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Vault and Working from Home

If you’re using Vault, you’d be aware that one of the key advantages of using Vault is that files are downloaded to your local working folder from the server, so you’re working on the files locally before sending them back up to the Vault server when you’re done. This also avoids any potential file corruption you may experience if your CAD application is writing directly to a network drive over a slow/unreliable VPN connection.  You’re also not worried about anyone overwriting your files. How does this now happen when working from home?

The first thing you need to do is to connect to the office network via the Internet. This is commonly done via a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which is like a direct and secure tunnel that connects your home network, over the Internet, to the company’s network. Once this VPN is established, your computer and the Vault server treat each other like they are on the same network. By default, Vault communicates over http (port 80).

Scenario 1: You’re bringing the work computer home

Because the work computer is already configured to work with your office network, the VPN effectively makes your computer think that it is already on the office network. Once you log-in to Windows, connect to the VPN, then Vault will work as if you’re on the office network. Expect check-in and check-out to be slightly slower as the data is travelling over the Internet.

Scenario 2: You’re using your own home computer

You can install your Autodesk software on your home computer as part of a subscription benefit called the Home User License. Once you have your CAD software and the Vault Client installed and working on the home computer, then there may be certain differences on the way your home computer connects to the Vault.

  • If you log-in to Vault using Windows Account (1) you may need to convert your Vault logon from Windows Account to Vault Account. With a Vault Account-type logon, you need to enter your User Name (2) and Password (3). When you convert (or demote) a Windows Account to a Vault Account, you’ll need to execute the Rebuild Search Indexes command on the ADMS Console. You can also promote Vault Account back to a Windows Account.
  • Depending on how your VPN is configured, you may need to use the IP address of the Vault Server instead of the Server name (4). Check with your IT regarding this.
  • Because you’re logging into Vault from essentially another machine, your Saved Searches, Shortcuts, and Grid Views won’t be the same with your work machine. You can transfer these settings from one machine to another with instructions in this link.

 

Upload and Download Times

In order to assist in the process of transferring files over from the Vault Server and the Vault Client, you can enable file compression – the files are compressed before they are transmitted. In order to do this, please see this article. You will have to modify the config files for the Vault Client, as well as for each of the installed CAD applications . Note that compressing and decompressing files will consume additional computer resources on check in and check out both on the client and server side, so it would be best to test first to see if this helps in your situation.

As you can imagine, an important consideration here is the speed of the Internet. For a rough estimate on how much time is required for uploading and downloading files, here is a Calculator:

In Australia we typically have:

  • ADSL 15-20 Mb/sec download to home and 1-2Mb/sec upload to office/cloud
  • NBN 25/50/100 Mb/sec download and 10/20/35 upload to office/cloud

For example a 100MB file will take 14 minutes to upload on a ADSL connection, meanwhile only 30 seconds on a NBN connection.

Additionally, commands between the Vault Client and Server (e.g. Change State, Check-out, etc.) are broken down into smaller but more frequent commands, so the connection latency (or ping time) is also important. Typically, if the latency between your server and client is less than 70ms, then the end-user experience is acceptable. In cases with higher latency,  solutions like Vault Replication, or Vault on the Cloud, will help.

If you have any questions about this or need help, please contact us at support@cadgroup.com.au

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