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Thread: New in-house network server

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    100 Club lzaras's Avatar
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    Default New in-house network server

    Let me start out by saying I'm not an IT person; just a Autodesk end-user. So I don't really know or understand all the IT technicals. But I'm having major issues.

    Over the holiday weekend, my firm installed a new in-house network server. They kept the old server for now, named {blah, blah, blah}-SBS. The new server is named {blah, blah, blah}-SVR. I'm having a heck of a time even opening just one Revit project.

    I'm structural, in a Structural Engineering office; so we are a consultant to the Architects, in a separate office from other disciplines. So the project in question has three Revit links attached to it. An Architectural Building link, an Architectural Parking Deck link, and a MEP link. Of course, those links have (circular) link to each other and my own Structural link.

    Yesterday, when I was told about the new server, I thought about the repercussions and went to try opening one of our most recent Revit models. After 45 minutes, the structural model opened, without the three links. Reload from... worked for the MEP and the Parking Deck, and I was able to save the model. However, the Building link I have yet to be able to reload. I watched it for over 4 hours last night before our external IT contractor made updates to my computer and rebooted my machine.

    This morning, I'm trying a different approach; I'm trying to open the project from the old server location/path -SBS. My intent was to open the project from the -SBS server, re-path the links by using Reload From... to the new -SVR locations, and then SaveAs to the new -SVR location. But the structural model is still taking an extraordinary amount of time to open and I've yet to get it open this morning.

    Does anyone have any ideas on how to make this go more smoothly? I'm sure I've spent over 8 hours alone on trying to get this one project open.
    Leanne
    AutoCAD 2010 Certified Professional
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    Revit Structure 2015 Certified Professional
    2013 Gunslingers, 2015 ITF-Live

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    Revit2018 /ACAD2014

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    100 Club lzaras's Avatar
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    Default Re: New in-house network server

    So, yesterday's exercise gave me the following results...

    over 1 hour just to open the Structural Model.
    3 minutes to re-path one link.
    34 minutes to re-path a second link.
    over 2 hours to re-path the third link.
    a few seconds to save the file as a new Central file on the new server.
    Over 2 hours to open the local file to finally be able to work on it.
    over 4 minutes for my first Save to Central on the new server.

    That's over 6 hours of maintenance on ONE project.

    Yes, we're complaining, LOUDLY to our IT consultant. Last night he killed the new server and switched us back to the old one. But now my project is still taking forever to open (looking for links that were pathed to the new server???) I've already lost two days of work on this project. Architects are yelling for models and drawings. I can't even get into the project to print.

    Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions for me?
    Leanne
    AutoCAD 2010 Certified Professional
    Revit Architecture 2012 Certified Professional
    Revit Structure 2015 Certified Professional
    2013 Gunslingers, 2015 ITF-Live

    Charlotte, NC
    Revit2018 /ACAD2014

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    Programming Moderator BlackBox's Avatar
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    Default Re: New in-house network server

    I'm not a Revit person (I use Civil 3D), but as an IT Admin person I do find it curious that this new server was introduced in addition to your previous server rather than in its place.

    This is a complex topic with many variables, only a few of which can be gathered from your OP, so there's a lot of unknowns at play here.

    Generally, IT folk migrate from an existing server to a new server - either through restoration of a bare metal backup of the existing server, or by renaming the existing server, naming the new server the same as the original existing server, then migrating only the data shares over the network; whichever is faster - for the sole purpose of NOT disrupting users, project data, shortcuts/links, etc.

    Then, when all the dust settles on the migration (that users should effectively not even notice), that now legacy server is reallocated as a secondary or tertiary node in a would-be failover cluster (using real-time sync), so that in the event of a catastrophic failure of the new server or even for planned server maintenance, the existing server kicks on as the new server goes offline and the users never effectively notice as everything just keeps on working.

    Methinks that management/ownership needs to press for a clear path to this migration/upgrade process, so they can at least tentatively schedule the appropriate downtime to complete the process, if not now identify that 'hey, this results in a lot of extra time per project just to make it work, maybe we should do something different instead?'

    Good luck.
    "How we think determines what we do, and what we do determines what we get."

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    100 Club lzaras's Avatar
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    Default Re: New in-house network server

    Thank you BlackBox.

    I am the most experienced Revit person in our small firm and we use an outside IT consultant to handle the background/server stuff. I was not consulted and was surprised on Monday when I got the email announcing the new server and new server name. That's when I spoke up and said, "Uh, Revit databases do not appreciate re-pathing," and my 2.5 day headache started.

    Last night, the IT consultant switched us back to the old server. And I was able to get an older backup copy of my maimed Revit project. The central file became corrupt, but I was able to recover it and now I'm working just as easily as last week before the server swap.

    The IT consultant said he'll revisit the server swap when the dust settles. Now that he's learned the issues with renaming our server, I hope he decides follows the same course of action you've described (I may even copy and past your response in an email to him; is that okay?)
    Leanne
    AutoCAD 2010 Certified Professional
    Revit Architecture 2012 Certified Professional
    Revit Structure 2015 Certified Professional
    2013 Gunslingers, 2015 ITF-Live

    Charlotte, NC
    Revit2018 /ACAD2014

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    Programming Moderator BlackBox's Avatar
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    Default Re: New in-house network server

    Quote Originally Posted by lzaras View Post
    ... I was not consulted and was surprised on Monday when I got the email announcing the new server and new server name.
    This was a huge mistake; regardless of who's at fault - management for not looping you in or IT for not asking to speak with an essential application's guru - the fact is that not all key stakeholders were participant in the conversations leading up to the green light for the new server.

    Unknown circumstances will always crop up, that's part of life; failing to have a basic conversation with all of the appropriate folks before changing/adding servers was an unforced error (aka avoidable).

    Quote Originally Posted by lzaras View Post
    The IT consultant said he'll revisit the server swap when the dust settles. Now that he's learned the issues with renaming our server, I hope he decides follows the same course of action you've described (I may even copy and past your response in an email to him; is that okay?)
    Absolutely, feel free.

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

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    Revit Forum Manager Steve_Stafford's Avatar
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    Default Re: New in-house network server

    Get acquainted with the SUBST command (Windows/DOS). It will fool Revit into thinking another path is the same one.

    For example you have a server called OldRevitServer and it was mapped to drive lettter P:. The formal UNC path is \\OldRevitServer\Projects. Now you've got this new server called \\NiceNewRevitServer\Projects. If you use the SUBST command at a DOS prompt you can tell Revit to use this new server path for your P:\ drive mapping instead. It isn't a great long term solution but if you need to buy some time during a transition it might help.

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    Programming Moderator BlackBox's Avatar
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    Default Re: New in-house network server

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve_Stafford View Post
    Get acquainted with the SUBST command (Windows/DOS). It will fool Revit into thinking another path is the same one.

    For example you have a server called OldRevitServer and it was mapped to drive lettter P:. The formal UNC path is \\OldRevitServer\Projects. Now you've got this new server called \\NiceNewRevitServer\Projects. If you use the SUBST command at a DOS prompt you can tell Revit to use this new server path for your P:\ drive mapping instead. It isn't a great long term solution but if you need to buy some time during a transition it might help.
    I much prefer using something like this via NETLOGON, personally:

    Code:
    ::<snip>
    
    :: delete network drives
    net use p: /delete /y
    
    cls
    
    :: map network drives for users
    ::net use p: "\\OldRevitServer\Projects"
    net use p: "\\NiceNewRevitServer\Projects"
    
    ::<snip>
    "How we think determines what we do, and what we do determines what we get."

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    Revit Forum Manager Steve_Stafford's Avatar
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    Default Re: New in-house network server

    My understanding is that (NETUSE) does not fool Revit. It still sees the new path. SUBST however does fool Revit into think the server path is the same even though different. I use a batch script to map to client shared folders when I visit their office but not when their own server shared structure has changed, then SUBST works. For example, one client archives their entire project but has on occasion had to print from the old set as if it were intact. Using SUBST allowed me to open the project without issues even though ordinarily Revit would require me to recreate the central files for everything first.

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    Programming Moderator BlackBox's Avatar
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    Default Re: New in-house network server

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve_Stafford View Post
    My understanding is that (NETUSE) does not fool Revit. It still sees the new path. SUBST however does fool Revit into think the server path is the same even though different. I use a batch script to map to client shared folders when I visit their office but not when their own server shared structure has changed, then SUBST works. For example, one client archives their entire project but has on occasion had to print from the old set as if it were intact. Using SUBST allowed me to open the project without issues even though ordinarily Revit would require me to recreate the central files for everything first.
    That is interesting!

    The only real difference between NET USE vs SUBST, is that the former is more fault tolerant (i.e., unavailable drives just show as being unavailable), and the latter expects the UNC path to be there at all times (consuming your system resources to desperately reconnect when not found).

    I understand the using of SUBST to recreate drives you don't have access to during development that you know will exist at a client location, etc but it (a SUBST drive) is still a mapped drive letter pointing to a UNC network share; both of which have the exact same UNC file path (\\<ServerName>\<ShareName>), no?

    So, it would seem this is a design flaw in Revit that should be easily corrected in Beta, TBH... Just use the string file path saved to the various pathed settings throughout the application and everyone's immediately more productive.

    Very strange to me.

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

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    Revit Forum Manager Steve_Stafford's Avatar
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    Default Re: New in-house network server

    Under the hood, Revit has only ever paid heed to the UNC share name. The drive letter is technically immaterial. That's why netuse is ineffective for central files. The UNC path is still different with netuse while subst poses as the original UNC path.

    There are several ways to map shared resources in Windows (IP address, Drive Letter, Name Locations...), which, I believe, is why they focused on the actual shared resource name. Also, if I use drive letter R for a shared folder called //MyServer/Projects/ and someone else uses T our project is technically in the same location (same shared resource UNC path), just assigned to a different drive letter on my own PC differently. Revit's approach bypasses the issue.

    It trips up on drive mapping based on the IP address though. If I use //MyServer/Projects to create the central file and another PC is mapped via the IP address //192.168.x.xx/Projects Revit regards the shared folders UNC path as different when the IP based user's PC tries to open the project.
    Last edited by Steve_Stafford; 2018-11-29 at 07:22 PM.

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