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    Revit Server, BIM9, Citrix...

    I just had some questions about peoples experiences with these different methods to get a feel for where our firm should be headed.

    Here is an overview of what our firm is comprised of and what we are looking at getting out of these different softwares:
    • We have 3 different office locations, currently one office copies our main office's content to their server weekly. This does create a lag in having the most current content. We occasional work on projects together, and at that point we utilize Citrix, but I am not really pleased with how all that works. It just seems to be too segregate for a firm that is together.
    • I would like to have the ability to work with other firms, we have a project going right now that there are to structural engineers and they are wanting 1 structural set. Not working in the same model makes this a nightmare to keep track of, which I why we started looking and BIM9
    • We also like the ability of BIM9 to be utilized on mobile devices which would be great for when we are in the field.
    • We do have a vpn client that works with iPad and Android ICS and above, but I don't like the idea of VPNing, but perhaps BIM9 is essentially the same thing.


    What are everyone's experiences with this?

    Thanks,
    Grant

    #2
    I'd suggest looking into Revit Server 2013--but it means everyone (all consultants) must also use Revit 2013. Looks like RS 2013 is much improved over 2012.

    The biggest thing here is to get on top of the IT--fast internet, physical and/or VM Servers at each location. The outside consultants must buy in as well.
    It can be done with RS--note that security is a bit of a problem, as you still cannot manage folder permissions in RS. The advantage is that the RS software is "free".

    Not sure about BIM9 or Citrix.
    Cliff B. Collins
    Registered Architect
    The Lamar Johnson Collaborative Architects, St. Louis, MO
    Autodesk Expert Elite

    Comment


      #3
      Sounds like you have two different needs you want to address: Infrastructure syncing, and work collaboration.

      None of the three solutions mentioned help with the infrastructure (the content syncing and pathing). For that your options are pretty limited to either: DFS, and having the content appearing to live int he same "place," or having a sync service set up. technically, you have a third option which is a program like Vault, that manages all of your content in the cloud. Personally, we go with option 2, because we dont currently have DFS set up. So i have a DAL network, an ATL, a TAM, a DEN, an AUS. The pathing after that to each library is identical, and a sync service searches for changes nightly. Yes, there is a lag, by a max of 8 hours. But considering only 2 of us can edit the lbirary, its not a huge deal. And since- over the WAN- we can all open the other offices directories, if someone needs something sooner, and i ve built it on DAL, i just copy it to their network in advance. The sync is one way out of the central office, for us.

      For collaborating.... If you want to *manage* security for outside consultants, its some pretty big bucks. Something like Clarity does it, for right now native Revit Server doesnt. But Cliff is spot on, you CAN collab with other consultants with just native Revit Server, as long as you dont mind giving them access to your network. Were doing it now on a large project, with another firm across the country. And if you DONT trust them... well, they probably shouldnt be in your model. IMVHO, the training and implementation concerns far outweight the security concerns, in this concept.

      Remote service is what it is... Its still two devices, wheter they are thin clients or mobile devices or (insert fancy new catchy toy from apple here). Its great when you have access, less great (failboat) when you dont. Im not anti-cloud services, i am anti-poorly-implemented-cloud-services. Not saying any of the aforementioned are poorly done, but it would take a pretty bangin cloud setup before id consider moving software off robust local hardware.
      Aaron "selfish AND petulant" Maller |P A R A L L A X T E A M | Practice Technology Implementation
      @Web | @Twitter | @LinkedIn | @Email

      Comment


        #4
        So for RS I am able to link my three offices together for running day to day operations in Revit for Worksharing projects, and then when I have a project where I am working with another client then we can have them gain access to our RS for the duration of our project, and then kick them back out after the project is over, and none of this affects the day to day operations running for my 3 offices?

        Comment


          #5
          Ok, so another thing with RS. From the video on the wiki site it say that RS is a WAN solution. So does my firm also need to set up a way through something like Riverbed?

          Comment


            #6
            Out of the box, Revit Server includes nothing that will let people outside your domain (clients, consultants) work on RS with you. It can be done, but its not intended behavior, and its not supported.

            Your offices need to be on a WAN (can you access their files from your location?) I dont believe you need WAN accelerators, but i think they help.
            Aaron "selfish AND petulant" Maller |P A R A L L A X T E A M | Practice Technology Implementation
            @Web | @Twitter | @LinkedIn | @Email

            Comment


              #7
              Things like Riverbed really excel for offices that don't use Revit. The nature of Revit is little bits of data all the time + large chunks at regular intervals. Riverbed is great for little bits, but only when those little bits aren't being constantly accessed at multiple locations at once. The way Revit uses little bit + large chunks dose not lend its self well to how Revit functions. Revit's little bits are temporary data (not an actual file) and its large chunks are constantly being accessed and updated in portions, Riverbed doesn't see it this way. You will get a performance boost by the Riverbeds but not nearly enough as much as they can do with something like Word documents.

              Bottom line. Get a big internet pipe and you solve almost all the problems.
              -Alex Cunningham

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Alex Cunningham View Post
                ...Things like Riverbed really excel for offices that don't use Revit...
                This is not entirely accurate. They will enhance the WAN experience for files including Revit projects. Before the variety of options available now existed, a Riverbed appliance, dialed in, was about the only way to make inter-office Revit collaboration viable. In 2006, I sat in an office separated from their home office by 1800 miles and tested syncing with and without Riverbed equipment. With doable, without...not so much. In fact with them the sync was almost always nearly as good as in the same office.

                There are many factors that will contribute to success or failure, such as ignoring the "pipe" in/out or wiring and routers etc. RS provides more Revit "savvy" or robust awareness of permissions between central and local data. You have to address the computer network, optimize it first. Then decide how to deploy your projects and share them with consultants. A typical WAN seems fine to IT until they try putting Revit into the mix.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Steve_Stafford View Post
                  This is not entirely accurate. They will enhance the WAN experience for files including Revit projects. Before the variety of options available now existed, a Riverbed appliance, dialed in, was about the only way to make inter-office Revit collaboration viable. In 2006, I sat in an office separated from their home office by 1800 miles and tested syncing with and without Riverbed equipment. With doable, without...not so much. In fact with them the sync was almost always nearly as good as in the same office.

                  There are many factors that will contribute to success or failure, such as ignoring the "pipe" in/out or wiring and routers etc. RS provides more Revit "savvy" or robust awareness of permissions between central and local data. You have to address the computer network, optimize it first. Then decide how to deploy your projects and share them with consultants. A typical WAN seems fine to IT until they try putting Revit into the mix.
                  But can you agree that bigger pipes is a better way to go? The tech behind Riverbeds does help connecting of offices. It will make things quicker. No argument there, however Riverbeds will not function as advertised with Revit files (unless you know something I don't). I also did my testing in the 2006 era and we had a T1 line, it was pathetic and painful. I guess it comes down to what is the more cost effective way to connect office. Bigger more expensive pipe vs. Riverbeds. I know there is more variables then just cost... but who doesn't want 100MB/s pipes am I right.

                  Take note that Autodesk only support Citrix as a virtual environment... That can easily be a deal breaker.

                  My vote is for the "cloud", either private or hosted + robust internet connections. That's just my option though.
                  -Alex Cunningham

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Big pipes will always help but they don't come cheap either.

                    Of course you know it's rarely a simple answer, one thing fixes everything. More often its a combination of factors. I've been shocked at how well Riverbeds have worked in one office and seen little or no difference in another. In one case it was that the technology had not been "dialed" in well by a contractor. A visit by another tech and major improvement. In another case...no improvement no matter what was done at the appliance level alone. I've seen an office that had "new" wiring that wasn't really what they paid for. They took the contractor at their word and only when everything else had been explored did they take another look at the wire and terminations.

                    I was looking at the statement with a microscope regarding Riverbeds not really making a difference for Revit. Long before RS I've seen it help a lot! So disregard my hyper focus on that alone...we agree.

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