the challenges posed by rendering graphics through virtual environments. But as we journey through the annals of CAD history, we witness a fascinating transformation, where past limitations evolve into present possibilities.

Virtual Desktop Computing for Inventor Autodesk

Benefits of Virtual Desktop Computing for Inventor

For manufacturing companies dealing with large CAD files, understanding the benefits of virtual desktop computing tailored to their needs is crucial:

  1. Efficient Handling of Large CAD Files: Virtual desktop computing excels in managing the complexity of large CAD files, ensuring smooth operations and faster rendering.
  2. Flexibility for Remote Work: Team members can work from various locations and devices, especially valuable when collaborating on intricate designs and modifications.
  3. Scalability to Accommodate Growth: As your company expands, virtual desktops can easily scale to support more design team members and larger CAD projects.
  4. Seamless Collaboration: Real-time collaboration regardless of physical locations fosters knowledge sharing and accelerates project completion for substantial CAD files.
  5. Enhanced Security for Sensitive Data: Advanced security features, centralized data storage, and access controls safeguard valuable intellectual property inherent in extensive CAD files.
  6. Disaster Recovery for Critical Data: In case of hardware failures or unexpected incidents, quick data restoration minimizes downtime and potential losses for large CAD projects.
  7. Simplified Maintenance and Updates: Centralized virtual desktop environments make software updates and maintenance more efficient, ensuring the software remains up to date and secure.
  8. Accessibility to Advanced CAD Features: Virtual desktops provide easy access to the latest features and capabilities of CAD software, enhancing your ability to work on large and intricate designs.
  9. Optimized Computing Resources: By reducing the need for individual high-end workstations, virtual desktop computing optimizes hardware usage and contributes to more sustainable computing practices.

For manufacturing companies dealing with large CAD files, adopting virtual desktop computing offers improved efficiency, seamless collaboration, secure data management, and access to advanced CAD capabilities. It’s a tailored solution to handle the specific demands of large-scale design projects while providing scalability and adaptability as your company grows.

Exploring the Historical Landscape of Virtual Desktop Computing for Inventor

The key obstacle that hindered the seamless integration of Autodesk Inventor with virtual machines was rooted in OpenGL limitations. OpenGL, the open standard for 3D graphics, played a pivotal role in rendering intricate 3D models. However, when the marriage of Inventor and virtual machines was attempted, it posed a unique challenge. Virtual environments struggled to effectively harness the capabilities of OpenGL, leading to suboptimal graphics performance.

To circumvent this challenge, a compromise emerged in the form of Software OpenGL. This solution allowed Autodesk Inventor to function within virtual environments, albeit at a cost. Rather than directly engaging with the graphics card, Software OpenGL enabled the software to communicate with a graphics driver. While this solution ensured functionality, it also introduced a significant impact on graphics performance. As a result, professionals using Inventor faced a trade-off between functionality and performance. Precision and efficiency, the hallmarks of CAD design, were often compromised.

Understanding this historical backdrop is crucial in appreciating the remarkable strides made in virtual desktop computing for Autodesk Inventor. The challenges and compromises of the past set the stage for the transformative developments that have reshaped the landscape of CAD design. 

Virtual Desktop Computing for CAD

The Present: An Unveiling of Inventor’s Evolution in Virtual Desktop Computing

Now, let’s fast forward to the present and witness an astounding transformation in the realm of virtual desktop computing for Autodesk Inventor. In this era of technological renaissance, the compatibility of Inventor with virtual machines has achieved unprecedented heights, reshaping the landscape of 3D design.

Harnessing GPU Technology and Virtualization

At the heart of this transformation lies the remarkable synergy of two critical elements: Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) and advanced virtualization. These innovations have ushered in a new era where the fusion of Autodesk Inventor and virtual desktops is nothing short of exceptional.

Want to learn more about virtual desktops with GPUs? Read about Azure Virtual Desktop with GPU.

Fully Leveraging Graphics Capabilities

Modern virtual machines have harnessed the immense potential of your graphics card, offering an unparalleled 3D design experience. This achievement goes beyond mere compatibility—it signifies a seamless, powerful, and efficient workspace for Inventor users. Gone are the days when complex model rendering posed significant challenges; in this contemporary landscape, users can anticipate fluid and lag-free Inventor sessions.

A Revolution in Compatibility

This compatibility revolution represents a pivotal turning point for professionals and creators in the realm of CAD design. Inventor, known for its intricate 3D modeling capabilities, can now spread its wings within the virtual environment, offering a level of performance and precision that was once deemed unattainable.

The Unshackling of Creativity

The impact of this transformation extends beyond mere practicality. It signifies a liberation of creativity and innovation, unburdened by the limitations of the past. Designers, engineers, and creators can now navigate the 3D design realm with unparalleled ease, exploring their visions with unprecedented fluidity.

A World Without Limitations

Inventor users are no longer tethered by the constraints of hardware or on-site workstations. The digital canvas is now boundless, and accessibility knows no bounds. Whether you’re designing complex machinery, architectural wonders, or intricate product prototypes, the virtual desktop environment is your open canvas for unfettered exploration.

Embracing the Future

As we immerse ourselves in the present-day marvel of virtual desktop computing for Inventor, we also peer into the horizon of endless possibilities. The potential for CAD design, collaboration, and innovation is now limited only by one’s creativity and imagination. With a smooth, lag-free 3D design experience at your fingertips, what new frontiers will you explore?

Pioneering the Future with Autodesk Inventor

Autodesk Inventor is predominantly a local desktop application where files are traditionally saved to hard drives and network locations. While Inventor itself may operate locally, a subset of complementary tools such as Inventor Connected Design and Autodesk Drive embraces cloud connectivity, albeit without direct file-saving capabilities to cloud locations. 

It’s important to note that mapping the Inventor project file workspace to a cloud drive is neither recommended nor officially supported.

Unlocking the Potential: How It Works

The transition to virtual desktop computing for Inventor is a significant step, and understanding how it works is crucial. Here’s a simplified breakdown:

Step 1: Choose the Right Virtual Environment

Begin by selecting a virtual environment that is compatible with Inventor. Verify that your virtual setup aligns with Autodesk’s requirements for running Inventor on a virtual machine.

Autodesk Inventor works great on Microsoft Azure. Learn more about Azure Cloud solutions.

Step 2: Assess the Pros and Cons

Before making the switch to virtualized Inventor, weigh the advantages and disadvantages:


  • Flexibility: Virtualization allows for remote access, enabling collaboration and work from various locations.
  • Cost-Efficiency: It can potentially reduce hardware costs by minimizing the need for high-end workstations.
  • Scalability: Virtual environments can easily scale to accommodate growing design teams.


  • Performance: Depending on your virtual setup, performance may not match that of a dedicated workstation.
  • Technical Challenges: Virtualization can present challenges in terms of setup, maintenance, and compatibility.
  • Licensing: Ensure that your Autodesk licensing permits virtualization.

Step 3: Meet Technical Requirements

For a seamless transition to virtual desktop computing tailored to Autodesk Inventor, it’s paramount to ensure your system aligns with the specific technical prerequisites laid out by Autodesk. These technical requirements not only ensure compatibility but also guarantee a smooth and efficient experience in the virtual environment.

  1. Hardware: Begin with your hardware setup. Autodesk recommends a robust configuration for your system. For optimal performance, a CPU running at 3.0 GHz or greater with four or more cores is highly recommended. The minimum requirement stands at 2.5 GHz or greater, which is quite accessible.When it comes to memory, 32 GB of RAM or more is the recommended capacity. This ample RAM ensures that you can tackle complex assemblies and resource-intensive tasks with ease. The minimum requirement for smaller assemblies is 16 GB of RAM.Don’t overlook your disk space. To accommodate the installation, you’ll need a minimum of 40 GB. Having more free space, however, is always a good practice for efficient system performance.
  2. Graphics: Graphics are of paramount importance for Inventor. For a recommended setup, a 4 GB GPU with 106 GB/S Bandwidth and DirectX 11 compliance is the way to go. This beefy graphics card ensures that your complex 3D models render seamlessly, providing you with a fluid design experience.On the flip side, if you’re working with more modest resources, a 1 GB GPU with 29 GB/S Bandwidth and DirectX 11 compliance is the minimum requirement. While this may not match the prowess of a high-end GPU, it still ensures a functional experience.To find suitable graphics cards, Autodesk offers a Certified Hardware list, allowing you to make an informed choice.
  3. Display Resolution: The display resolution is an important factor in the visual quality of your work. For the best experience, Autodesk recommends a resolution of 3840 x 2160 (4K). You can choose a scaling preference of 100%, 125%, 150%, or 200% for clarity.The minimum resolution requirement is 1280 x 1024. While this isn’t the top-tier 4K, it still provides a functional workspace for your designs.
  4. Pointing Device: When it comes to the pointing device, a simple MS-Mouse is compliant with Autodesk Inventor. For those looking for enhanced productivity, the 3DConnexion SpaceMouse® is supported, but it requires driver version 10.7.0 or later.
  5. Network: Ensure you have a stable and high-speed internet connection. This is particularly crucial for cloud-based virtualization, web installs with Autodesk Desktop App, collaboration features, web downloads, and licensing.
  6. Spreadsheet: If your workflow involves creating and editing spreadsheets, ensure you have a full local installation of Microsoft Excel 2016 or later. It’s worth noting that reading or exporting spreadsheet data in Inventor doesn’t necessitate Microsoft Excel. However, for those using Office 365, having a local installation of Microsoft Excel is a must. Keep in mind that Windows Excel Starter®, OpenOffice®, and browser-based Office 365 applications are not supported.
  7. Browser: Autodesk Inventor works well with browsers like Google Chrome™ or their equivalents.
  8. .NET Framework: For compatibility, make sure your system has .NET Framework Version 4.8 or later installed. It’s also advisable to keep Windows Updates enabled for the installation process.

For those dealing with complex models, intricate mold assemblies, and large assemblies typically comprising more than 1,000 parts, consider these enhanced hardware recommendations:

  • A CPU running at 3.30 GHz or greater, equipped with four or more cores, is highly recommended.
  • A memory capacity of 64 GB of RAM or greater ensures you can work on substantial projects without performance hiccups.
  • When it comes to graphics, the recommended 4 GB GPU with 106 GB/S Bandwidth and DirectX 11 compliance guarantees smooth rendering and a lag-free design experience.

By meticulously addressing these technical requirements, you’ll optimize your virtual environment for Inventor, unlocking its full potential.

The Promise of Cloud-Based Solutions

For those exploring virtual desktop computing for Inventor, cloud-based solutions offer a promising future. Microsoft Azure and similar platforms provide the infrastructure needed to host Inventor on cloud-based virtual machines. The benefits of such solutions include:

  1. Scalability: The ability to scale resources on-demand to accommodate growing design teams or resource-intensive tasks.
  2. Cost-Efficiency: Pay only for the resources you use, potentially leading to significant savings compared to maintaining on-premises hardware.
  3. High Performance: Powerful virtual machines in the cloud ensure smooth, efficient Inventor sessions.
  4. Security: Robust security measures protect your data, providing peace of mind for your design and intellectual property.


What was once considered a daunting feat has now become an attainable reality. The transformation witnessed in this technological landscape is nothing short of remarkable, redefining how professionals approach 3D design and CAD modeling.

Understanding the benefits of virtual desktop computing for Inventor is essential, particularly for manufacturing companies dealing with large CAD files. This approach offers efficient handling of complex models, flexibility for remote work, scalability to accommodate growing design teams, and seamless collaboration among team members, regardless of their physical locations. Furthermore, it ensures enhanced security for sensitive data, disaster recovery capabilities, simplified maintenance, and accessibility to advanced CAD features. It’s a tailored solution that not only optimizes efficiency but also prepares businesses for the future of CAD design and innovation.

The integration of GPU technology and virtualization has significantly improved the compatibility of Inventor with virtual desktops, offering users a more seamless and efficient workspace. The days of struggling with complex model rendering are in the past, and the world of 3D design is now boundless, free from the limitations of on-site workstations.

Related Posts