PDM, SOLIDWORKS, 3D CAD

Archive Server Replication with PDM Professional

By Lisa Hughey on December 10, 2018

You're on a roll, focused and in the zone and then you click on an icon and nothing happens. So you sit and wait, and wait until finally, the dialog box pops on screen. But just like that, you lost your groove. We have good news for you... there is a way to end this stop and go waiting game in SOLIDWORKS PDM and we're going to share it with you!

Network Setup

If you have multiple sites that access a SOLIDWORKS PDM vault, you may find that the user experience in remote offices differs from the speed and responsiveness experienced with the vault in the main office. This is due to the network setup. The remote users are working over a wide area network (WAN), which spans the geographical locations. Here is a pictorial of what that setup looks like with multiple remote offices:

Multiple Remote Offices

The WAN includes a certain amount of latency, a delay in taking information to its destination and back again, that the local area network (LAN) does not inherently have. One way to address this challenge in a multi-site environment is with vault replication.

Vault Replication

Replication allows a local server to duplicate information from the main server for folks away from the main office. With a setup like this, users who have been working over the WAN can now communicate on the LAN for certain data in their vault. This results in faster performance and a better user experience. Below is a depiction of the replicated archive server setup. The red lines denote communication directly between the archive servers.

Replicated Archive Server Setup

SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional allows replication of the archive server, such that physical files are copied from the main server to the clients’ local server. Users see significant speed improvement with "Get" actions, as files are loaded to their local vault views. The biggest benefits are seen with larger file sets.

Scheduled & On-Demand Replication

This copy activity takes place on a schedule that the vault administrator sets, and it can include specific vault folders or the entire kit and caboodle. A common question is… “Well, what happens if something changes after the scheduled replication and I need the updated files right away?” I’m glad you asked. That’s where on-demand replication comes in. Users are not restricted to using only files on their local archive server. If their local files are outdated, then that status will be visible in the vault. They can simply perform a "Get" action and use the WAN to retrieve copies from the archive server with the latest version.

Important: If you have a replicated archive server, you are working with a local server to obtain drawings and other documents. However, your software will continue to communicate with the database server to present information in data cards, BOM and Where Used tabs, search results and check in/out dialogs. 

All information about the files, or “metadata,” resides in the vault database. Inasmuch, the archive server replication has a substantial but somewhat limited effect on the remote user experience.

If you have vault users at more than one site and think that archive server replication could boost performance for those distant clients, please send an e-mail 
support.pdm@trimech.com for additional info.

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