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RE: AutoCAD & Network Questions

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John:

I sent you a reply to your question back in January - did you not receive it?

>> When using PC's for AutoCAD across a network I've found that there is a noticeable drop-off in workstation performance (speed).  Why is this?  Is there a lot of file swapping going on, in addition to file saves?  If so, how can I set up AutoCAD to use the local workstation disk drive for file swapping and temporary file saves while still saving the drawing files at "Save" or "End" commands to the network server. <<

This is a complicated question. The answer depends on lots of factors, including AutoCAD version, network operating system, client operating system, network client drivers, network wiring, and server and workstation hardware.

In your questions, it's not clear whether you mean that the AutoCAD 

program is on the server, the drawing files are on the server, or both.

Local hard disk access usually will be faster than network hard disk access, but the difference shouldn't be huge (assuming relatively modern and properly configured hardware, operating systems, and application software). If you're saving or copying a large DWG file, you might notice that it takes a couple of seconds longer with a network disk involved. But if it's much more than that, then something probably is wrong.

By default, AutoCAD R14 saves temporary files to the local hard disk (check PREFERENCES, Files tab, Temporary Drawing File Location). In previous versions, there are settings in the CONFIG menu for various temporary files, and I think that most of the defaults are in the drawing directory. Thus you should redirect those to the local hard disk.

Other things to check:

Is there adequate memory in the workstations? If AutoCAD is swapping all the time in larger drawings, then more memory will help.

Is the network configured and operating properly? There are lots of potential network questions, including: Is the server hardware adequate for your needs (memory, processor, disk subsystem, etc.)? Is utilization too high? Is the wiring working correctly? Is performance consistent or erratic? You can research some of these questions with operating system tools such as NT's Performance Monitor or Windows 95's System Monitor, but it's probably best to let a network expert do it.


>> And on this topic, can I load the drawing file from the network server and when I save, do so to both the network server and the local workstation, thereby providing an automatic back-up copy? <<

There's no setting in AutoCAD to make this happen. I suppose that there might be some special operating system utility to do it, but you'd be better off putting the money and effort into a reliable and robust network configuration. If you're losing drawings, then something is wrong. 


>> On a related topic, have you also experience network traffic/volume problems while running other office programs?  The Etabs program (not the Windows input module) generates a lot of DOS-based network swap files.  Any suggestions on how to handle this and similar issues while still maintaining the benefits of centralized network file storage and backup. <<

I haven't used ETABS in a while, and I don't know whether the current version allows you to control swap file location -- CSI would know. If so, then you can direct swap files to the local hard disk (assuming that it has enough free space, of course).


- Mark Middlebrook