I'm in need to share Revit model with others within my organization (same city) and consultants that do part of the design (i.e. structural).
It seems there is a cheap way to use dropbox, but I'm concerned about speed, backups etc.
I learned Revit Server probably is the tool I want and it seems to be part of my package. Before I talk to IT about setting up a server for me, I have a few stupid questions:
- do I only need one server for multiple projects and can I give different access data to each consultant? I don't want consultant X who works on project 1, have access to something lese.
- Does the consultant need to have Revit Server themselves, or will they get some sort of IP or login information they can setup their local Revit software to access the project?
- On the wiki I read multiple times the arnings of working remote or offline. Is that just applicable if someone doesn't synchronize frequently? i would think anyone working on it has network access and could sync frequently. Or is that related to if the consultant has a server themselves?
I did some work-sharing before with someone in my organisation, but for that I just put the central file in a network folder we both had access to.
To answer some of your questions:
Revit Server does not handle permissions. Consultant "X" will be able to see and open the same folders that consultant "Y", and "Z" can see.
Only one computer server is needed, at your office. Consultants don't need to install software or buy hardware.
If it is just like a folder, how is it different from using an ftp site?
Are permissions just handled in the Revit model where I decide who owns what? and could someone inadvertently or advertently delete or damage something? Does it have backup built in?
A concern would be that consultants of the one project, can see the models of other projects, possibly designed by their competitors.
It is very different from an FTP site or places like Dropbox in that Revit Server is designed to prevent corruption of the central file due to simultaneous editing of the same elements. Revit Server is designed for that purpose. Those other applications are not.
Again, unfortunately, Revit Server does not handle permissions to folders. There is an appllication by another company that offers that feature, but for a high price tag.
From what I have read and been told, Revit Server is really meant for work sharing between (remote) offices of the same firm, and not for allowing access to the Revit file(s) for a specific project to outside parties. It eliminates the lag that can be experienced when trying to access files on a server that is distant from your own location. If you are trying to make it work between different firms (or the owner or construction manager and your office), you would have to be willing to allow the outside party(ies) to have access to your network.
While you would only need one server to host the files, each location needs a server to act as an "accelerator", which is then linked to the server hosting the models. When someone at a remote location synchronizes, that user exchanges his/her changes with the local server and receives changes held by the local server. Then the local server sends the changes to the central model server, without making the end user wait until the long-distance synchronization back to the central model server is complete.
We have offices in Philadelphia, New York, Washington, DC and Irvine, California and have had projects where a project team was located in multiple offices. Those in the office where the model was hosted had no issues, but those in the remote offices experienced long synchronization times and sometimes hang ups and crashes. We are in the process of setting up Revit Server 2014 with the hope that this will allows multi-office teams to effectively collaborate on projects.
If Revit Server isn't really what I really need, wouldn't a ftp-site that is secured work?
Yes all what I read about Revit-Server was based on examples of companies with offices all over the globe. Probably for really large projects with dozens of team members. I'm just by my own with maybe one other person in my organization and 1-2 consultants needing access to one project.
We do have a ftp site for easy sharing of documents. I probably can have IT create a separately secured (with separate login) folder for each project. Then I just copy the Central file there. Assuming the internet speed between that ftp folder and the consultant is fast enough, that should work too.
My understanding is that each person works on the local copy and the local copy gets sync'd with the central file only every once a while. So the delay for that syncing isn't so important. That is how I recall I did it when I shared a project with someone in my office when I had the central file just on a network folder we both could access. Except this time I need someone from outside our organization to have access to such folder. Or am i simplifying it too much?
I probably would set up some sort of backup of that central file.
We also have MS SharePoint, but I can't really see how that would work well since that is designed to manually check out files. It has a slick setup for access for different people to different projects etc.
Do you and your outside consultants need to work in the same Revit model? Or could you all work in your own Revit models, linking in the Revit files of the other partners, and periodically exchanging updated files on an agreed upon schedule? Even on projects done entirely in-house (I work at an A/E firm that has architects, interior designers, structural engineers, HVAC engineers, plumbing engineers, fire protection engineers and electrical engineers), each discipline typically has its own model. In-house, the linked files get updated every time you open the project and, if you so choose, when you reload the link while working on the project. We do often work with outside consultants, also, and for the most part that is done by periodically exchanging files, which are then linked into our file(s).
The only exception to that has been when we have worked with another architectural firm. Even then, if the split in responsibilities lends itself to it, we will set up separate files and cross-link. We have had a few projects where we have set up a restricted area on our servers and then allowed outside parties to access that remotely (as well as allowing our users access to it), so that all could be working on the same model. On one project, the lag for those working remotely was so bad that the other firm ended up sending their users to work in our office. On another project, we were working remotely on a shared model hosted by the other firm, but the lag times were so great that the project team eventually decided to split the model (we were doing the exterior; the other firm the interior).
All of which is a long-winded way of saying that we have not found a good way to work on the same Revit model remotely with outside firms, but that working in separate files and periodically updating models has worked reasonably well in these situations.
thanks for the response. It seems Revit has multiple ways that each don't really work perfectly for actual collaboration. From all what I read having central model on ftp site is not recommended. I also didn't see a way to save a central model to an ftp-site (not sure how to navigate to)
Revit Server, first requires a server, second doesn't allow me to manage access.
We don't really need to work on the same model. So a linked model approach might work.
How do I do that? Do i send consultants my curent model (and they create a new model tha tlinks to that file). Once they are done, they send me their file and i link it into my project?
And when we make progress, I send them an updated model of mine, which they link to and then send me their new file back? In my case they only work on structural, so there should not be the need for them to work on the same objects as I do. It might become a problem when my architectural wall gets turned into a structural wall.
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