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Accessing Revit files remotely on a Windows Small Business Server network

Hello,

We have an architecture client who wants to allow a couple contractor architects to access their Windows Small Business Server network and work on Autodesk Revit files.  Knowing that Revit files can be large, and CAD drawing is very hard to do via RDP or RWW, what would you suggest to allow them to do this?  The client would prefer to have the Revit files stay on the network rather than having them available via FTP.

Any suggestions (other than "Are you kidding me?!")  :)

Thanks!

Jeff
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JAStillwell
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JAStillwell
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jeff_schneiderCommented:
If I'm reading this right, it looks like you're sayign that these files are going to be too large to use working on a VPN.  I work with an engineering firm, and I'd say you're right on this.  Assuming you're not lookng for someone to suggest increasing bandwidth, you really can't speed up the access that I know of.

However, if they're running SBS and there are a limited number of files to work with, your customer may get what they're looking for by utilizing Sharepoint, with checkin/checkout enabled.  That prevent conflicts in file updates, and let everyone know who's working on what.  Make sure youre sharepoint DB has plenty of room.  You also have the option of turning on versioning, which may be helpful with this type of work.

This also has the advantage of making it easy to control the contract architects access to files.  If it's not on sharepoint, it's not available.

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JAStillwellAuthor Commented:
"...your customer may get what they're looking for by utilizing Sharepoint, with checkin/checkout enabled."  This is a good idea (similar to my suggesting to them that they use FTP, but with better control).  However, the client likes the idea of having all the Revit files stay on the server.  Revit has some control or library files that he would like to not have to transfer.  Not exactly sure why.  Seems like Sharepoint or FTP would be the best solution since they would be able to work at full speed on the Revit document locally and then upload the drawing when they are done with them.

Any other suggestions out there for how to accomplish this the way the client wants, or are we 'stuck' with WSS or FTP?
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jeff_schneiderCommented:
OK, my bad on this.  I am not too familiar with Revit, but it appears that it contains a facility for checking documents in and out.  You can't get past the issue that working on a document "online" is going to be too slow, but from what I've read so far, Revit worksharing takes that into consideration.  They'll just need to follow good practices around frequent "check-ins" to keep the whole team up to date.

Check this link:
http://images.autodesk.com/adsk/files/multi-user_collaboration_revit_structure_worksharing.pdf
 
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JAStillwellAuthor Commented:
Jeff,

That PDF you reference is very informatative.  Thanks!

Given the specs in the PDF, it seems like managing files via FTP or WSS would be better from a security perspective rather than giving the remote users VPN access (even if the client limits what they can and can't access, I don't like the security implications of giving a non-company user VPN access).  If I read the info correctly, it shouldn't matter how the remote users get at the data, as long as the client admin has setup Revit Structure Worksharing correctly.

Do you agree?

Jeff
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jeff_schneiderCommented:
That's the impression I got, but would defer to anyone with actual Revit experience.  Sounds like you're in a position to answer the details by actual trial, as well.  I'd also say you have an opportunity to propose a extranet policy project to your client, regardless of the Revit implications.

Jeff
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JAStillwellAuthor Commented:
This particular client has an architect doing 99% of the in-house IT work.  Then they call me a couple times a year when he can't figure stuff out.  The fact that he setup the VPN for outside workers without giving complete thought to security concerns me.  I logged in with the credentials he setup for them, rather than my admin credentials, and I was able to access about 75% of their shares that he thought he locked down.  I have a feeling it was a "Cool...it works!" kind of solution.
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