If your team is challenged trying to find past revisions of digital prototypes for printing or viewing; if team members prematurely or accidentally use the wrong manufacturing drawings for production; if industry and company standards are not being adhered to; if batch printing of the correct set of drawings is tedious, then Autodesk Vault could help with your team-based design.
Perhaps Vault is already easing your pain around the digital prototyping process. Then the next step is to ensure that you are using it for optimal results. Once the Vault server and clients are installed and bulk data is loaded, following are suggested strategies for using Vault to greatest benefit.
1. Require unique names.
To manage files and avoid duplicate file names, turn on “Enforce Unique File Names” from the Vault client pull down menu: Tools -> Administration -> Vault Settings. For other administrator best practices, see the Autodesk Knowledge Network for “Administration – Files.”
2. Standardize the upload process
Leave “Disable Check In of Design Files” selected. This prevents users from dragging and dropping CAD files into the Vault. Ensure that all data is uploaded to the Vault using Vault add-ins for client applications to check new files into Vault. For example, you can add files to Vault using the Inventor Vault Add-in. Using AutoLoader, up to 5,000 CAD files can be safely bulk uploaded at a time. To learn more, see “Autoloader.”
3. Backup your Vault
This should be a given, because we’ve all experienced that “OH NO” moment when something wipes out files that are essential to our work. So administrators should take the time up front and be prepared. The backup can be created and restored from the Autodesk Data Management Server (ADMS) console, which automates both backing up and restoring. The ADMS will track the number of days since the last backup, the number of incremental backups since the last full backup and whether the server is eligible for an incremental restore. A good method for automating the backup is to create a batch file that can be executed on a schedule using Windows Task Scheduler. For proactive administration, you can even script for log file creation and notification.
4. Have a Backup Recovery Plan
Imagine your worst case scenario for data loss, then plan for it. (This might include getting fired and living under a bridge.) Then develop a documented plan so anyone can follow it if you’re not in the office on the day the “worst case” actually happens – think “Murphy’s Law.” Keep your plan up to date so you stay ahead of changes to server environments. The Autodesk Knowledge Network article, “What is a Vault Disaster Recovery Plan” covers a variety of restore scenarios and suggests solutions. At the very least, it will scare you into developing a plan immediately. Stay familiar with the process of restoring by practicing restoring to a non-production Vault Server periodically – Autodesk recommends once a month.
5. Run Maintenance
To ensure that the SQL database is optimized for performance, an administrator should run the scheduled maintenance plan every week after-hours when everyone is logged out. It’s important to check afterward to confirm it was successful. A corrupted backup is not a backup at all. Maintenance plans will check database and transaction log files for optimal size and also check for inconsistencies in the database. For detailed information about maintenance plans, access the Autodesk Knowledge Network article, “Server Maintenance Part 6: Create SQL Maintenance Plan.”
Vault can alleviate challenges of digital prototyping and eliminate the tedium of team-based design. See the Applied Software blog article, “7 Enhancements to 2D PDFs in Vault 2020.” If you’re not using Vault or would like to talk to an industry expert about using it more efficiently on your team, contact Applied Software today. Applied can be your digital prototyping “pain reliever.”