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Globalscape WAFS vs Revit server

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    Globalscape WAFS vs Revit server

    I'm in the process of starting a new Revit project with an MEP and structural consultant from remote locations. Revit server seems to be an obvious choice, but my structural engineer is pushing for Globalscape WAFS as he has done several successful projects with it. However, it's not free and therefore worthy of comparing both systems before spending the cash. In either case, has anyone have experiences with both systems?

    P.S. now I know why AUGI is so quite. Everyone is hanging out here.

    #2
    Well the real deal breaker for Revit Server compared with WAFS right now is that Revit Server will only work within a single Domain. You'd have to create a common domain for each member of the project team. Doing that so each office can work with Revit Server might cost as much as the agent software will cost (need one agent for each server/office involved) there is a purchase price and then a yearly subscription thereafter). That's assuming that each office doesn't have a server kicking around that they can use to join a single domain for the project? If your team isn't part of the same WAN/domain then WAFS is the option. That's assuming other options are out of the question, like Remote Desktop (internet based remote PC access) or something like Advance 2000 (cloud based software and data hosting) or the like.

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      #3
      We are currently using Revit Server with our 3 offices, St. Louis, Tulsa and Las Vegas. Each office has its own local domain and Win Server 2008 64 R2 Local Revit Server.

      We host our central files on the Central Server on the cloud at a datacenter. The Central Revit Server is not in a domain, just a workgroup.

      We have firewalls with VPN tunnels at each location set up in a hub/spoke arrangement. Revit Server works fine, even though we have 3 different local domains connected via the VPN tunnel/WAN.

      We looked at Globalscape prior to Revit Server coming out, and decided to wait and use RS. So far, so good. The good thing about RS is it ONLY deals with Revit files, and uses DNS/IP for connections.
      Cliff B. Collins
      Registered Architect
      The Lamar Johnson Collaborative Architects, St. Louis, MO
      Autodesk Expert Elite

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        #4
        Originally posted by cliff collins View Post
        We are currently using Revit Server with our 3 offices, St. Louis, Tulsa and Las Vegas. Each office has its own local domain and Win Server 2008 64 R2 Local Revit Server.

        We host our central files on the Central Server on the cloud at a datacenter. The Central Revit Server is not in a domain, just a workgroup.

        We have firewalls with VPN tunnels at each location set up in a hub/spoke arrangement. Revit Server works fine, even though we have 3 different local domains connected via the VPN tunnel/WAN.

        We looked at Globalscape prior to Revit Server coming out, and decided to wait and use RS. So far, so good. The good thing about RS is it ONLY deals with Revit files, and uses DNS/IP for connections.
        Seems to me that this difference is that there is probably a trust established between your three domains. This will not always be possible with consultants.

        I talked with another consulting engineer yesterday who had also used GlobalScape in the past but they hadn't tested it with Revit yet. They were interested in our experience with Revit Server between our studios.

        We are connected with an MPLS and Riverbed devices but didn't see real performance until we deployed Revit Server.
        Bruce McCallum
        Principal
        Next Architecture

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          #5
          We tested GlobalScape WAFS across some of our offices (which are each in their own domain) and it failed completely. Our biggest need for this type of solution was with our healthcare projects which start at a file size of 400 MB. WAFS could not handle projects of that size. We worked with GlobalScape to get it fixed but they couldn't. Perhaps something has changed in the last few months with GlobalScape, but for us it is moot since Revit Server seems to be working so far. So if your file sizes are significantly large, be careful of WAFS.
          Steven Register
          RTKL Associates Inc.

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            #6
            Originally posted by cliff collins View Post
            The Central Revit Server is not in a domain, just a workgroup.

            We have firewalls with VPN tunnels at each location set up in a hub/spoke arrangement. Revit Server works fine, even though we have 3 different local domains connected via the VPN tunnel/WAN.
            Cliff,
            We are just starting to test a much smaller, but similar arrangement. Could you please confirm that your three domains are truly separate domains, without being part of the same organization/forest or having trust relationships set up?
            Thanks in Advance.

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              #7
              The 3 offices have their own local domains. The Central Server is in the cloud ata a data center and is not in a local domain.

              The Firewall/VPN tunnels provide connectivity over the internet. No MPLS WAN. That is how I understand our setup.
              Cliff B. Collins
              Registered Architect
              The Lamar Johnson Collaborative Architects, St. Louis, MO
              Autodesk Expert Elite

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                #8
                Just to share some first-hand experience (for what it's worth)...

                We've been using GlobalSCAPE WAFS for over a year now and our experience has been less than stellar. I will admit, the simplicity is the strongest selling point... simple HTTP encapsulation which requires no special network changes to allow disjointed networks to share the same files in near real-time makes for easy collaboration with other firms.

                With Revit, however, we've had a number of problems with locked files, sometimes with only one user at one end using a model. The reason this happens is even though only one user is in the model, WAFS still replicates the data to the remote sites. Also, it is important to note that the software itself has throughput limitations (and no, they don't share that information with prospective buyers). Typically, and regardless of how awesome your server hardware may be, you're not going to utilize more than 5-8Mb/s of your internet connection with WAFS. The software simply can't keep up. I am told that this will be addressed to some degree in the forthcoming major update to the software.

                Another plus for WAFS is its usefulness for more than just replicating Revit models. You can essentially store all project data together (documents, schedules, etc) without a problem. The downside of this is the way in which Revit stores UNC paths to files... you have to use the subst command (as opposed to mapping a drive) to make sure all ends of the WAFS network are accessing the same location. The subst command keeps Revit from storing the UNC path (\\servername\path\).

                Now, for Revit Server, there are equal pros and cons. First, Revit Server is for replicating models only. You would still need some other method for sharing non-model files (Autodesk suggests using Bluestreak). So far, however, using Revit has been a dream with Revit Server compared to WAFS.

                As for how you can set up a Revit Server implementation with disjointed networks (different domains), you won't have a problem. As long as there is a VPN connection between the locations (even simple router-based VPN), the servers will talk to each other without any special permission considerations... no trusts, no shared accounts, nothing.

                I'd be happy to answer any specific connectivity questions if it will help.
                Network Administrator
                Dallas, Texas

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