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Thread: Revit Work Sharing - Small Office

  1. #1
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    Default Revit Work Sharing - Small Office

    I have just started in a small architectural office (4 employees) who have been using both AutoCAD and REVIT as a single users (no worksharing) to date. Currently the office uses dropbox to host all of their files including dwg. rvt. skp. as well as miscellaneous office/admin files. We generally use WIFI to connect to the internet/cloud. This works great now but we have been told this is not a solution for REVIT worksharing and that a dedicated server or C4R is the right thing to do.

    I am an industry veteran, however I have worked for larger practices with full time IT and networking support personnel, although I am proficient on most industry software applications, I have never had to deal with the back-end hardware/networking items. That said I have been asked to look into what hardware will be required to enable REVIT work sharing taking into consideration: we may be a maximum of 10 people in the future; Cost of hardware and equipment should be a consideration (however we want to do the right thing); and Collaboration for REVIT might not make sense for us initially given the ongoing subscription cost and our limited use for all of its features.

    Our firm is now growing (likely to 10 people over the next 5-10 years) and I am pushing for REVIT to be used exclusively as our preferred design software, it is inevitable that we will require work sharing capabilities in the near term. Based on the above I have a couple questions I would love feedback on:

    1. I have been told that using a PC to act as a server may be an option initially. Pardon my naivety, is this an option? we want to do the right thing without buying too much or having too much redundancy. If this is not an option, then what is a recommendation/specification for a dedicated server to host REVIT files for small offices? keep in mind we will likely continue to use dropbox for all of our other digital file storage/hosting.

    2. I have heard that a WIFI connection is not adequate for a work sharing situation. could someone comment on this and verify this is in fact true?

    3. Although we have almost eliminated Collaboration for REVIT as and option (for now), I am interested in the argument for it? considering our office is 4 people now and will be up to 10 in the medium term. Generally the ongoing cost (relative to the other option) and the lack of a need for all of its features are the reasons we have chosen not to pursue it.

    4. Because our office has been setup on Dropbox for business which gives us the flexibility to access all of our files remotely, we would like to continue to use this hosting service. Any recommendations for protocols on uploading rvt. central files to the cloud should we end up purchasing a stand alone REVIT server? is it necessary? should it be done daily? can we set-up an automatic upload for our REVIT server to dropbox? or will it need to be done manually and per project? any suggestions/comments are appreciated.

    Regards and all the best in 2019!

  2. #2
    BIM/VDC Management Brian Myers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Revit Work Sharing - Small Office

    Hello Kent, let me answer your questions.

    1. While I do not have the specs for a dedicated server in front of me, almost any computer can serve as a server. Of course, it could be used for almost anything from file storage to networking to office email. At this point you need to answer the question "Why do I want and need a server"?

    2. I've used Wifi for worksharing. That being stated, the more you use Revit the more you might want to reconsider that option... particularly for larger projects.

    3. My own firm uses A360 and the newer BIM 360 environments. C4R is fine, particularly if you plan to have multiple people working in the same file at the same time. That's something that reasonably will go to h#$% in a hurry using Dropbox for storage. Mentioning Dropbox, if you setup a decent router you can have an office file sharing network setup without a server. Essentially, anyone plugged into the router could access a hard drive plugged into the router and just keep the files on it. That means you don't need to use Dropbox anymore unless it becomes your backup solution. Technically, you could then map to that drive from one of your office PC's and have Dropbox back that drive up allowing remote access. It's STILL not recommended for Revit, but it can be done.

    4. See #3.

    In reality.... I would recommend having a consultant come in and talk to you about your hardware options and office workflows. I realize budgets are likely tight, but you need to form a long term strategy that includes today's networking capabilities, design software, and long term growth strategy. Then budget for this growth and change a little bit at a time to gradually strengthen and grow your infrastructure. I LOVE Dropbox. I've used it for nearly 7 years. But it will not be able to support what you want to do in the long term.
    Last edited by Brian Myers; 2019-01-20 at 10:04 PM.
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