I'm wondering if anyone is using Egnyte with Autocad for remote workers. There have been a few posts but not many lately. I've been experimenting with the latest Egnyte Connect Desktop app (18.104.22.168). I have two issues: file locking and Sheet Set manager performance.
Regarding locking, Autocad writes two lock files into the drawing directory when a workstation has a file open, using the same name as the drawing file and with two extensions: .dwl and .dwl2. they are 1kb each. These files are left open while the file is being edited. Egnyte does not upload these files to the cloud while they are open (Egnyte only syncs to the cloud when you save and close); therefore they never show up in the cloud because they are deleted immediately after the drawing file is closed. The problem with this is that remote workstations do not see the lock files.
SheetSet Manager looks for .dwl or .dwl2 files in the folders. So if a remote worker opens the sheet set, they should see which files are currently being edited by others and are prevented from opening them.
SSM uses a database file (.dst) which all users need to access. When a user changes some data such as adding a sheet or updating fields on a drawing, SSM opens this file briefly, updates it and closes it.
SSM behavior is described here: Using Sheet Sets
More notes are here: Sheet Set performance in networked environment
I feel that Egnyte is very close to having a working Autocad-friendly envionment with the advent of the desktop Connect ("Drive"?) application which respects global file locking, and allows offline syncing. Remote users need rapid access to all of the files in a directory, which offline sync should provide. Right now, remote access works, but it is slow, even with sync, and SSM does not see the locks. There may be other file traffic issues I'm not clear on...
Before you ask, I'm ruling out Desktop Sync as it does not respect global file locking. Likewise in the office I'm ruling out Storage Sync for the same reason. We've been using both of these but we need to move toward a more unified access method which respects locking. The idea is to use Desktop Connect on all workstations, and Turbo in the office.
Anyone interested in this?
I tested this, performance was much worse than just connecting directly to the ELC share. We use C3D as our primary tool. I get what you are saying about the lack of global file lock. I have been in full production with three offices all cross working in CAD and only have 5 file conflicts so far. 4 of them were the PM's in a scheduling spreadsheet, so not even CAD related. I would stick to the connect app for remote workers using GPO's to map to the drives directly. M2C
Further information: the .dwl and dl2 files are actually not lock files, but log files used by Autocad to show who has the file open. Autocad respects the normal file system locking, (historical note: Autocad used to use lock files but this was phased out in 2000)
Curious, when you say "ELC share" are you talking about an Egnyte Storage Sync instance on your LAN? Interesting that your workflow does not create conflicts. We have single .dwg files that blow out to multiple layouts so we run into conflicts all the time. I'm still trying to figure out how to break it out to "one sheet, one file" but haven't gotten there yet....
I did more testing yesterday. Two users, running on the Egnyte Connect "Z" drive, with "Sync for Offline Access" on the directory. Loaded all the files and sheet set .dst file on that directory. Worked great, indistinguishable from working on a local share. SSM is smart enough that opening .dst file from Z:// or our ELC drive (L://) it finds all of the files and xrefs no problem. File locking prevented simultaneous opening of files (about 5-10 seconds of lag after closing a file before the other could open in R/W). The only missing piece was that SSM loses awareness of who has the file open and the lock icon in SSM is missing. So it would still be a great feature to support... I'll ask Egnyte support. Not a deal breaker though because user could go to Z drive, right click, show in cloud, and see the lock icon there, and who has it open. A work around but not too bad. We are going to try this more extensively and then think about ditching Desktop Sync.
What do you mean by mapping Connect to the drive directly? To create a consistent drive letter? We are thinking about just using Z as the standard drive.
I'm from the Product team at Egnyte.
I believe we avoid syncing dwl files because we saw some cases where users were seeing files were locked in autocad despite noone having them open. What would happen was that a user would access a file and later close the file when they had no internet connection - this would appear as though the file remained locked because the delete on the dwl file happened in an offline state and hadn't yet propagated to the cloud and other machines.
What we're exploring is whether we can simply show the name of the user who has the file locked through our own mechanism (ie. with an OS notification like we do for Office docs). This way the user could identify who has the file locked though it wouldn't be through AutoCAD's native mechanism. It would, however, remove the problem I mentioned earlier since you can't maintain a global lock on a file once you go offline.
Curious to see if this would satisfy the use case or if there are additional benefits that we haven't thought of that syncing up the dwl file would allow - let me know your thoughts.
Don't you have hanging lock problems when users go offline before closing a file anyway?
Found another issue. Autocad Sheet Set Manager uses a database file called ".dst". Whenever a session needs to write to this file a ".dbl" file (lock file) is created. This is how autocad arbitrates access to the file, and displays the status of the sheet set.
Since Egnyte does not sync temp files, this function does not work.
Hi @David Carroll1,
Regarding hanging locks when users go offline, our locking mechanism will expire locks if clients do not 'renew' them within around 5 minutes. In other words, the lock is released within 5 minutes unless an internet connection is resumed and the Desktop App is able to renew the lock in that timeframe. More details in this article:
Regarding the dbl file, can you submit a feature request to our support team? We can certainly investigate the possibility of allowing dbl files to sync to allow a better native user experience in Sheet Set Manager. We will investigate how Sheet Set Manager would behave in case of conflicting dbl files from two different users and whether it's possible to update dbl files while they're opened by Sheet Set Manager.
@LeoM We've implemented performance improvements back with Desktop App 3.2. Please consider upgrading to the latest Desktop App version to take advantage of the changes:
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