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Autocad Civil 3D over a WAN

Posted on 2015-01-29
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Last Modified: 2015-02-11
We have a main office and a branch office 50 miles away. We are using10mbps dedicated connection and running access to our servers in the main office through a MPLS. We use Watchguard firewalls
Watchguard firewall in the branch office directs traffic to the internet and main office access through the MPLS.

Main office hosts all servers including Exchange, license servers, print servers and DNC server. Everything works just fine. We also run a license server for our Autodesk Infrastructure design suite (Civil 3D and ACAD) in the main office.
Access from the branch office to the main office file servers are pretty decent. The issue is the lag we get when CAD users try to work on the files from the branch office. These CAD files are stored on the file servers in the main office. We prefer not to copy the CAD files to local drives at the branch office.

We have started to setup workstations in the main office and have the branch office users remote desktop to the workstations in the main office this helps but before purchasing more workstations we are considering  other options.
Question: we are looking into Riverbed Steelhead products. Any feed back or recommendations are appreciated
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Question by:jsarinana
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Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 40579096
Enable branchcache on the server(s) and enable branchcache on the clients
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Expert Comment

by:Dirk Kotte
ID: 40579172
i think remote file caching is not the right way to accelerate the complex ACAD file structures and databases.
remoting the desktop session is a good option, but i would suggest to try citrix, because it is many more fast than RDP.
There is also the option to accelerate the remote session with a dedicated graphic card or a grid GPU.

see this:
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/item?siteID=123112&id=13959101 
http://www.citrix.de/products/xendesktop/features/high-def-experience/hdx-3d-pro.html
http://blogs.citrix.com/2014/05/02/the-autodesk-and-citrix-partnership-access-anywhere-team-collaboration-and-rapid-iteration-delivering-autodesk-applications-on-xenappxendesktop-with-gpu-acceleration/
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kevinhsieh earned 500 total points
ID: 40579237
Riverbed is perhaps the best technical solution. I have used them for 5 or 6 years. They have continually evolved and improved their WAN acceleration products. Much easier to configure than competitive products like Silver Peak and Cisco. Very good built in reporting. They can accelerate most kinds of traffic and might even have a module specific to AutoCAD.

Downside is that their license is for upstream bandwidth and connection count. I have to restrict some of the traffic from being optimized because many flows are very small or otherwise don't optimize and they such up a connection. That said, probably 85% of my traffic comes from only 3 or 4 types of traffic (SMB, Exchange,  ERP), so if you only get those you are pretty much covered. In your case you only really care about SMB, so that's a single traffic type, and you only really need to optimize to your server holding the AutoCAD files. If your budget is big enough to license high enough it's a non-issue.

Riverbed has a support lifespan for their hardware and virtual products that ends new versions after a number of years and then you only get bug fixes. They don't give much of a discount when upgrading, and you don't keep any of the licensing. How they can EOL a VM makes no sense to me. I say if you keep paying maintenance on a VM you should keep getting the updates.

Trials of their VMs is available.

https://splash.riverbed.com/docs/DOC-2002
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Author Comment

by:jsarinana
ID: 40579951
Never heard of branchcache, I'll look into it
Kevinhsieh, this is good information; thank you
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Author Closing Comment

by:jsarinana
ID: 40603730
Will use Red River
thanks
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