7 Replies Latest reply on Nov 23, 2016 12:32 PM by Alex Taguchi

    Working with SW files over VPN

    Mark Biasotti

      Myself and my colleagues have had a long standing issue of opening and saving SW files over VPN. For my current consultancy (and the previous one I worked for) we often have to work from home on the weekend or week nights at a moment's notice and login to my company's intranet using Cisco VPN. What is peculiar is that then opening, and especially saving a SW file, over VPN the time it requires to save is approximately 10X to 20x longer than if I were to just simply copy the file over via windows explorer. I can not explain this but it is a serious impediment. It seems that the problem gets exponentially worse the larger the file. For instance a 60M master model file that takes about 10 seconds to copy over in explorer takes about 30+ minutes to save from SW.  For larger data sets VPN is almost not an option because of this problem.

       

      What I've had to do as a workaround is to leave my laptop at work and then using remote login via my home workstation. This way I can work more effectively with the exception of the slight lag over remote desktop.

       

      Has anyone else seen this issue?  I would really appreciate if you have and can share your experience and possible solution.

        • Re: Working with SW files over VPN
          Lenny Bucholz

          Mark,

          I was just doing this Saturday, not only working on parts but making assemblies, stl files, then making a build for our 3d printer working over VPN on the HD at ASU with no serous lag. Might be that we have T1 or better connections and I have screaming 70+ mps internet from cox cable

          • Re: Working with SW files over VPN
            Jody Stiles

            Hi Mark,

             

            I've noticed the same thing working with VPNs in general.  They tend to be very slow regardless of what I'm doing not just SOLIDWORKS e.g. Photoshop is horrendous.  I've found using GoToMyPC is far superior.  I typically drag and drop the files via GTMPC and it seems to be much faster than via the VPN.  I don't know if your workflow supports this or not but it might be something to look into.

             

            Jody

              • Re: Working with SW files over VPN
                Mark Biasotti

                thanks Jody and Lenny for the replies. I feel that it has something to do just with SW files but I should try a large PS file to be sure. It has someone to do with saving the file from within SW vs. just copying the file in explorer outright - perhaps the thumb files that are presented? I also want to try PDMWorks to see how that behaves since that is copying files locally and then saving.

                 

                Mark

              • Re: Working with SW files over VPN
                John Matrishon

                Refreshing this topic.   Looking at VPN or other solutions that are very secure to access PDME (Pro) from outside the company network.   VPN is an IT security issue and no longer being used, but VPN still seems to be the connection of choice for access to the vault.   Citrix is currently being used, but does not have access for getting licenses to run the software, so no PDME.  It's a bit more complicated than that, I'm just simplifying.

                 

                Are there any new concerns or advancements in regards to VPN?  I've heard many differing opinions so far.  What does the SWKs community think?

                 

                JM

                  • Re: Working with SW files over VPN
                    Mark Biasotti

                    Hi John,

                     

                    We are scrapping VPN for our employees that work offsite (home) because it is slow but we recently have had important SW files corrupted (on a save or a SW hang) - we think because of the VPN connection.  We are soon to make WorkgroupPDM the standard with working with our clients files. Employees will still have to connect to VPN to ping a license, but files will be local (on MacBook drive) and will be checked out and checked in regularly. Some of our Clients use GrabCAD and we have no choice but to follow along and work with them on GC; but I caution all of my colleagues that GC is NOT PDM and is subject to deviating loss of work if there is not a systematic line of verbal/oral communication along with it (GC.)

                     

                    We also have  onsite workstation that employees can use that they connect to via Microsoft Remote Desktop (in studio) and offsite via GoToMyPC.

                     

                    Mark

                      • Re: Working with SW files over VPN
                        John Matrishon

                        Mark, thanks for the info!  Are you still planning on staying with Workgroup?  We will be heading over to PDM Pro (former PDM Enterprise) in the future and moving away from Workgroup which has reached it's EOL in SW2017.

                        Could some of the latency issues be with Workgroup being 32bit flat-file format based?  Is the service installed on a workstation or server?

                         

                        Agreed on GC, it's not the place for "work" in my opinion, but if that is where your clients are....not much choice.

                         

                        It's definitely difficult to figure out all the potential issues as no two installs and configurations are the same!  What works for one, may not work for another.   I'm mostly inquiring about VPN or VPN like solutions.    I've heard mention of Citrix VPN, but I'm not finding real info on it.

                         

                        JM

                          • Re: Working with SW files over VPN
                            Alex Taguchi

                            The general issue with using VPN to connect and work on files is two pronged:

                            • licensing
                            • storage

                            If you were to run a procmon and monitor what the sldworks.exe process is doing during an open/save operation for a simple assembly, you will see thousands of hits on the file. So if you're accessing the file remotely, that's 1000s of accesses to the file that has to jump through the network, switches, isp, and then also be bottle-necked by the remote computer's resources. This is why the time to access starts to get exponentially slower as the file size and components starts to increase.

                             

                            In terms of licensing, when accessing a SNL remotely through VPN, it's always best to borrow and disconnect because if you leave that connection live, every time you save/open a file it has to check for a live connection to see if you are still connected to the SNL server before the operation can complete, which will add significant delay depending on the amount of components being saved/opened.

                             

                            So what is the solution? It all depends, but I would seriously consider putting both the licensing server and the PDM Pro vault into a hosted cloud environment to test performance and security. Alternatively, if you only have very few who need remote access, think of setting up replicated vaults on their laptops which would solve the storage performance issue. The only thing that would potentially be a problem would be licensing access since you cannot borrow a PDM license, it would need to have a live connection.