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Thread: Worksharing and VPN

  1. #1
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    Default Worksharing and VPN

    Our practice has a main office (2-3 people) and a remote office (one person) connected by VPN via cable modems and a Cisco VPN appliance. Up to now, we have managed to work on our Revit projects by "taking turns" on the file, but this has the obvious limitation of only allowing one of us at a time to work on any given project.

    We are now working on a small hospital (95,000 SF), new from the ground up, and are planning to implement worksets and worksharing. When we did this a couple of years ago, the speed of our connection (at the time the office only had DSL) was too slow for the remote user to be able to work in an integrated, connected fashion. We THINK that with our cable modems that we may now have the bandwidth for this to work.

    I've seen many mentions of remote worksharing and VPN, but no one has explicitly described their setup and how this is working for them. We'd prefer it if the remote user could stay connected and function as if he were at the next desk. I've also seen discussion threads about using Remote Desktop, which we could do but to do that we'll need to add another computer at the office just to host the remote user. We can do that, but it wouldn't be as slick as using the VPN to extend our LAN to the remote user.

    If you've tried this, I'd love to know how it went for you. Thanks!


  2. #2
    AUGI Addict sfaust's Avatar
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    Littleton, CO (Denver Metro)

    Default Re: Worksharing and VPN

    We have this setup, and it works but is slow. We've not been really working directly like we would if we were in the same office. We would generally check out worksets specifically in the morning, and not release or save to central until lunch or other planned times since it would take so long & tie up the central file. It's workable but takes a lot of coordination, at least with our connection (T1 and our offices are +/- 200 miles apart). Lately we've been working on different projects in the different offices so we haven't been doing it for a while.

    I've also heard the remote desktop thing works well. Others seem to be happy with Riverbed appliances (search this site). Let us know what you decide and how it works, this is an ongoing struggle...

  3. #3
    Count (Formula) dbaldacchino's Avatar
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    Missouri City, Texas (Houston area)

    Default Re: Worksharing and VPN

    The most cost-conscious and workable solution is Remote Desktop. That way, even if the remote connetcion drops, you just re-establish the connection and continue where you left off. STC times are the same as anyone else in the office. VPN is very slow and is dependent on how much bandwidth is assigned to such processes, but STC times are never going to be as quick as through Remote Desktop.

    I have no experience with Riverbed setups so I cannot comment.

  4. #4
    AUGI Addict truevis's Avatar
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    Massachusetts, USA

    Default Re: Worksharing and VPN

    Quote Originally Posted by dbaldacchino View Post
    The most cost-conscious and workable solution is Remote Desktop. ...
    I concur.

    Anyone tried HP's own version -- HP Remote Graphics Software (RGS) ?

    Supposed to work with OpenGL. I just have had no way to test it so far.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Worksharing and VPN

    I appreciate everyone's feedback. I did a short test, and came up with the following: 1) Opening the central file (just over 40mb at this point) via VPN took about 7 minutes; 2) Save As to create a local file on my remote computer only took a minute or so; 3) after making several edits, STC took about 1 1/2 minutes; STC with compact central file checked took about 50 minutes. Obviously, compacting isn't a good idea in this case.

    I didn't have an opportunity to see if routine communication by Revit between local file and central file (i.e. for borrowing a workset, etc.) would be slow and/or cumbersome.

    I have used PCAnywhere via VPN to run an office computer from home with good results, so it looks like the best solution for our situation may be the dedicated office computer that our remote user would run with PCAnywhere or Remote Desktop.

    Solving this is a big deal to us, so thanks again...and I'd welcome any further feedback.


  6. #6
    Active Member jyoungner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worksharing and VPN

    We have a central office with the fastest DSL available from ATT and a remote office with the same DSL setup. The central file is on the server at the central office and local files are at the central office and remote office. We have a linksys vpn appliance at both ends.

    The project is a multi-use town center with a central file size of 140 mb.

    Not much delay when working over the vpn relatively speaking. It does take a couple of minutes for worksharing to open up. Save to centrals take 20-30 minutes, some times longer. Opening the local file takes ~10 minutes. It has worked a lot better than we imagined given some of the horror stories we have heard. Ordinary tasks in Revit have been acceptable with little to no delay.
    Joshua Youngner
    Dunwody/Beeland Architects
    Saint Simons Island, GA

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