Tuesday, June 21, 2011

If you're coming to my session @ RTC.....

So, one thing I forgot in my handout is a legend to go with the charts that are in there..... So here it is! Sorry it did not make it to the print out.

I also have a sample file that goes with the course, still waiting to hear back from RTC if they have any way to distribute. If not I'll figure something out for distribution, so stay tuned! If someone has a website they'd like to offer as a host please feel free to contact me or leave a comment with your e-mail address (I won't post the comment).

See you in a few short days!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Restart Roulette & Taking Revit Server On the Road

The posts on Revit Server just keep coming... The topics just keep coming to me as I talk to more people or have the opportunity to try things out, etc.

So, as we know (thanks to Mr. Baldacchino) we can install Revit Server on a Windows 7 computer running IIS (not supported by Autodesk in any way!).

Thus, springs the idea, let's put RS on a laptop running Windows 7, and then, when someone has to go on site, they can still work with the Central File, without having to use a remote desktop connection, detach from central or "check-out at risk".

As I mentioned in my previous post "Taking Revit Server Off-Road" the first concern is that you can't simply shut down Revit Server and everything will be all-right. If there is an on-going data transaction, then bad things could happen! I should add that if you have multiple files cached to your Laptop, then keep in mind all those files are going to update regularly assuming other folks are working on them, so it is not just a matter of being concerned about the file you just made changes to, but all files that are "local" to your Local Server.

So for fun, I installed Revit Server on a Win7 laptop (I actually had an excuse as I needed to verify some behavior quickly, but it is good to have those!). When I went to point Revit Arch at my new Local Server on the laptop, I had to stop and think.

  • Should I use the Hostname? But doing that would potentially (I don't know for sure) loop the data out and back on the network (which seems kinda silly).
  • Should I use the IP address? Which one? This is a laptop after all, I've got WiFi and Hard Wire among other things, and once again, that might loop the data out and back on the network.
  • Then is occured to me, I should use the "Loopback IP" ( this would always work, regardless of which connection I'm on, and even regardless of computer name.
So, I plugged the Loopback IP in and everything seems to be kosher. I won't swear to doing extensive testing, but I was able to open a file, add some stuff and Sync back without any problems.

Now, all of that said, the other issue which came up recently is dealing with Server Restarts, particularly as they are related to Windows Updates. In his post David says:
"Next, I made sure to download and install all updates and set them to automatically install at the default time from there onwards."
Well, generally speaking updates come down in the middle of the night, no one is the wiser and no one cares. I don't know about you, but I've pulled some late nights in my architecture career (even professionally). To that end I would never want to have a production Revit Server set to restart automatically no matter what, unless I have something in place that is also going to gracefully shutdown Revit Server, and stop the restart if Revit Server won't shutdown gracefully. This is all goes to my original point in the Off-Road post about interuppting data transactions in Revit Server. Sure in the middle of the night there should be no data, because no should be working, but should and being 100% certain are two very different things and do you want to play Restart Roulette with your project teams and their data?

Friday, June 03, 2011

The Legitimacy of Data Back-up?

Question One:
Why do we need to worry about running a back-up against the data stored on a Revit Central Server?

So this will perhaps seem like heresy to IT professionals the world round, and perhaps even to anyone who knows something about IT, or has lost work/data/files due to some type of hardware failure.

Question Two:
When was the last time that you recovered an active Revit file from a back-up?

Myself, never, and thats the point! Back-ups run at night, so unless your server fails right after the back-up has run, what use is it? Every user who is regularly working on a project should have a Local File on their computer. Furthermore Revit Server itself tells you who the last person was to complete a Sync With Central. Unless your entire office undergoes a disaster, then the "last" Local is the file you're likely to use to re-create your Central File if something goes wrong with Revit Server. If your entire office does under-go some type of disaster that affects every single computer, then it does not seem likely that you're going to be too worried about getting back to work right away.

Consider this instead, you're probably better off regularly archiving your Central File either manually or automatically (thanks to the API and additional Command Line options available in Revit Server 2012). If you are working in Revit Server, you are probably already creating files that you can count as archives if you have to send your Revit file to any consultants not working on your WAN. To send a file to consultants you likely either create a new local file, or use an existing Local File to send, those files can easily be stored on a normal File Server in an archive directory (which is probably backed-up every night), so that when disaster does strike, you at least have your archives.