Author Topic: Remote Office VPN  (Read 772 times)

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Jeff H

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Remote Office VPN
« on: August 04, 2021, 02:18:22 PM »
What do you guys use so people can work on AutoCAD files from two separate offices?
Will we have problems using  Revit worksets using VPN from server to revote office?


Lonnie

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Re: Remote Office VPN
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2021, 03:20:51 PM »
I will be interested in what others have to say
I am the technical liaison to IT and we've been over this a lot.

Assuming it's an office and not a single user that you want to share a central with.
We use a DFS server. While not officially supported by Autodesk it works well for AutoCAD if you use (setvar "XLOADCTL" 2). Revit has been pretty solid but a bit more problematical at times. When in crunch time we've confused the server and end up with the project in the conflict and deleted folder. This does not happen often but it can.

I have also done the BIM route for both Revit and AutoCAD using desktop connector for AutoCAD.
If you like we can talk a bit about the Revit server. It's was built to do this but personally I don't think it's a real good answer.

We are now over 200 engineers running in 7 offices. We seem to assign people to project without regard to where they are located so we do this a lot.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2021, 04:10:47 PM by Lonnie »

John Kaul (Se7en)

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Re: Remote Office VPN
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2021, 03:26:47 PM »
We've been trying out "Dropbox" (-i.e. not necessarily specifically "Dropbox" but any old cloud will do; "sharefile", "dropbox", "nextcloud", "onedrive" etc.) for a while now and it's working out fairly well. A few issues but typically we have only one person working on a task at a time (everyone is just too busy to be mulling around). When we do share a model among several people we have to coordinate sync times but overall it (the duct tape solution) is working really well. In the decentralized spirit of methods I really liked the "Syncthing" method we tried out a while back. Syncthing isn't a cloud, its a Peer-2-Peer thing, that gave us more security (and I could manually control what was and what wasn't sync'd). We do this because VPN is so slow and with the cloud setup we sync files amongst ourselves almost as fast as if we were on the same network. At worst there is a few seconds lag between me and someone across the country.

The problem with Revit and a cloud or P2P solution (and your problem too) is the *.dat files revit needs to sync ("wperms", "eperms", etc). The wperms and eperms.dat files are the workset and element files which tells your revit what is and what isn't locked (revit pings and saves these files every second or so).

You shouldn't necessarily have a problem with worksets and VPN but honestly you need to kill the use of worksets in your projects and rely on filters and visibility graphics (view templates). Worksets really are not needed in your models (unless you're dumb enough to have every discipline--a,s,m,p,e,c...--in one model) and are a really misunderstood aspect of Revit. Worksets are not a "AutoCAD Layer thing" -e.g. they are a method to turn off an entire discipline in a multi discipline shared model (just a vague example). ...If you're a boss (decision maker) I can give you the direction you want to tell your people to go down otherwise we can talk specifics if your up for it.

AutoCAD is a different beast; sheetsets are a royal pain the ass with any solution (other then VPN)!
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tedg

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Re: Remote Office VPN
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2021, 04:26:55 PM »
We use Dropbox, for Acad and other support files, and BIM360 for Revit.



SSM (sheet set manager) doesn't play well with Dropbox, so we need to request/announce when we're going into SSM to avoid conflicted copies.
(only one person at a time can be in the SSM in dropbox or it creates conflicted copies)
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Greg B

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Re: Remote Office VPN
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2021, 08:52:20 AM »
Not AutoCAD related or really any CAD, but we have RemotePC and I set up user accounts for people that are working from home.  They remote into their own machines in the office and just control it through the app.  As a Non Profit, we do ask the people to use their own computers at home.

We have recently upgraded to a new server at our datacenter as well as adding CentreStack.  This program acts like dropbox or onedrive.  It syncs with the company file server and allows users to access files through a web portal (they can install software on their computers to create a mapped drive as well).

BlackBox

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Re: Remote Office VPN
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2021, 03:02:25 PM »
We work remotely from home, or like the owner who's now out of State at his cabin for a couple of weeks, using RDP/RD Web through our RDSH (fka Terminal Server).

This makes it easy for anyone to work wherever they are, and they're remoting directly into their physical workstation so they're not relegated to their home computer's system resources/performance for Civil 3D (we don't use Revit, but since it's just like sitting at your office desk, shouldn't be an issue?), which also minimizes how many licenses we need, and because they're basically streaming pixels it's low overhead on the network & still fast on their end when at a far distance from the physical office... Besides, this also makes it easy for us to cut anyone off at any time, if/when there is a change in staff.

All of this is built-into Windows Server, so as long as your server sits behind a security appliance, etc the only thing you'll possibly need to pay for are CALs (if you didn't already have them).
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ronjonp

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Re: Remote Office VPN
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2021, 03:38:13 PM »
VPN here through Unifi Gateway. It's worked pretty well for us, but we're a small company of only 8 employees (  5 of which work remote regularly ).

Has anyone tried Google File Stream? Supposedly it's like Google Drive Sync but you don't have to cache all the data on the network.

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MickD

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Re: Remote Office VPN
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2021, 07:54:36 PM »
What do you guys use so people can work on AutoCAD files from two separate offices?
Will we have problems using  Revit worksets using VPN from server to revote office?

When I was working for a large engineering office we did a lot of work for BlueScope Steel (used to be BHP) and they had a good system*  in that we had to 'check out' drawings to do changes or any work on them. This allowed us to download a drawing or drawing package and work on them locally to do the changes etc. Once checked out there was only read-only access to the files and they were marked as 'WIP' or similar to inform the user they were checked out for changes.
Once the job was done and everything signed off you 'checked in' the drawing/s to the main repo.

For this office we had our own local server with backups etc but this could be done at home with a personal cloud repo to keep backups just in case.

The point is, having a VPN for use as a repo/server is ok but it won't guarantee who's working on what when etc.
Is Autodesk Vault still a thing? Maybe that is a possible solution?


*In theory at least, it was Citrix and the UI/UX was terrible!
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Lonnie

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Re: Remote Office VPN
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2021, 10:42:08 AM »

The point is, having a VPN for use as a repo/server is ok but it won't guarantee who's working on what when etc.
Is Autodesk Vault still a thing? Maybe that is a possible solution?

*In theory at least, it was Citrix and the UI/UX was terrible!

Vault is still a thing but it's really on the expensive side. (For this sort of thing.)  It's now sql I believe and blobs the files. (http://www.theswamp.org/index.php?topic=56913.0;topicseen). Bently's Projectwise is likewise a thing. Once again expensive. If all your doing is a checkout system there are several out there at decent prices. Sharepoint (yuck yuck patooeee) comes to mind if you. 

What are you trying to do? I was under the impression you were trying to work as a single office running the files from a central location. This too is possible with a little pain. 


John Kaul (Se7en)

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Re: Remote Office VPN
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2021, 11:08:12 AM »
Instead of Vault you can use any old Version Control system (Fossil would be a good choice).

Here was an initial concept thread I created a while ago.
https://www.theswamp.org/index.php?topic=47004.0
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jonesy

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Re: Remote Office VPN
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2021, 11:23:50 AM »
We remote into our own PCs here using something called forticlient. It enables all the Revit users to work just as they are in the office. Nobody has complained of slowdown, but I have experience the odd time the connection drops, but its never caused any issues.
Thanks for explaining the word "many" to me, it means a lot.

Jeff H

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Re: Remote Office VPN
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2021, 04:19:34 PM »
Thanks everyone, now need to go google ton of acronyms see what everyone was talking about.

John,
We just do electrical and try not to use worksets for visibility but sometimes have someone doing power and another doing lighting at same time, but I guess we could separate those into different models, but that might not work well for panel schedules, would have to test first.