Posts Tagged ‘ProjectWise’

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.

routing

EJA

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Since ProjectWise consists of several servers that need to work together, it is sometimes difficult to diagnose performance issues.   ProjectWise performance diagnosis usually fits into five different categories.  It is best to ensure that you have the “right size” system.  Consider the following:

  • CPU
  • File I/O
  • Network
  • Memory
  • Database

In general, most hardware has a three year life cycle around which you can plan a system.  This means that the hardware will be sufficient enough to perform with future versions of the software applications, such as the ProjectWise Integration Server, but also work with new operating systems that may be deployed over time.  In addition to the software requirements, the expected user load must be taken into consideration. Most companies that use ProjectWise will grow their usage over time.

The following chart shows how one Integration Server can be scaled to handle the load for up to 2000 connected users. It would be a best practice to include a second (or more) Integration Server, in either a cluster or network load balanced set up, to allow for failover and for spreading the load when you have more than a few hundred users or need more of a guaranteed uptime.  Keep in mind that these numbers are representative of a SELECTseries 4 Integration Server which is true 64bit.

ProjectWiseBlogIS

EJA

Since latency has so much to do with performance I wanted to blog about the best practices that users can do to minimize the effect of latency on the user experience.  Following these simple steps in your daily routine can substantially decrease the total number of transactions with the server and therefore increase perceived performance.

  • Turn off the Preview Pane in the ProjectWise Explorer Client within high latency offices. This will limit the amount of data and transactions needed by the Client during folder and file navigation.
  • Limit the use of custom Views, only displaying the minimal amount of data about each file.
  • Limit the use of titleblock integration with AutoCAD and MicroStation.
  • Limit the amount of attributes in any Environment being used in the high latency offices.
  • Utilize Caching Server(s) where possible in the high latency offices as file storage.
  • Utilize Caching Server(s) where possible in the high latency offices as file caching.
  • Utilize Fetchfile.exe to pre-populate local file caching.
  • Refrain from exiting MicroStation or AutoCAD when opening additional files.
  • Limit the number of files in any one folder to a manageable amount.
  • Navigate by using the folder tree in ProjectWise and not selecting sub folders in the contents list.

EJA

DGN & i-model Viewer

Posted: March 5, 2013 in General
Tags: , ,

The  new release of ProjectWise V8i SELECTseries 4 Refresh has a new addition to the preview pane of the ProjectWise Explorer.  We now have an embedded viewer for both DGN and i-model formats which allows for viewing without leaving the ProjectWise client or having a viewing tool such as Navigator or MicroStation loaded on your machine.  This is the same viewing technology that we have had on the web side for a while.

The viewer supports several actions including the following:

  • Pan, walk, fly, rotate, zoom, window, and fit navigation
  • Measuring distance
  • Print
  • Models & views
  • Model interrogation with business intelligence

NavigatorView

We know, you want markups, DWG support, blah, blah, blah.  I think the saying is “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.

EJA

This is the first of what will be many blogs about ProjectWise and Performance.  I’ll cover subjects that will help you understand what makes ProjectWise perform like a finely tuned sports car or a bus during rush hour.  The first topic to cover is latency and its effect on performance.

Much of the anticipated performance can be determined by the latency between clients and servers.  In today’s digital age, bandwidth and latency determine the speed at which you receive your data. The nice thing is that money will usually buy you more bandwidth, but when it comes to latency, that is not always the case. Latency is the measurement of the time it takes a packet of data to move back and forth. The data must go from the user interface into the kernel, out the network card, to switches, firewalls, routers, back to a network card, into the kernel, and then back through the same route. The time it takes this whole process to happen is referred to as latency. This operation may be repeated thousands of times per minute.  Therefore, a high latency returns poor performance regardless of bandwidth, which determines the amount of simultaneous packets that can be sent.

The chart below can help set expectation of performance. 

latency

In future blogs I’ll discuss ways that you can minimize the effects that latency will have on the user experience.

EJA

Starting in ProjectWise V8i (SELECTseries 4) the available Point Cloud Service can stream Point Clouds and large images to client machines running MicroStation SS2, Navigator, Open Plant, Descartes SS3 and Bentley Civil products.  A possible AutoCAD streaming integration may be in the works.  Much like Google Earth, Point Cloud Streaming only sends the needed information to the client based on the location and zoom ratio.  Point clouds can be from several megabytes to many gigabytes in size.

The Point Cloud Service can be loaded either on an Integration Server or Caching Server.  There is a price difference, so consult your sales team for pricing, however it is less expensive when running on a Caching Server.  Once configured, import your .las or .pod files into a storage area/folder on the Caching Server or Integration Server that is running the Point Cloud Service.  This Streaming also works for large images.

In general, you can run one Point Cloud Service and have all of the point cloud files on one server, or you can add multiple Point Cloud Services and store the point clouds in multiple storage areas.  Keep in mind there is no need to cache point clouds in remote office, as they will be streamed as needed.

EJA

ProjectWise 3.xx was released early 2000 and over the next two years added features that included the Web Explorer Lite, which was the first web client.  Document level security, DWG redlining, and the document creation wizard were also added.

ProjectWise V8 started the modern era of ProjectWise. The January 2003 release included such innovations as the Preview Pane, Workspace Profiles, Components, Audit Trail, and the Distribution System.  Over the next few years we saw 2004 and V8 XM Edition ProjectWise releases.  These releases included Full Text Search, Thumbnails, DGN Indexing, Managed Workspaces, and SharePoint Web Parts.

Late in 2008, the first V8i release of ProjectWise was introduced.  It included Delta File Transfer, the Web View Server, Spatial Navigation, the Quick Search tool bar and auto login to integrated applications. Over the next several years SELECTseries releases (one through four) have included Revit and Civil3D integration, as well at Transmittals, Dynamic Composition Server, Point Cloud Streaming, and Dynamic Plotting.

Today’s ProjectWise is a true 64-bit application that scales up to thousands and thousands of users with excellent performance, especially over higher latency networks. ProjectWise has truly become the most mature Engineering Information Management System in the industry.

EJA

In about a month we should have a new release of ProjectWise.  This is considered a “refresh” which has several feature enhancements, integration updates, and bug fixes.  Below is a listing of some of the more major updates and enhancements.  

  • ProjectWise Explorer Enhancements
    • Bentley DGN Navigator Control, for viewing DGNs and i-models in the ProjectWise Explorer
    • Support for ProjectWise Explorer on Citrix XenApp 6.5
  • Application Integration Enhancements
    • Support added for:
      • AutoCAD 2013 applications
      • Revit 2013 applications
      • 64-bit Microsoft Office 2010 (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint)
      • Microsoft Project 2010 and Visio 2010 (32-bit and 64 bit)
    • Advanced integration developed for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 and 2013
    • AutoCAD integration enhancement – new Disable / Enable Integration button
    • Revit integration enhancement – new Resolve Links dialog, to fix broken links before the document opens in Revit
    • Office integration enhancement – new Disable / Enable Integration button in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Project, and Visio
  • Infrastructure Enhancements
    • Support for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 for most modules
    • Full Text Indexing supports Windows Search Service on Windows Server 2012, and Microsoft Indexing Service on Windows Server 2008
    • Updated Web Parts
  • ProjectWise Administrator Enhancements
    • Updated Attribute Exchange example files for Microsoft Office 2003
  • Miscellaneous Enhancements
    • Rebranding:
      • ProjectWise Dynamic Composition Server (DCS) for PDF is now Bentley i-model Composition Server (ICS) for PDF
      • ProjectWise Dynamic Composition Server for i-model (extension to ProjectWise Automation Service) is now Bentley i-model Composition Server for i-model
    • New Modules:
      • ProjectWise Rules Engine

Over the next several weeks I’ll try to break some of these down individually.

EJA

TeamMate was merged with Bentley development and MicroStation. TeamMate 96 was released in 1996. This version was focused on MicroStation support, but also handled other formats and applications such as Microsoft Office and AutoCAD.  TeamMate also had metadata, file history, versions, and Query By Example to locate files.

MicroStation TeamMate 96 was a Windows based document management solution that ran on Windows 3.x and the popular Windows 95 operating systems.  Server side was handled by Windows NT.  Hardware requirements back then included the i386 (with math co-processor) all the way up to the Pentium.  The recommended 16MB to 24MB of RAM kept TeamMate running strong.  Hard drive specs were in the 200MB range.  You probably remember the days.  Supported Databases back then included just about anything that could be connected with ODBC, including Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, Oracle, Informix, and Solid.  The list of Databases would change over the years, including support for Sybase for a few releases. 

In 1998 TeamMate was rebranded to the name ‘ProjectWise’ after several other discarded names.  For a while it was branded as CheckMate, until it was discovered that this was a conflict of interest.  Remember, this was the 1990’s and the Internet was still not in wide use. If fact, the domain name ‘Google’ was not even registered until September of 1997.

EJA

In 1995 Bentley was a $100 million dollar company that was rapidly growing, not only in revenue but also in product offerings.  A year earlier, Intergraph had a major stake in Bentley and had the distribution rights to MicroStation.  A dispute over royalties ensued, which put Bentley in charge of its own destiny.  This suit would not be settled for several years to come, however, it did turn out heavily in favor of Bentley.

Bentley now had the desire to grow with new product offerings to help its 220,000 users design and build the world’s infrastructure projects. One of the first products offered was MicroStation Field, a mobile product designed to work on a pen based tablet so remote users could view and markup drawings in the field.  Released in 1994, it was ahead of its time. Teamed with the high cost of a pen based tablet at that time, it was discontinued.  However, the need to collaborate on projects never went away.  It was at that time the Bentley executives looked for solutions.  The options included developing a server based management system, or possibly leveraging existing technology.

In August of 1995 Bentley formalized a relationship with Opti inter-Consult, signed them as a Strategic Affiliate and took on a partial ownership in the company.  Opti Inter-Consult was a small Finland based company that was founded in 1990. It was the developer of TeamMate, which was a Document Management System exclusively distributed by Bentley.  Opti Inter-Consult had a suite of products based on Document Management and Facility Management. 

The following year Bentley acquired the remaining shares of Opti Inter-Consult and split the two product lines in half. The Facilities Management products went to a newly formed joint venture with Primavera named WorkPlace Systems.  With George Church as its president, the newly formed company focused on the lifecycle of facility asset management.  George already had several years experience with Bentley and Intergraph and was a good fit for the joint venture, which was then a strategic affiliation between both Bentley and Primavera.  WorkPlace Systems developed several products including ActiveAsset Manager, ActiveAsset Planner, and ActiveAsset Inquirer.

EJA