What other options have you seen for a Cloud based PDM solution for SolidWorks?
Nope. I'm not sure what the settled price for this service ended up being, but last I heard it was far, far, more than would be competitive.
For things we need to send to clients/vendors, we simply use our own server space in FTP or HTTP protocol, with each project behind its own password-protected directory. Works just fine, but this is more for transfer of files than live operation/usage of files on the "cloud".
TeamPlatform is a newcomer supporting native SolidWorks parts and assemblies.
Everything is online and it's best for working with people in other buildings.
Metadata / custom-fields are viewable, sortable, and there's a powerful search. Parts & Assemblies can be rotated/viewed online (WebGL), no plugins or installs, just the browser. Any browser can be used to login, access a project and view/comment on non-3D files. Chrome or Firefox is needed for 3D.
Assembly trees can be navigated, so you can pack an assembly into a password protected web-page, which is a lot more flexible and fast than a shared drive. Setting up a new project workspace for clients and vendors takes literally seconds.
Paid accounts get you branding and extra storage, otherwise everything is free with the same level of security across the board.
If you get a chance to check it out, it would be great to hear what you think.
Still looking for a hosted PDM solution? WE are doing this sucessfully. Download the link to review an infographic of our solution.
Not knowing all of the technical requirements you are trying to solve;
Realizing the need for EPDM and the cloud, we formed a company (http://www.Stratus-X.com). Richie Yosten and I have been close partners for over 5 years, we have worked together on several EPDM implementations. TDA (http://www.tdaviation.com/) was one of the first companies that I know of that implemented EPDM in a Cloud environment I am very proud and happy to say the Richie and I were the architects in the implementation. We implemented EPDM over 5 years ago at TDA in a Cloud Environment. We have 5 years of hosting experience that I do not believe you can find with anyone else.
We will have a demo vault up and running very soon. Additionally we will have a Web interface available (not the EPDM Web Client that ships with EPDM).
Richie or myself would be happy to discuss your needs and what options you have as for EPDM, CAD, and the Cloud. Please feel free to call us anytime. 214.552.5919 | email@example.com | http://www.Stratus-X.com
sound interesting. I have a couple of questions:
- you are speaking about EPDM in a cloud environment, what does it means exactly? Is only the database on the cloud or also the SolidWorks files? is it possible to manage an hybrid way, where database is on the cloud and files on a local filesystem/network?
- I'm interested in a cloud solution because I work as CAD manager for a company with six main branches across the world (from Europe to India to China ...) where direct connection trough VPN is very low ... I think a cloud solution could increase connection performances ...
- we also need ERP integration to different ERP system (from SAP to Kingdee, to local softwares) ... is it possible to manage ERP integration (part number and BOM) from the cloud?
Actually we don't have EPDM but a different PDM implemented only in Italy and India with a SQL replication.
Thanks in advance,
I will keep my answers brief as I think this should evolve into a conversation.
1. We consistently host both...SQL and Archive. Hosting the SQL server is really the only way to go. It drives system perform since that is where most system interaction happens. We typically (always) host an archive server on the host as well. This helps us provide enterprise backup services. However the biggest up side is being able to securely access your environment remotely thru Wi-Fi and even 3g and 4g connections. Think Field service, and collaboration with vendors/supliers
2. You are correct... having the solution in a hosted environment really ratchets up performance. We have clients with connections in Israel, Germany, and China to name a few.
3. The simple answer is yes... there is nothing about using a hosted solution that would prevent you from integrating. In fact many of those are going hosted in the future and the opportunities would be even greater.
I look forward to more questions. I am sure there are many.
CTO - Epigrid
I will respond in RED
A cloud environment in this case simply means a server (physical or virtual) hosted outside of company walls. The term “cloud environment” can mean many things…in this case it’s simply a hosted server. We recommend a hosting setup that would contain your database and archive so that you can replicate and backup to a central location from each branch. Plus, users who typically travel can connect directly to this server via a vpn client at a datacenter that will likely have a better internet connection than most branch offices.
The structure of EPDM is that there is a Database, Archive, and Client. The Database and Archive reside on the Server, it can be the same server or separate, and those servers can reside anywhere. Additionally there can be multiple replicated Archive Servers on location if needed.
The Client is installed locally on the desktop and when files are Opened, Viewed or Checked Out the files are "Cached" locally on the users computer. This means that the client is always working on files stored locally in the computer. This increases the performance, especially with applications like SolidWorks, AutoCAD, Word, Excel, etc. EPDM Manages the local Cache to inform the user if the local version is the latest or not.
With a hosted solution I would assume you would see an improvement in speeds to and from EPDM since you do not connect branch to branch. You would connect the host network to each branch and wouldn’t have to depend on any one branch’s internet connection for all users.
This deserves greater discussion that we will not try and cover all of it here.
Once a connection is made between the host and your branches the rest is just the actual application to application integration should be the same as a local setup.
Integration with an ERP/MRP is possible in many ways, as long as the system has an architecture that allows it, an exchange of data can be configured.
Note that EPDM doesn’t replicate the SQL Databse. Only the archive files (SolidWorks, MS Office, etc) are replicated. There is only one database in an EPDM installation. This is why the database being centrally hosted in this type of cloud environment makes the most sense. All users will be connecting to the same database.
Hopefully this opens a conversation and that if you would like to discuss this in more detail, please let us know.
Kip Speck | Director of Technology
Stratus-X | http://www.stratus-x.com
thanks for your answers.
The reason why I'm considering a cloud solution is because it's probably the best compromise between costs (of implementation and maintenance) and performances. Let me explain: I think that the solution we are using with our Indian branch is the most reliable and efficient considering actual internet connection quality. We have a main SQL database in Italy (the publisher) and a SQL subscriber on Indian server. The archive (the Solidworks files) is partially replicated and always available on demand in both directions. This let us operate in any conditions, also if VPN connection between the companies is down (and believe me, this happens frequently). The SQL sync process aligns the database as soon as the connection is available. Consider that in our Indian branch we actually have a 4Mbps internet connection that serves a 300 people factory (about 25% using computer and internet services, 10 people in tech office using SolidWorks and the PDM) ... this means that sometime merge database process can have from 30 seconds to 10 minutes delay on few data transaction... this is painful ... this is the reason why we can't consider to host in the cloud the files archive ...
Well now consider we should replicate this synchronization method with other 4 branches (korea, china, usa and brasil) ... the architecture of the system becomes a lot complicated, costly and complex as maintenance ...
Last but not least, we would like to introduce ERP connectors (as I told you 6 different ERP!) to manage part numbers and eBOM directly from the PDM, this means that PDM should be able to distribute in real time new part numbers and new/modified BOM to the owner ERP system.
I know it's a huge project, but I would like to explore every possibilities before to propose the project to my management.
Thanks in advance for any additional consideration/suggestion.
Can I ask what PDM and ERP system you are currently using?
For definition purposes:
The architecture of EPDM is such that there is only one Database and there can be as many Archive servers as required. The Archive servers are where EPDM stores the files, in a non user friendly structure. The Users access EPDM through Windows Explorer, just like any other folder on their local drive.
In a Hosted Environment:
The Database is on the hosted server, and the goal is to have one Archive server. If there are connection and or speed issues, we can still put an Archive server in that location and setup Scheduled and On Demand Replication. Then the connection speed requirements from that location to the Hosted Database are much less because you are only sending pure data, not files.
If replication is required:
The Replication architecture in EPDM is also such that when a client requests a file, EPDM will retrieve it from any of the locations available. EPDM also has Scheduled Replication as well as On Demand Replication.
Because EPDM has only one Database there is no Merge of Databases that needs to happen. Additionally the Database is up to date with the information at all times.
EPDM's ability to send and receive data from the ERP system will depend on your ERP architecture.
We would like to setup a Demo vault in our hosted environment for you at no cost, so that you can have each location test the speed and reliability. If you would like to do this, please let me know.
Kip Speck | Director of Technology | firstname.lastname@example.org
Another one that just got going in the last few months is GrabCAD Workbench. They have a free account you can play with. Seems pretty slick for sharing, but not sure about day to day work and versioning. I have not tested it much at this point.
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