Deploy Autodesk Inventor on a virtual machine

Virtual Machines
Virtual Network

This article briefly describes the steps for running Autodesk Inventor on a virtual machine (VM) that's deployed on Azure. It also presents the performance results of running Inventor on Azure.

Inventor is a 3D CAD application that provides professional-grade mechanical design, documentation, and product simulation tools. Inventor:

  • Is rules-based and includes parametric, direct, freeform design capabilities.
  • Integrates tools for sheet metal, frame design, tube and pipe, cable and harness, presentations, rendering, simulation, and machine design.
  • Accesses the Forge Design Automation API for running job processes in the cloud.
  • Enables Fusion 360/Revit/MCAD interoperability.

Inventor software is primarily used by mechanical engineers to quickly model, simulate, and communicate design ideas. It's well-suited to engineers who need automated and specialized tools to design components and prepare them for manufacturing. One of the main use cases is GPU ray tracing, which supports the hardware ray tracing that's used on recent graphics cards (GPUs).

Why deploy Inventor on Azure?

  • Modern and diverse compute options to align to your workload's needs
  • The flexibility of virtualization without the need to buy and maintain physical hardware
  • Rapid provisioning

Architecture

Diagram that shows an architecture for deploying Autodesk Inventor.

Download a Visio file of this architecture.

Components

Compute sizing and drivers

NCasT4_v3 and NVadsA10_v5 series VMs running Windows were used to test the performance of Inventor on Azure. The following table provides the configuration details:

VM size vCPU Memory, in GiB Temporary storage (SSD), in GiB Number of GPUs GPU memory, in GiB Maximum data disks
Standard_NC4as_T4_v3 4 28 180 1 16 8
Standard_NC8as_T4_v3 8 56 360 1 16 16
Standard_NC16as_T4_v3 16 110 360 1 16 32
Standard_NC64as_T4_v3 64 440 2880 4 64 32
Standard_NV6ads_A10_v5 6 55 180 1/6 4 4
Standard_NV18ads_A10_v5 18 220 720 1/2 12 8
Standard_NV36ads_A10_v5 36 440 720 1 24 16

NCasT4_v3-series VMs are powered by NVIDIA Tesla T4 GPUs and AMD EPYC 7V12 (Rome) CPUs. The VMs have as many as 4 NVIDIA Tesla T4 GPUs with 16 GB of memory each, and as many as 64 non-multithreaded AMD processor cores at a base frequency of 2.45 GHz, with a total memory of 440 GB.

NVadsA10 v5-series virtual machines are powered by NVIDIA A10 GPUs and AMD EPYC 74F3V (Milan) CPUs with a base frequency of 3.2 GHz. NVadsA10 v5-series VMs have partial NVIDIA GPUs.

Required drivers

To use Inventor on NCasT4_v3 and NVadsA10_v5 VMs, you need to install NVIDIA and AMD drivers.

Inventor installation

Before you install Inventor, you need to deploy and connect a VM, install an eligible Windows 10 or Windows 11 image, and install the required NVIDIA and AMD drivers.

For information about eligible Windows images, see How to deploy Windows 10 on Azure and Use Windows client in Azure for dev/test scenarios.

For information about deploying the VM and installing the drivers, see Run a Windows VM on Azure.

For installation instructions, see the Autodesk download and install page.

Inventor performance results

Inventor 2022.2.2 Professional and the free trial version of Inventor Professional 2023 were tested.

The BenchMark HD and InvMark Inventor add-ons were used to measure specific performance parameters of Inventor Professional on Azure.

Results for Inventor Professional 2022, using BenchMark HD

The following table shows elapsed times in seconds for tests on various sizes of NCasT4 and NVadsA10 v5 VMs:

VM series VM size Modeling Graphics Drawing Ray tracing File export Save
NCasT4 4 vCPU (1 GPU) 48.545 31.93 53.11 175.731 32.692 12.614
NCasT4 8 vCPU (1 GPU) 48.615 31.106 47.056 74.841 32.794 10.143
NCasT4 16 vCPU (1 GPU) 46.773 35.121 45.429 35.893 32.822 10.328
NCasT4 64 vCPU (4 GPU) 53.927 37.467 51.671 10.387 33.668 11.746
NVadsA10 v5 6 vCPU (1/6 GPU) 33.981 29.889 38.807 108.275 24.203 6.646
NVadsA10 v5 18 vCPU (1/2 GPU) 33.811 23.957 33.96 36.669 23.915 6.547
NVadsA10 v5 36 vCPU (1 GPU) 33.599 24.426 33.163 19.324 23.134 6.139

The following table provides results for various BenchMark HD performance indices. A higher number indicates better performance.

VM series VM size Inventor PC Index (IPI) Single-core Performance Index (SPI) Multi-core Performance Index (MPI)
NCasT4 4 vCPU (1 GPU) 6.29 7.17 2.28
NCasT4 8 vCPU (1 GPU) 8.65 7.16 5.34
NCasT4 16 vCPU (1 GPU) 9.8 7.37 11.14
NCasT4 64 vCPU (4 GPU) 9.78 6.56 38.51
NVadsA10 v5 6 vCPU (1/6 GPU) 9.23 10.1 3.69
NVadsA10 v5 18 vCPU (1/2 GPU) 13.1 10.2 10.91
NVadsA10 v5 36 vCPU (1 GPU) 14.6 10.3 20.7

Comparisons, BenchMark HD

Overall, performance is better on NVadsA10 v5 VMs. The following graphs provide details.

Graph that shows the IPI performance details.

Graph that shows the SPI performance details.

Graph that shows the MPI performance details.

Results for Inventor Professional 2022, using InvMark

The following table shows the scores of InvMark tests on various sizes of NCasT4 and NVadsA10 v5 VMs:

VM series VM size Graphics Drawing FEA Dynamic simulation Assembly constraint Ray tracing Data translation Assembly pattern
NCasT4 4 vCPU (1 GPU) 1412 567 901 1100 1108 458 362 1003
NCasT4 8 vCPU (1 GPU) 1440 733 928 1239 1144 897 622 1047
NCasT4 16 vCPU (1 GPU) 1358 800 915 1217 1167 1655 650 947
NCasT4 64 vCPU (4 GPU) 1060 848 810 953 1090 4016 596 905
NVadsA10 v5 6 vCPU (1/6 GPU) 1629 844 1122 1495 1439 695 891 1308
NVadsA10 v5 18 vCPU (1/2 GPU) 2934 1097 1080 1588 1468 1768 934 1145
NVadsA10 v5 36 vCPU (1 GPU) 3180 1213 1098 1608 1602 2987 980 1252

The following table provides results for various InvMark performance indices. A higher number indicates better performance.

VM series VM size InvMark ST score MT score
NCasT4 4 vCPU (1 GPU) 25300 9030 3008
NCasT4 8 vCPU (1 GPU) 32011 10261 4833
NCasT4 16 vCPU (1 GPU) 32829 10107 5992
NCasT4 64 vCPU (4 GPU) 30353 8903 6824
NVadsA10 v5 6 vCPU (1/6 GPU) 39439 12860 5010
NVadsA10 v5 18 vCPU (1/2 GPU) 43887 13318 7789
NVadsA10 v5 36 vCPU (1 GPU) 46389 13795 9312

Comparisons, InvMark

Overall, performance is better on NVadsA10 v5 VMs. The following graphs provide details.

Graph that shows the InvMark performance details. Graph that shows the ST score details. Graph that shows the MT score details.

Azure cost

Only total elapsed times, as measured by BenchMark HD, are considered for these cost calculations. Application installation time isn't considered.

You can use the Azure pricing calculator to estimate the costs for your configuration.

VM series VM size Number of GPUs Total time
NCasT4 NC4as_T4_v3 1 6 minutes
NCasT4 NC8as_T4_v3 1 4 minutes
NCasT4 NC16as_T4_v3 1 3 minutes, 44 seconds
NCasT4 NC64as_T4_v3 4 3 minutes, 31 seconds
NVadsA10 v5 6 vCPU 1/6 4 minutes, 2 seconds
NVadsA10 v5 18 vCPU 1/2 2 minutes, 38 seconds
NVadsA10 v5 36 vCPU 1 2 minutes, 19 seconds

You can use the total time and the Azure hourly cost to compute the total cost. For the current hourly costs, see Windows Virtual Machines Pricing.

Summary

  • Inventor Professional was successfully tested on NCasT4_v3 and NVadsA10_v5 series VMs on Azure.
  • Performance is better on NVadsA10_v5 VMs than it is on NCasT4_v3 VMs. NVadsA10_v5 VMs are also less expensive.

Contributors

This article is maintained by Microsoft. It was originally written by the following contributors.

Principal authors:

Other contributors:

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Next steps