When it comes to beta testing, it takes a certain user to willingly dig into a known buggy software product in order to determine the new features that will warrant an upgrade. Beta testing software that runs on a single sysytem can have it own challenges but this is only magnified when the software in question is distributed among various clients and server machines.
SolidWorks Enterprise PDM can be a solution that falls in the latter category, making testing for larger installs difficult, since it typically requires you to upgrade not only the clients but also the archives, databases and replicated servers as well. Seems like a lot of hard work to create a test environment or take a chance on moving a production system to bata-based backbone.
This past week, SolidWorks is offering an easier way to those who want to take part in the SolidWorks 2010 Beta program, to test the coming release of Enterprise PDM without all the headache. To do this, SolidWorks is hosting the archive and database servers on their infastructure in order to provide a hosted vault, requiring only the end user to install a beta client on their local system. This eliminates the hassle of locating an additional system, installing all the server-side components and simply allows customers to test out what 2010 EPDM will bring to the table.
In order to take advantage of this offering you must email "firstname.lastname@example.org" with the subject line "EPDM BETA SIGN UP". The retuned email will contain instructions to get started with your hosted testing environment. Currently, there are two options for beta testing via the "SolidWorks EPDM cloud":
1) Connect to an existing vault using the server name (IP address) and Username provided in your invitation email and connecting the the "Betatest" vault that has been created.
2) Create your own vault on the hosted server, allowing an import of your current vault settings and essentially replicating your production setup. This option requires a bit of host file configuration but overall the process is standard operating procedure (SOP) for most who have setup any multi-site server configuration.
For many, this will lower the barrior of entry to beta testing Enterprise PDM 2010 and hopefully allow the evalution procedure to upgrade to be started much earlier than it would otherwise. ~Lou