Archive for the ‘Configuration’ Category

Several people have asked about the hardware needed for a Caching Server, or more specifically what specs need are required for the virtual machine.  I would typically break a remote office down into a few categories before making a recommendation.

You can classify remote offices in one of three categories (Small, Medium, & Large) based on number of ProjectWise users in that office. The amount of storage however may change from office to office based on the amount of files stored plus the amount of files cached from other offices.  In addition, if you are adding the Point Cloud Streaming to the server you will not want to cut corners as this adds more processing.

Remote Office


Local Users






PW Caching Server




60 GB

File Storage


PW Caching Server

30 – 60



60 GB

File Storage


PW Caching Server




60 GB

File Storage



On just about ever new deployment of ProjectWise I get the same question about Caching Servers.  “How do I know if I need a Caching Server in an office or not?”  Well, first we need to understand what a caching server does and a little more about how it will be used.

The ProjectWise Caching Server has a dual purpose.  The first is to store files that are managed by the ProjectWise system and the second is to cache files that are stored in remote offices.  A Caching Server generally would need the same processing power as a local file server and is not processor intensive. However, the addition of a Point Cloud Service can increase the need for processing power.  The Point Cloud Service is only needed on a ProjectWise Caching Server that is also the storage area for the point clouds.

For medium to larger installs, it is highly recommended that a ProjectWise Caching Server be at the same location as the ProjectWise Integration Server for performance reasons.  Having ProjectWise Caching Servers in a remote office is one of the largest decisions when determining the system architecture.  General rules for determining if an office needs a ProjectWise Caching Server include the following:

  • 10 or more users in an office that will utilize ProjectWise
  • Five or more users in an office that work on the same projects and files
  • Offices that have higher latency
  • Offices with limited bandwidth
  • Use of large files
  • When distributed storage is desired
  • When better performance is needed

In many offices that are right on the fence one way or another you may start with no Caching Server with the understanding if performance is an issue a Caching Server should be added.


With the new ProjectWise SS4 Update we have some changes that need to be considered when planning on Full Text Indexing.  First off is the fact that the Microsoft Index Server is not supported on Windows 2012 Server.  This has been our indexing engine since full text searching was introduced in ProjectWise 2004.  The update now supports both the older Microsoft Index Server on Windows Server 2008 and the new Microsoft Windows Search Server which if you are going to Windows Server 2012 is the only way to go.  The new Windows Search Server does require a SQL server and for medium to large users this may need to be a separate SQL server to meet the expected load. Performance and scalability are much better with the Windows Search Server.


When working with outside parties there are server considerations. First is how they are going to connect and where is the data stored.  Connectivity can happen using a browser based client or a thick client.  Each has its pros and cons.

The thick client access has the most functionality and can also provide direct integration inside of many commonly used applications such as AutoCAD, MicroStation, Revit, Civil 3D, Microsoft Office, as well as other applications.  It also offers increased performance via data compression and delta file transfer (DFT).  Thick client access does require the installation of the ProjectWise Explorer on the desktop and requires port TCP 5800 for connectivity and file transfers.

When utilizing the thick client it also gives added flexibility for routing since the ProjectWise Explorer can directly contact a ProjectWise Gateway Server, ProjectWise Caching Server, or ProjectWise Integration Server as the next server in the route.  All three of these servers can pass routing information to the thick client.  If added performance is needed, or in a larger office with many users a ProjectWise Caching Server may be utilized.  Caching Servers can have a dual function.  The first is being able to store files as their home location.  The second is caching of files from remote offices. 

Thin client access is much easier since it works over standard web browsing ports.  It also has capabilities to allow viewing and markup of CAD formats through a browser with no design markup of viewing tools installed.  Browser users can check out/in files but need to understand that ProjectWise would be unaware of reference or x-ref attachments and require a scan be done on the file(s) after they have been checked in so any changes in references would be picked up, therefore it is recommended that CAD editors use thick client access to edit files. Viewers, markups, and Microsoft Office type users can use the browser based clients without any issues.  Thin client users would also not be able to take advantage of DFT traffic, therefore users of larger files may benefit from thick client.

Client to Server communications are done on ports TCP 5800 for thick client access and ports HTTP 80 and HTTPS 443 for browser based clients.  All server to server communications will be on port TCP 5800.  When working with a remote office port TCP 5800 will need to be open on any firewall between the ProjectWise Explorer (thick client) and the next link in the chain which may be a ProjectWise Caching Server, ProjectWise Gateway Server, or ProjectWise Integration Server.  Also, any of the servers that are next in line would also need to communicate using TCP 5800.

Browser based clients will utilize standard ports 80 and SSL 443 for communications.  Browser traffic cannot be relayed by a Caching or Gateway Server.  It must have direct contact to the ProjectWise Web Server.  Once the traffic reaches the ProjectWise Web Server it will then communicate via port 5800 to the other servers to process requests.

If dual authentication is needed then VPN access may be required as the first level of authentication with their ProjectWise login being the second.  Other options may include a Citrix type connection to ProjectWise which is a supported configuration.

The diagram below represents some of the common routes that ProjectWise traffic can take when dealing with outside entities. 



Did you know that the ProjectWise Web Server provides integration with SharePoint 2010’s search tool.  This allows users to search both ProjectWise and SharePoint at the same time from the same SharePoint search interface. The search results will show both SharePoint and ProjectWise documents side by side in the list.  This is also the only way to search multiple ProjectWise datasources in one search. Notice the additional search filtering to the left side.



ProjectWise Routing

Posted: March 14, 2013 in Configuration
Tags: ,

ProjectWise uses its own routing rules. In general, the client is told to go to a ProjectWise server. If that is not the end point, then that server will tell it where the next hop is until it reaches its end point. It is a best practice to always use fully qualified domain names instead of IP Addresses. The following diagram shows some of the valid routes that ProjectWise traffic could make. All ProjectWise Explorer traffic is on TCP Port 5800 by default, but could be changed by the administrator to a different port number.  With the flexibility in routing almost any situation can be solved when dealing with remote office, users, sub, or owners.