Now more than ever before, our customers are looking for flexible ways to access SOLIDWORKS online. It is not uncommon for a SOLIDWORKS user to have two or more workstations, and being able to work from different locations or on the go is key to maintaining productivity.
Depending on what type of SOLIDWORKS license you currently own, you have different options for accessing SOLIDWORKS online. In this article, we will discuss options for network and standalone SOLIDWORKS licenses, as well as the SOLIDWORKS Connected product through the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. If you’re looking into purchasing SOLIDWORKS for the first time, you will want to consider these differences when deciding what type of license is best for you.
1. VPN, Host Your SOLIDWORKS License Manager on a Virtual Machine
SOLIDWORKS network licenses allow seats of SOLIDWORKS products to be shared across multiple users. These are sometimes called “floating” licenses. Using a service like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services, the SolidNetwork License Manager can be installed on a virtual machine, so that users can connect to it from anywhere. To obtain one of the floating licenses, the user would simply need to establish a secure connection between their PC and the virtual machine where the SOLIDWORKS licenses are held, then run SOLIDWORKS as usual.
With this option, the user would need to have SOLIDWORKS installed on their physical PC and meet all of the SOLIDWORKS hardware requirements. The connection to the virtual machine only provides the license key.
2. VPN, Run SOLIDWORKS on a Virtual Machine
This method could be utilized for network or standalone SOLIDWORKS licenses. Similar to the previously described method, this would involve virtual machines on a platform like Azure or AWS. However, rather than only installing the license manager on the virtual machine, the user would install all of their SOLIDWORKS products on the virtual machine. Then, when connecting to the VPN, the user would essentially be viewing a screen-within-a-screen of the virtual machine where SOLIDWORKS is actually running.
With this option, SOLIDWORKS is installed and runs on a Virtual Machine. Because of this, the user’s physical machine does not have to meet the SOLIDWORKS Hardware Requirements. This option is especially useful for those who want to use SOLIDWORKS on a Mac or a PC with a non-approved graphics card.
3. 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS, a.k.a. SOLIDWORKS Connected
Access to SOLIDWORKS Connected can also be purchased through the 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS offer on Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Unlike network or standalone licenses, there is no serial number associated with the product. Instead, the license is tied to the user’s 3DEXPERIENCE login. To start SOLIDWORKS Connected, the user would need to log in to their 3DEXPERIENCE platform in their web browser and click the SOLIDWORKS Connected icon. This obtains the SOLIDWORKS license from the cloud, then runs the SOLIDWORKS Connected software on the user’s physical machine. Because of this, the user’s PC must meet all of the traditional SOLIDWORKS hardware requirements.
SOLIDWORKS Connected has the same modeling functionality as the traditional SOLIDWORKS desktop product, with just a few differences in licensing, file management and the user interface. Because SOLIDWORKS Connected is run through the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, it undergoes automatic updates to always stay on the latest version. Also, it comes with integrated data management tools for storing and managing your CAD files in the cloud. And unlike SOLIDWORKS network licenses, SOLIDWORKS Connected cannot be shared across multiple users because each license of SOLIDWORKS Connected is linked to one 3DEXPERIENCE login.
Retirement of Online Licensing
If you have a standalone license, you may be familiar with another method of accessing SOLIDWORKS – through online licensing. This was an option in the MySolidworks Admin Portal where a license could be set to machine activation or online licensing. Machine activation is the default activation method where a serial number is held on one machine at a time. The option for online licensing would allow a user to log in with their SOLIDWORKS ID, upon starting SOLIDWORKS, to access their license. This option is being discontinued and will be fully phased out by March 2022. If you are still currently using this option, please note that your license will automatically be switched to machine activation in the coming months.
Interested in learning the difference between SOLIDWORKS desktop and SOLIDWORKS 3DEXPERIENCE? In this on-demand webinar, we go over the different functionalities and the key differences in each version’s ecosystem and how they benefit your team.