31 Replies Latest reply on Feb 24, 2015 9:26 AM by Philip Lane

    Managing Versions of Revisions

    Braden MacDonald

      Hello Community,

       

      I am an intern working with SolidWorks EPDM 2013 for the first time, just for reference.

       

      I have a situation where we will be migrating data from our current solidworks server to a new server, but our engineers have several versions of revisions that is taking up enourmous amounts of space. We want to figure out how to automatically reduce our outdated versions by using EPDM to keep all the revisions, keep a select amount of versions, and delete the rest of the versions. Has anyone ever heard of this or know how to do this? Thank you in advance!

        • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
          Jeremy Feist

          I believe you will want to look at the "cold storage" options for the vault, or I should say, have the admin look at them. we have set them here to keep everything with an EPDM rev flag + the last 10 versions in the active file database. everything else gets archived.

            • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
              Braden MacDonald

              Thanks for your fast reply! I will look into that and report back if I find anything else!

                • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                  Bill Stadler

                  I am not sure Cold Storage is going to get you what you are looking for but I have not looked at cold storage in a long time.

                   

                  We have had this conversation with SolidWorks and our VAR many times.  The issue they keep coming back to is if you wipe out versions that are being referenced by other files those other files will be broken?  We us "Always use latest version" so that would not really be an issue for us.

                   

                  We were thinking about taking some of our larger assemblies (5 to 15 thousand components) that have 20 to 100+ versions, copying them out to a local drive, deleted them from EPDM, and copy them back in so they start out at version 2.  Of course we would have to increment the revision to what ever was at.  Not sure if this woudl mess anything else up though.  Doing this would not only reduce the amount of files on the archive server but is should reduce the amount of entries in the database as well.  Where as Cold Storage would still keep the info in the database.

                   

                  I have not done so yet but I have it on my list to add an enhancement to give be the option to wipe out versions in between Revisions and see where it goes.

                   

                  If someone from EPDM SolidWorks has any suggestions or recommendations it would be more than welcomed.

                   

                  Thanks,

                   

                  Bill

                    • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                      Braden MacDonald

                      Bill,

                       

                      I don't really understand cold storage schemas either. It would appear as though that would solve the problem, but im not confident enough to risk wiping out these engineer's drawings!

                       

                      I do have a question about "always use latest version." I read in another post that if you run with those settings that you can only access the latest version. Theres no way for an engineer to reach back for reference. Is that correct?

                       

                      I sure hope that we get that enhancement!

                       

                      Thanks,

                       

                      Braden

                        • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                          Jeremy Feist

                          through the history command, you can always view previous versions - as long as they are not in cold storage. this is why we excluded the versions with rev flags from cold storage, so we can always view them.

                           

                          and new in 2014, you can give specific users/groups access to get previous versions, but only through the SW EPDM add-in. even when the "always use latest" option is set.

                            • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                              Bill Stadler

                              You can also open up a previous version through the history but with use latest version set when you open a drawing or an assembly, if I recall correctly, it pulls the latest referenced files.

                               

                              I have not played around enough with the new setting that Jeremy mentions.  I plan on doing some testing in our support group first and if it proves out then adding some users in production as well.  My fear is, and it is a fear because I have not looked at it, yet, is that a user may be able to accidentally modify and older version and check it in.  We always want to work with the latest version.  I am sure this can be trained but when you have hundreds of user in multiple locations until they burn themselves a few times....

                               

                              I would like to see it work where you can open previous versions as "View Only" where you still have access to the feature and EPDM tree but you can not modify or save.

                                • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                  Brian McEwen

                                  That is certainly possible to Get an older version, change it and check it in as the newest version.  But the version they should have been using is still there.  And they would have to deliberately check-out (after moving it to a state than can be checked-out, so not Released or whatever you call it).

                                   

                                  Testing is good though. 

                            • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                              Brian McEwen

                              @Stadler  

                              """"""""

                              add an enhancement to give be the option to wipe out versions in between Revisions

                              """"""""

                              That is one of the options in Cold Storage. Most will select to keep Revisions, and then you can either archive the versions when you get too many, or simply delete them. 

                               

                              We delete them after 110, see image.

                               

                              coldstorage.JPG

                                • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                  Bill Stadler

                                  Thanks Brian!

                                   

                                  So what happens to files in the vault that are currnetly referencing version that are in or have been deleted from cold storage?

                                   

                                  Thanks for the info, it has prompted me to take a deep dive into cold storage.

                                    • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                      Brian McEwen

                                      Good question.  I would expect EPDM to maintain the file links. SolidWorks would be unaffected since it would look for files of the same name in the same places.

                                       

                                      But I didn't know for sure so I tried to test it - I set one of my sandbox vaults to only keep 8 versions (down from 100)...  And so far nothing has happened. The overall size of the vault has not changed, and I can still get version 1 of a file that has 15 versions, and for another that has 49 versions.  So not sure what is going on, it has been a few days and the Cold Storage scheme is set on "every hour, every day" (in my production vault I just run it once a week).  I thought I had cleared the local cache, but I just did it again (don't actually know if that affects it). 

                                       

                                      We are fairly new to EPDM so no files in our production vault have exceeded the 110 version limit.  

                                        • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                          Jason Clarke

                                          I may be imagining it but I remember being told that Cold Storage would not delete the only remaining copy of a file.

                                          I have never used it myself in this way, only using delete for cleaning replicated archives where I know another server has the data.

                                            • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                              Brian McEwen

                                              I think the question is more - what happens if assy A1 references version 2/15 of part P1, and cold storage deletes versions 1 to 8 of P1?  (P1 up to version 15 or whatever.) Is Assy A1 messed up then?  I think mates could be broken if there were signficant design changes [fixing those mates will be necessary next time it is used either way, unless you are just looking at old versions of the assembly]. Will it find new versions of P1 - still show in Contains/Where-Used? 

                                • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                  Braden MacDonald

                                  Here is what my boss told me this morning,

                                  Let’s make the database maintenance, i.e. purging old versions of files, priority.  It would be nice to not have to migrate a lot of extraneous stuff over to the new server on Monday.


                                   

                                  Based on what you all told me, this type of thing is not possible unless we move the files to cold storage and then manage them there. OR take them out of the vault completely, delete the old versions, and put the files back.

                                   

                                  I talked to someone last night who runs his own SolidWorks business and he seemed to suggest that the files really aren't that big, and that it really isn't worth fooling with. He also seemed to suggest that purging the old files can be dangerous.

                                   

                                  What do you all think?

                                   

                                  -Braden

                                    • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                      Brian McEwen

                                      Not worth the trouble. Storage space is cheap.

                                       

                                      Turn on cold storage, and let that change the number of versions gradually (I'm still working on demonstrating the effect in my test vault). For versions where you just changed meta-data, or changed states, they hardly take up any extra space (it does not make a whole copy of the file). 

                                       

                                      How many versions do you tend to have? How many files?  If you have a few biggies, that are no longer important enough to have lots of versions, you could deal with those manually.

                                       

                                      Going back to the orginal post  You want to: """""automatically reduce our outdated versions"""" -  Cold storage is meant to do this, let it do that job. 

                                        • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                          Braden MacDonald

                                          The number varies between projects. We have some files with 87-100 versions. Some with 50-60. Some less. I think the boss would like to get down closer to 10 or 15 versions.

                                           

                                          Okay, so here is the general synopsis of what I believe everyone is suggesting. (Again i'm only on day 10, bare with me!)

                                           

                                          Just move the files, they aren't really that big of a deal. Then once they are in the new server, turn on cold storage and let the files slowly go down.

                                           

                                          Now, when I go to work with the cold storage schema, based on the screenshot below.

                                          1. Name the schema
                                          2. Select the folder that the schema will work in
                                          3. Select delete archive files which would delete files from our archive server ENG4PC. Since my boss wants to get rid of them.
                                          4. In the "Number of version to keep per archive" select the number of versions he wants to keep.
                                          5. If I leave the "Never move versions with revisions to cold storage" then it leaves versions that were revised alone.
                                          6. Then on the right hand side we can decide the interval.

                                           

                                          Does that summarize it pretty well?

                                          2014-06-24_10-32-46.jpg

                                            • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                              Jason Clarke

                                              Braden,

                                               

                                              The "keep versions with Revisions" keeps versions where a new Revision (environment variable) is set. Versions will contain changes (in either content (Geometry, mates, references, etc) or properties) unless your content creators have not been using "undo-checkout" to release control when they have checked out files that did not need any changes.

                                               

                                              Bear in mind that if you use the "keep versions with Revisions" option,  you will not necessarilly keep the version that is in a "Released" state but the one in the state where the Revision is set as per your workflow, which may lead to confusion down the line.

                                               

                                              Personally I would never cold-store delete anything that I am not certain to have a copy of elsewhere. I would rather archive them off to a cheaper storagesolution where they can be retrieved if need be. The average cost per GB on a typical HDD is about $0.05. The cost of not having the right data can be in the millions (if lawsuits are involved).

                                                • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                                  Braden MacDonald

                                                  Okay, I see how that works.

                                                   

                                                  So maybe the better idea is to ARCHIVE the files rather than DELETE them. That way the files are out of the way, but they aren't gone. I mean, we're dealing with designs for equipment that pulls communications and high tension power lines. And I can just select where I want the files to go archive. 

                                                    • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                                      Jason Clarke

                                                      Correct, you could have someone map a network share on some cheap (&reliable) storage solution. Map a drive on your preferred archive server and have it cold-store Archive whatever data you want on to it.

                                                      You can then give certain users rights to restore from cold-storage so that they are still able to retrieve versions that have been cold-stored. Obviously this takes longer than a typical get since the files are not on any archive server.

                                                • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                                  Brian McEwen

                                                  FYI I heard from my VAR that there is a know issue with cold storage for 2014 service pack 2. So that is why my testing is not working.

                                                   

                                                  SPR 764065: Cold Store schema will not process any files if used in a non-replicated file vault; regression from 2014 SP1, fixed in 2014 SP3.

                                                   

                                                  -----------------

                                                  By the way - as far as archive or delete with cold storage - it depends on your situation.  Jason Clarke makes a good point about archiving.  But on the other hand we keep pdf drawings of old stuff, and that is usually enough for us. We only recently started on PDM and before that we had no old copies of native SolidWorks files, so having access to 75 or 150 versions (or whatever you decide to keep), plus all the Revisions, is a nice change, and I can't see us ever needing to pull a version that was over 100 versions back. Keeping only 10 versions is cutting it much closer (files can pick up ~6 version just passing thru our workflow without any actual SolidWorks file changes) - in that case I wouldn't delete the cold stores.

                                                  -----------------

                                                   

                                                  Interesting, didn't realize this, but doesn't sound like a deal breaker (still have access to the Revision version)

                                                  """""[Clarke]

                                                  Bear in mind that if you use the "keep versions with Revisions" option,  you will not necessarilly keep the version that is in a "Released" state but the one in the state where the Revision is set as per your workflow, which may lead to confusion down the line.

                                                  """""

                                                    • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                                      Braden MacDonald

                                                      So what you're saying is that unless the vault is replicated somewhere else, cold-storage doesn't work in 2014 SP2?

                                                      --------------------

                                                      I don't really know how many copies my boss is going to want. It will probably be closer to 50-75 becuase 10 is cutting it pretty close.

                                                      --------------------

                                                      Thanks for letting me know about that known issue though!

                                                        • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                                          Philip Lane

                                                          Braden.

                                                          We have a unique situation where historically, our I.T. dept has limited our cold Storage schema to 3 revisions!! to 'save storage space', and we have users working on local copies for days on end, causing miss-match problems within EPDM.

                                                          I am trying to push I.T. to up the revisions to at least 5 (wow), and need some very good arguments to do so. I'm more of a system/I.T. bod who usually manages CAD/CAE from that angle but here I am much more hands on SW & EPDM support and not part of I.T., picking things up on the fly to improve the situation.

                                                          If you guys can hit me with several excellent arguments why we should not be maintaining a mere 3 revisions, that would help.

                                                          Thank you.

                                                          Phil Lane.

                                                            • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                                              Brian McEwen

                                                              Philip, That sounds terrible.

                                                               

                                                              1st check your terminology a bit - I think you mean 5 Versions? (Revisions are just Versions with special status). After 5 do you archive or delete? Do you keep all Revisions?

                                                              Most users keep all Revisions, if you delete after the limit then it would be very unusual to kill the Revisions. Use the Never move versions with Revisions setting.

                                                               

                                                              It is pretty simple really, 5 versions is not enough, it cripples the advantages of having a PDM system.  We create at least 3 versions just moving through the workflow - with no changes in SolidWorks (this kind essentially uses no extra storage).

                                                              1) Storage is cheap, lost work by engineers/designers is not.

                                                              2) A year after implementation we have seen very little growth of our total file size. Less than 3% I believe.  5 versions does not mean 5 times as much storage.  We were getting close to our limit on some files (see image of my settings back in June 20), so we now keep 150 versions.  I bug our users to check in files every day, and at the least before the weekend.

                                                              • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                                                Philip Lane

                                                                Brian.

                                                                Thank you for your reply. Apologies...I did mean Versions, and the policy is to delete beyond 3...And yes, we do keep all Revisions.

                                                                I believe the 3 version decision was originally taken on a 'storage space' basis, and against our VAR's advice. We just may be the only org' in the world working with so few!

                                                                Thank you, and yes, I understand that 5 versions is not 5 x the storage. That is something I'm going to have to get over as part of my case.

                                                                And wow!...150 versions...I'll use that also as an example of just how close to the bone we are.

                                                                I've put in the request to increase, and will now make the justification.

                                                                Thanks for your help and comments.

                                                                It's walking the fine line between Engineering and I.T.....that's where the juice is.

                                                                Regards.

                                                                Phil Lane.

                                                      • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                                        Corey Hinman

                                                        Move them all. The amount of disk space needed for older versions is small, plus if you were to need to recover an older version of a part/assembly that you've purged, well then you're out of luck.

                                                        • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                                          Braden MacDonald

                                                          My boss and I talked about it some more, and here is where we are at. We agree that when it comes to our drawings, we're going to leave those alone.

                                                           

                                                          The real problem here is that our library items (nuts, bolts, etc) are set up to "read only", yet every time an engineer checks the bolt out to use in a drawing and puts it back they are still versioning.

                                                           

                                                          So we set up a seperate workflow for these library items so that we can release them in this separate workflow and stop the versioning. The only hickup being that if an engineer wants to advance the assembly state, they need to put the library item in "revision" in the library parts workflow and make sure they don't mess with that part.

                                                           

                                                          ANYWAY, are the different versions of the library items structured the same as a part or assembly files that the engineers are working on. So that in theory I could use cold storage delete the same as any other file?

                                                          • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                                            Braden MacDonald

                                                            It turns out that I misunderstood what my boss was asking for. However, this post is very helpful for the use of Cold Schema's and I strongly recommend you take a look if you are struggling with Cold Schema's.

                                                            • Re: Managing Versions of Revisions
                                                              Jeff Thomas

                                                              Does using Cold Storage to archive closed projects and or limit versions in the vault actually help with the speed of the server? Our vault will grow very fast and get huge as we do custom tools. Accessing the server is allready getting very slow and we have only been using EPDM for 6 months.

                                                               

                                                              Thanks

                                                               

                                                              Jeff