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Sharing a project for a team, accessing projects remotely. Setup of BIMcloud/Users/Roles, Working/Messaging in Teamwork (Example: What are the firewall settings for the BIMcloud to make it accessible over the Internet?)

Moderators: Karl Ottenstein, LaszloNagy, ejrolon, Barry Kelly, Gordana Radonic, nbalogh, mnguyen, gkmethy, Istvan Moharos, Marton Kiss

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By tjmillar
At present our Archicad users (currently about 15 licenses on AC18) access our projects via a VPN to a remote server. The server is not well configured for graphics so they only use the internal engine, not OpenGL. I would like them to be able to run Archicad locally, but the loading times are unworkably slow. I think this is primarily because of the remotely located libraries. I have read elsewhere in these forums that it's not good practice to use remotely located libraries. The libraries are a bit of a mess and cleaning them up is a priority, but apart from that I imagine it would be better if they were hosted locally and periodically synced to the server. My understanding is that BIMcloud could do that for us, and I'm trying to determine whether or not moving to BIMcloud Basic or BIMcloud is going to be worth the difficulty of the transition.
We are a volume builder with a very large number of projects, but no need for Teamwork. There is never any need for more than one user at a time to access a file, and most of the advertising and information about BIMcloud seems oriented toward the capacity for improved collaboration on large projects. Apart from the potential advantages of syncing libraries, I'm having trouble seeing the benefits of BIMcloud for our situation. Am I missing something?
Perhaps a simpler and less disruptive solution would be to just occasionally sync the local libraries to the centrally managed server, using Goodsync or some other IT-approved syncing application. If we did that I expect there would be improvements in loading times and performance? Would there be additional advantages to adopting BIMcloud?
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By Barry Kelly
tjmillar wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 6:22 am At present our Archicad users (currently about 15 licenses on AC18) access our projects via a VPN to a remote server. The server is not well configured for graphics so they only use the internal engine, not OpenGL. I would like them to be able to run Archicad locally, but the loading times are unworkably slow. I think this is primarily because of the remotely located libraries.

I am a bit confused by this.
Archicad should be running locally from the machine the person is working on.
The program should be installed on the local machines and not on the server.
Then the server has nothing to do with the graphics as the program is on the user's machine.
It may be using a network license on the server, but that should not affect anything once connected.

Also working with the library directly from the server is possible (but I would not recommend it) and once loaded that should be it.

There is no need for any BIMCloud for your situation in my opinion.
I am in a similar setup to you by the sounds of things.

We have the master libraries on our server.
We then have synchronising software that syncs the libraries to our local machines.
We then load the libraries on out local machine and use those.
Any amendments are made to the masters on the server and then they sync through to the local machines.
We find syncing when the local machine is started (i.e. once a day) is more than enough - unless you are constantly updating library parts.

The files themselves can be opened directly from the server.
However if you are using a VPN from a remote location, I would recommend copying the file locally and working on that, then sending back to the server when finished.
If you are in an office and are networked directly to the server, there is no issue working directly on the file on the server.

It can all be controlled with BIMCloud, but we are running close to 50 licenses in various offices and from home, and have not had the need so far.

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By tjmillar
Thanks Barry, much appreciated.
My understanding is that Archicad is installed on the server as well as locally, and that when a user logs in to the remote server from home to avoid the excessive loading times, Archicad runs from the server rather than locally. I don't understand why that should be the case but it appears to be what's happening. Either way, the system needs to change.
Thanks for your clear explanation of your system. Can I ask what software you are using to sync the libraries? IT has suggested using SharePoint. And when you say "sending back to the server when finished", do you mean using "Save As" or are you using Teamwork for that, even though it's not otherwise required for collaboration?
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By Barry Kelly
We are using a very old version of SecondCopy and have it set up as a one-way sync from the server to the local machines.
It needs to be set up on each local machine.
But any synchronising program is probably fine so long as you can have a one-way sync.
The last thing you want is every user sending changes back to the master library.

By sending the files back to the server, I mean just manually copying the file through Windows Explorer.

User avatar
By mikas
I'd like to share my view to the matter too.

We used to have a file server for mostly same kind of work as described in the OP. It did it's job for years. You just needed to make sure everything is up to date on the server. It was good, but not the fastest and most seamless way. Still, it was essential if you wanted to work from office, from home, or from some remote place like a hotel room or a construction site.

Now we have moved to cloud syncing service. Everything that earlier had to be taken care of, happens now almost seamlessly at background. There are many services out there. We chose DropBox for our work. We do have Microsoft OneDrive too available, and some of us have got iCloud Drive also.

Within our company everyone is a member of DropBox cloud storage. Everyone sees all the projects we work on. Libraries, PLN's, published files are all in the cloud. Everyone can read, write and create folders at will then needed. Every project is in the cloud.

If you don't trust your workers enough, or if there is other kind of demand for different kinds of priviledges, that too is all in there to adjust by admin user. You can share individual files or folders like you want to. Or you can share everything within your company.

The great idea with cloud storage is that everything syncs background, there's no need to do anything but to connect to internet. Or if at the office, it smartly syncs all workstations locally too (LAN sync). All is up to date for everybody, with every machine, phone or tablet. And with whatever OS you are on.

What about the size of DropBox and the size of your mass storage, HDD/SSD: Not everyone has terabytes of disk space, at least not in laptops or in their tablets. No problem, you can individually choose what to keep online, or what to keep in cloud only. With tablets it does that automatically depending on your usage. You will still see the hole hierarchy like you had them all with you. The software will download the files on demand when you try to open a file which is set to be in cloud, or "offline" only. You can choose to keep everything "offline", only in cloud, if you so choose. You will see the file system and the hierarchy, and your programs will download and sync on demand then needed to.

Sharing files with collaborators is way easier too, a lot more convenient than sending email attachments. You can just share a folder with them. If they have dropbox it's as seamless as he was a member of your server. If they don't, have DB, they will use their web browser to access the files. And file size constraints are not there either like with email.

With clients it's really easy too. Just send them a link to a folder there you publish your pdf's or jpegs, and they can inspect it almost realtime. The link does not stop working unless you command it to unlink. So it's a live preview folder for clients if you so desire. Very handy wouldn't you think.

As a bonus, the service keeps all deleted files available for a few months. So you can resurrect them as an admin. I have found that usefull a couple of times. Mistakes do happen to all of us humans.

I just realized DropBox supports Linux too nowadays. Not that ArchiCAD is on Linux yet ;) , but you can deploy Linux in some other ways if so desired.

A couple of warnings and considerations would be appropriate though:

1) Some have had a glitch with saving files to DropBox or other similar cloud storage services. You might see a message like "could not save the file to disk". After a while it's again possible to save it, or at least to "Save as" it. It has happened to me a few times. No work has been lost though, not ever. On the contrary, there is a backup for a few months as explained just above.

2) Graphisoft does not support working from cloud storage. Still, some of us here have worked that way for years now. And I would not want to give up working that way. I have high hopes GS will not break anything regarding cloud storage and working from there.

3) You can't have libraries behind a relative link. If you open your project between Mac and Win, you will have to point again to all your lused ibraries every time. There is a wish(es) made towards GS about relative links to libs (and why not to everything there is to link). That would make a perfect fit with cloud storage workflow.

ps. We have Team Work server nowadays too, it's just that most of our work does not need that.
pps. I am not an affiliate with DropBox in any way. Most other cloud services with the same functionality would certainly work great too.

edit. added number 3)
edit2. some grammar