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Thread: Linked files in a central file living in Revit Server

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    Time Lord Steve_Bennett's Avatar
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    Question Linked files in a central file living in Revit Server

    So, just thinking out loud here, but lets say we want to have a central model live in a Revit Server environment but link files that are not Revit files into the model (eg: dwg's). In playing around you can link files to this central model from your local/network drive or even copy the DWG files into the folder structure of the project in Revit Server. The question is, is there a recommended place to link them in from?

    Also, in thinking out loud, has anyone addressed the issue of the Revit project now being orphaned from the typical project folder and drive structure users are accustomed to?

    Also, what about backup? Has anyone automated this with a script as alluded to in the wiki?
    Steve Bennett |BIM Manager
    Taylor Design | Adventures in BIM

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    All AUGI, all the time robert.manna's Avatar
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    Default Re: Linked files in a central file living in Revit Server

    I would not recommend using your hardware that is running Revit Server as your File Server for other file types, unless it is a small satellite office with a limited number of employees and more importantly limited traffic.

    If you are going to combine FIle Server and Revit Server duties, I would not mix the Revit Server Project or Cache locations with your File Server storage locations.

    Your point about the disconnection of the Revit Server data from the rest of the project data on a file server is valid. However my personal opinion is that because RS is only accessible through Revit, it is not that big of a deal.Revit provides an RS shortcut, and users can create their own shortcuts (in Revit) to specific folders on RS for the project they're working on. At our firm we always tell people to open Revit first, then open their Revit file, so they were always browsing to a location in Revit, since RS only contains Revit files, it does not seem to be that big of deal. We structure our folders in RS by project number which is how it is structured on the File Servers. All that said RS does need more (and better) tools for searching and finding files, as in a large firm it could become overwhelming quite quickly.

    We have implemented a back-up script along the lines of what is posted on the Wiki. I don't remember exactly what they wrote there, but I know our thinking was in-line with their thinking and they were happy to hear that it was working in production. We write out from the Revit Server to another location on another Server that was already being backed up, so that we did not have to install back-up software/hardware on the Revit Server hardware. This also reduces the amount of time RS is locked versus the time it takes to write to a tape. As the amount of data grows, it is possible one would need to look at a rolling copy/back-up operation of RS so that the entire thing is not locked for an extended period. Furthermore, disk to disk would be faster so you could copy to another disk location on the same hardware then back-up from there in some way.

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    Default Re: Linked files in a central file living in Revit Server

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these points. I would have to agree with them. Hopefully a more elegant solution will come about with the next release of RS - until then, I plan to make this happen.
    Steve Bennett |BIM Manager
    Taylor Design | Adventures in BIM

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    Default Re: Linked files in a central file living in Revit Server

    So thinking out loud again, if you have revit or dwg files linked into your revit model and they don't live in revit server, what does that do to file open/save times? I might be able to answer my own question in about a week once we get hardware in place...
    Steve Bennett |BIM Manager
    Taylor Design | Adventures in BIM

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    Default Re: Linked files in a central file living in Revit Server

    Since the linked files won't be modified as frequently or the same way as the file on RS, I am comfortable with the open/save times. We have Riverbed devices in all our studios so all traffic will be optimized anyways, the RS will just eliminate the SWC traffic going through the Riverbed. That traffic will go through as communication between the servers instead.

    Our IT department will backup the RS files on the existing schedule, during the evening. There haven't been any issues with the backups yet so I don't expect there will be any moving forward.

    We are still waiting for the hardware before we can begin a test across multiple studios.
    Bruce McCallum
    Principal

    Next Architecture
    www.nextarchitecture.ca

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    All AUGI, all the time robert.manna's Avatar
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    Default Re: Linked files in a central file living in Revit Server

    Open times could be impacted by linked files that are not in Revit Server. Keep in mind, Revit Server is not suddenly going to make your WAN faster. TCP/IP certainly improves data transfer over MFTP, particularly over high latency connections, however it is not a miracle worker either. Our active project relies on a "Central" file server for non Revit Server data, our offices are also all connected with Riverbed devices for WAN traffic optimization. An alternate to WAN optimization would some type of file caching solution that keeps hot files in multiple offices combined with DFS pathing so the path "looks" the same in all offices even though users are pointed to different physical devices. File caching brings with its own problems when its is a "broad" solution.

    There was another thread that made mention a firm had decided to invest in Globalscape's WAFS solution in lieu of Revit Server. I suspect this decision was partially made because they wanted to support more file types then just Revit Central Files. Revit Server is a file caching solution, the advantage it has is it is only for Revit files, so it handles them really well. Broad based cache solutions have to be handle multiple file types from multiple programs all of which operate a little bit differently.

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    Default Re: Linked files in a central file living in Revit Server

    One suggestion to avoid opening linked files across the WAN is to have the linked DWGs in each office LAN. Then, each office has a "proxy drive." Each office uses the DOS subst command to map their office folder to the "proxy drive." Link the DWGs from the "proxy drive." From Revit's standpoint, the links are identical. In reality they point to each office's physical folder location.

    e.g. Office A stores DWGs in M:\project\linkedFiles\
    Office B stores DWGs in L:\myOffice\myProject\DWGs\

    both offices use the subst command to remap those folders above to x:\DWGlinks\

    Revit sees the links from the x: drive, eventhough Office A is in the M: drive, and Office B is in the L: drive. Of course, this requires that the offices manually synchronize the DWGs, or use Windows folder replication.

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    Question Re: Linked files in a central file living in Revit Server

    [QUOTE=robert.manna;1109317]our offices are also all connected with Riverbed devices for WAN traffic optimization. QUOTE]

    Do you recommend using Riverbed having RS in place; is it a must in you opinion or it makes life way easier?
    Also, what's the default Space one should have first starting out RS (a TB or build an array as needed by a TB at a time)?
    Is it possible to set up an arraay & dedicate a Drive per Office?

    I'm trying to have IT build a server for me.

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    All AUGI, all the time robert.manna's Avatar
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    Default Re: Linked files in a central file living in Revit Server

    Regarding Riverbeds. WAN optimization is all about allowing you to stuff more data in the pipe then the pipe is designed to hold. The devices will not allieviate poor WAN connections in the first place. If you have a WAN that has high latency then nothing is going to help, unless the high latency is due to the WAN being saturated with data 100% of the time. That said on a WAN that is not 100% saturated and has reasonable latency times (under 100ms, preferably below 50) then Riverbed's will help some certainly, but I would not consider them 100% necessary. If on the other hand your WAN is close to being fully saturated I would consider WAN optimization to help improve traffic flow.

    Regarding harddrive space. Outside of "Mega" projects I would hazard a guess that most Revit projects are on average 175mb (maybe I'm crazy, but I know what our typical file sizes are). I'm assuming I'm correct, then one terabyte is going to be big enough to hold 5000 projects (@ 175mb a piece), that is allowing for some of the data growth you see in Revit Server for the permissions data (not model data). Even assuming each Revit model is a gigabyte, you still have room for 1000 models/projects. So unless you work for the biggest AEC firm in the world I don't think you need to worry about drive space, particularly if it is a dedicated RS box.

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