We are currently using Simulation with Vault, and it’s constantly a hassle.
For those unfamiliar with Vault, it’s an Autodesk product for managing files. One user checks out the file, to make edits, and other users are locked out from making changes at the same time. It also keeps a copy of each version when it is checked in. It stores all the files on a central file store, and makes backups easy to schedule.
Vault is a very useful tool; I wouldn’t go back to using Inventor and AutoCAD without it.
But when it comes to Vault and simulation it’s a different story, it can be very cumbersome. I was in a meeting yesterday with a fellow that sets up companies Vaults, and he said it was one of two Autodesk products that he would not recommend people use with Vault. That was discouraging.
One of the main reasons it’s not encouraged has to do with the way Simulation files are saved. There is the main .FEM file and folders of associated files. The number of associated files changes as the model becomes more complex and more design scenarios are added. When you check out a .FEM file delete a design scenario, and check the file back in, the Vault sees that you had checked out those associated files and didn’t put them back. They remain in a checked out state even though the no longer exist.
A good housekeeping practice when using Vault is to make sure you’ve checked in files you have worked on. I do this by searching for files that have the property ‘Checked out by’ that contains my username. The problem is I have thousands of SIM files that no longer exist saying they are still checked out, basically in limbo.
We’ve submitted support requests and been told it’s a known issue but there is no solution nor should we expect one. That’s kind of rough to hear.
I think the only solution would be to make Simulation save all the information to one file, but the likelihood of Autodesk doing that would be slim. So maybe there’s no solution to this?
Ather issue we’re running into is the size of our filestore. As our Simulation files get more complex their file size can get very large, and since vault is making a copy each time it is saved(checked in) the storage requirements are increasing rapidly. Unfortunately Vault doesn’t have any means to selectively purge based on file type, so were are left with the option of purging everything on vault with the same standard, or letting the filestore grow very large.
We even need a special procedure for checking out and checking in files that only applies from simulation. (Checking out needs to be done from the Vault client and not the program, and checking in is vice versa)
So my question is, is anyone else using Vault for storing and managing Simulation files?
If you, how do you manage these issues?
If not, did you at one time and have to switch back as a result of the hassle?
I was hoping to use Vault with Simulation but your post has me tapping the brakes. Thanks for your detail.
For the Autodesk Team: If Vault is not a good match for Simulation, I'd like to see some direction and support on this subject of simulation data management. Short video of best practices? Tech bulletin/doc of some sort? Some added basic functionality within Simulation specific to that program? A completely unique Vault for Simulation is not realistic I know. But just as PDM is a big issue for CAD, filing and documenting FEA/CFD is a big issue as well.
As Andrew Roth mentioned there was an incident with the initial release of Simulation Mechanical 2015 that prevent it from working with Vault 2015. This issue has subsequently been addressed in Simulation Mechanical 2015 R1.
One problem that arises when working with Simulation Mechanical is the files created during an analysis do not have unique names, rather they are positioned into specific sub-directories. This often presents a problem when trying to upload files when unique naming is enabled. One alternative method is to upload only archive files to Vault, doing so will allow you to create unique files names and it will package together all of the required information.
Thanks Andrew. The Vault-ing of archive files may be the best answer for me, given how I work and how I use PDM generally. I will give that a try.