Autodesk Transforms, by Leveraging Data Virtualization
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Change is sometimes difficult to embrace, especially when it involves downtime. Autodesk, makers of world-renowned 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software, wanted to change from perpetual licensing to subscription-based licensing, but knew that this change would likely impact the entire company.

A Monumental Change
Kurt Jackson, Autodesk’s platform architect, says that the change would result in a major shift in the way that the company did business. “Our legacy system, which had been in place since 1982, was constructed around a very large perpetual license environment, and all of our systems were very largely designed to support that.” In addition, the legacy system was slow and inefficient. Not only was it unable to support the transition to a subscription based licensing model, but it just could not meet the demands of business stakeholders, who required increasingly timely, higher quality data.

Autodesk needed a way to smoothly transition to the new pricing model without impacting existing, perpetual licensing and while facilitating faster access to better data overall, for improved business intelligence.

An Intelligent Architecture
To facilitate this monumental transformation, Autodesk implemented a logical data warehouse architecture, enabled by the data virtualization capabilities of the Denodo Platform. Unlike a traditional data warehouse, a logical data warehouse includes data assets that are not physically located in the same repository, and it enables data consumers and applications to access the unified data in real time. Using the Denodo Platform as a logical data warehouse, Autodesk created a single, unified enterprise access point for any and all data within the company.

The Denodo Platform enabled Autodesk to phase in the new systems alongside the legacy system, without having to restructure the legacy system. This meant that Autodesk was able to introduce the new subscription licensing without interrupting critical consumer processes and without business teams needing to change the way they worked. “We were able to introduce a new way of making purchases while the old system still kept track of our perpetual licensing,” says Jackson. “The two systems didn’t even have to know that the other existed.”

In addition, because the logical data warehouse provides centralized access across the entire enterprise, it facilitated the management of several governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) initiatives, which help Autodesk to handle sensitive information and mitigate risk, and it also streamlined the company’s management of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance controls.

The new infrastructure also enhanced collaboration between business and IT by enabling timely information sharing, and it improved Autodesk’s overall agility, performance, and profitability.

Saving Time and Resources
Autodesk did not regret its choice to go with the Denodo Platform. “The Denodo Platform required minimal training and expertise,” says Jackson. “In addition, the Denodo Platform’s pre-programed engine enabled us to easily create web services and other interactions without needing separate, specialized developers. One developer was able to do the job of four or five. The Denodo Platform’s broad support, for JDBC, ODBC, message queues, or anything we want, means that we can talk to 99% of the systems out there in wonderfully generic ways that everybody already knows how to program.”

Watch as Kurt Jackson tells the Autodesk story of leveraging the Denodo Platform:

For more information about Autodesk’s use of data virtualization, see Autodesk’s case study. To learn more about how forward-thinking companies are leveraging data virtualization across numerous industries, see the collection of Denodo case studies.


Saptarshi Sengupta