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Thread: Network Deployment Examples

  1. #1
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    Default Network Deployment Examples

    I've convinced my company that it's a good idea to start fresh with how we are organized with all of our AutoCAD items. Think Blocks, Templates, Custom Toolbars, etc. I'm so grateful because they've essentially spent the past 14 years dumping things wherever they want on the server and it's horrible. On top of that, and more importantly in my opinion, is the opportunity to upgrade all of our user's computers in a way that gives me the chance to start over how they are all set up. Where they are all pointed for their custom files, using an Enterprise CUI, etc. I thought I had a good idea of what I wanted to do but then I made the mistake of visiting these forums and read in comments a few different ways that I had not even thought about and now I'm wondering what I should do and which is the best way. So, I'm looking for examples of how you're deployed across your network so I can make a more informed decision for our company. Anything will be better than what we have now but since they're looking to me for this, I want this to be an easy solution to add users and for all users to have and be using company standard items. We currently have around 15 AutoCAD users right now.

    Any help is greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Programming Moderator BlackBox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Network Deployment Examples

    What works best is something only you can identify, ultimately.

    Good news, is that you've already accomplished the hardest part - getting management to buy in - what comes next is really up to you.

    Getting your users to have some sort of personal accountability (ownership?) can be invaluable - without their support, expect to be sandbagged every chance you give them (and be pleasantly surprised when they don't) - unless you have sufficient authority as their immediate reviewer.


    Why don't you start with what you're wanting to accomplish, and where you feel that you might need some input? Be as specific as you can.


    Cheers
    "How we think determines what we do, and what we do determines what we get."

    Sincpac C3D ~ Autodesk Exchange Apps

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    Default Re: Network Deployment Examples

    Where things went south for me was when I saw other examples of installations over a network. Cui's & Profiles in particular and of those two, cui's give me the biggest headache when I try to understand all that they can do.

    I want to control our company toolbars for one. Setup in a place with read/write access for only a few in management. And I want to make sure the installation on each user's computer is such that if I were to update anything on the company toolbars, it would update on theirs. We have a toolbar that every engineer will be required to have but when it comes to other custom company toolbars, it's up to them to control with their Workspaces. This makes me think I should handle the required toolbar with the Enterprise.cuix but I haven't ever worked with one before and don't know the full benefits and drawbacks using that method. Any thoughts on using an Enterprise.cuix would be greatly appreciated!

    I do like your comment on giving the users personal accountability and it being invaluable, it's a good reminder because I'm definitely not trying to be a dictator. There have just been too many times with the current system that someone has modified their toolbars and ended up modifying everyone's! I want to have greater control over the content and it's distribution than anything else. And I'm not so set that I wouldn't allow the users that were able to make a custom toolbar to do so but my only instruction would be to save it in their user folder that would also be on the server. I wouldn't want it to be distributed without knowing about it.

    I think this would be step 1 for me, determining whether to use an Enterprise CUI or not. Any help, insights on using an Enterprise CUI, or suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

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    Certified AUGI Addict rkmcswain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Network Deployment Examples

    Quote Originally Posted by Moosebeard View Post
    I've convinced my company that it's a good idea to start fresh with how we are organized with all of our AutoCAD items. Think Blocks, Templates, Custom Toolbars, etc. I'm so grateful because they've essentially spent the past 14 years dumping things wherever they want on the server and it's horrible. On top of that, and more importantly in my opinion, is the opportunity to upgrade all of our user's computers in a way that gives me the chance to start over how they are all set up. Where they are all pointed for their custom files, using an Enterprise CUI, etc. I thought I had a good idea of what I wanted to do but then I made the mistake of visiting these forums and read in comments a few different ways that I had not even thought about and now I'm wondering what I should do and which is the best way. So, I'm looking for examples of how you're deployed across your network so I can make a more informed decision for our company. Anything will be better than what we have now but since they're looking to me for this, I want this to be an easy solution to add users and for all users to have and be using company standard items. We currently have around 15 AutoCAD users right now.

    Any help is greatly appreciated!
    You probably know the old acronym... K.I.S.S.

    1. Don't mess with the software deployments. Keep them stock.
    2. Plant a "seed" acad.lsp file on the local machine - that will load your network acad.lsp file.
    3. Do everything there, such as set paths (support, printer, template, tool palette, etc)
    4. Use acaddoc.lsp also, for drawing specific loads
    5. Optionally, provide an empty bucket so that users can have their own custom stuff (lisp files, shortcut defs, etc).

    That is a high level summary.

    SOURCE: Been doing this for over a dozen years.
    R.K. McSwain | CAD Panacea |

  5. #5
    Programming Moderator BlackBox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Network Deployment Examples

    1+ for RK's apt post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moosebeard View Post
    Where things went south for me was when I saw other examples of installations over a network. Cui's & Profiles in particular and of those two, cui's give me the biggest headache when I try to understand all that they can do.

    I want to control our company toolbars for one. Setup in a place with read/write access for only a few in management. And I want to make sure the installation on each user's computer is such that if I were to update anything on the company toolbars, it would update on theirs. We have a toolbar that every engineer will be required to have but when it comes to other custom company toolbars, it's up to them to control with their Workspaces. This makes me think I should handle the required toolbar with the Enterprise.cuix but I haven't ever worked with one before and don't know the full benefits and drawbacks using that method. Any thoughts on using an Enterprise.cuix would be greatly appreciated!

    I do like your comment on giving the users personal accountability and it being invaluable, it's a good reminder because I'm definitely not trying to be a dictator. There have just been too many times with the current system that someone has modified their toolbars and ended up modifying everyone's! I want to have greater control over the content and it's distribution than anything else. And I'm not so set that I wouldn't allow the users that were able to make a custom toolbar to do so but my only instruction would be to save it in their user folder that would also be on the server. I wouldn't want it to be distributed without knowing about it.

    I think this would be step 1 for me, determining whether to use an Enterprise CUI or not. Any help, insights on using an Enterprise CUI, or suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
    I can only offer how I might do things, and leave it to you to take from that what you like.

    CUI -

    Main CUI, stored locally so user has Modify access.
    Custom CUI, also stored locally (with Main), user has Modify access, and it is mapped into Main CUI as Partial before user ever launches their first session.
    Enterprise CUI, stored on the network where users have read access, and power users have Modify access.

    I assign Modify access using an Active Directory (AD) Security Group - when we get a new user, or lose one to attrition, I merely update their membership so they have (or don't have) the necessary permissions with the flick of a switch.

    I use a startup script at user login to push local user settings (using XCOPY) to their personal network space (which is backed up daily) for CYA when a workstation goes down, etc. That script will conditionally pull down from user's personal network space (using XCOPY) to local if the local copy doesn't exist, which makes new/replacement workstation setup a breeze.

    In the conference room, or when we remote into the office from home, I use our domain's NETLOGON script to automagically remote users into their own workstations (RDP) - this makes it easy for any of us to 'drive' while the owner/engineers host a meeting in-house, using our own LISP routines, PGP aliases, etc., or just to get some work done nights, weekends, sick kids, or when we just need to be home for a 4 hour service appointment window, etc (respectively).

    Disclaimer: I am also the IT Admin here, so I admittedly have a bit more ability to make managing CAD easier without having to 'CADsplain all of this to an IT Admin that doesn't understand CAD. Haha


    That said, I usually install new versions in advance of our 'official' roll-out date, so that folks have a chance to tinker, see what's new, start migrating their custom workspaces, etc.


    Cheers

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by rkmcswain View Post
    5. Optionally, provide an empty bucket so that users can have their own custom stuff (lisp files, shortcut defs, etc).
    Here's one example:

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackBox View Post
    1+

    I also add (load <username>.lsp) functionality with which each user can specify their own variable settings, customizations, etc.. This file is saved in the user's personal network space, which is also included in the Support File Search Paths.

    Example:
    Code:
    (if (findfile (strcat (setq userName (getvar 'loginname)) ".lsp"))
       (load userName)
    )
    "How we think determines what we do, and what we do determines what we get."

    Sincpac C3D ~ Autodesk Exchange Apps

    Computer Specs:
    Dell Precision 3620, Core i7-7700K 4.2GHz, 32GB RAM, Samsung 970 Pro M.2, 8GB NVIDIA Quadro P4000

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Network Deployment Examples

    Terminology counts - "deployment" and "install" isn't the same thing as "CUIx file location" and "toolbars". Don't mix them up, otherwise you'll get conflicting answers.

    I do much the same as the others. A standardized silent deployment so everyone gets the same installation, each time, every time. There's also some post-install configuration. All of that's on a admin-rights only network location, and it's also covered by nightly/weekly backups for disaster recovery. As much as possible is kept as-is without any modifications (at least, from the deployed install).

    I've got our per-user "Main" CUIx files, PGP files, etc. located on a personal network drive, automagically mapped by our IT. Users can log in to almost any computer and still get their workspaces. That's also covered by nightly backups. "Enterprise" CUIx files, ACAD/ACADDOC.LSP files etc. are in a restricted rights location split up by application (we host a number of third-party and in-house AutoCAD profiles/applications) and client-specific resources.
    If you are going to fly by the seat of your pants, expect friction burns.
    Some say beauty is in the eye of the Beholder... perhaps so, but I've only seen the disintegration beam.
    Everyone else being wrong is not the same thing as being right.

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