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Egnyte provides a unique value proposition for customers in the Architecture Engineering and Construction (AECverticals. Customers in the construction vertical use Egnyte for sharing project files between headquarters and remote job-sites. Architecture and engineering firms generally work on large files. They leverage Storage Sync for on-premise collaboration and share these files with external vendors from the cloud.

We see several commonalities among our AEC customers. While hybrid cloud adoption and large files is a common trend across this cohort, we also see a growing usage of Autodesk’s Revit application. In many cases, Revit collaboration and sharing are critical for the business that customers pilot-test Revit on Storage Sync in a production-like environment during their trial period with Egnyte.

Revit and Storage Sync

Revit users collaborate with on-premise Storage Sync and share files on Egnyte Cloud

From an operational perspective, AEC customers expect Storage Sync to be a Windows Server replacement. Once Storage Sync is deployed on-premise, IT admins require all of their users to continue to use the same drive letter (for e.g. P:) as they did before migrating to Egnyte. During the migration phase, IT administrators move certain project folders to Storage Sync while the remaining data is still served from the Windows Server. They leverage Microsoft Distributed File System (DFS) to consolidate the project folder namespace across the Windows Server and Storage Sync.

After the Revit files are migrated to Storage Sync, the workflow for Revit collaboration is no different than Windows-based Revit collaboration. If a user wants to collaborate on a Revit project file, he will need to elevate the Revit Local file to a Central file using the File-based Worksharing mode and save the file. This enables other on-premise users to open the same file and work on different components of the project.

An important caveat to note is that Storage Sync is not a functional replacement for Revit Server. This implies that Storage Sync facilitates Revit-based collaboration only within a specific on-premise location and not across geographically dispersed offices. Even though you can deploy Storage Sync instances across multiple offices and synchronize files between these locations, Storage Sync does not have the application-specific locking awareness to detect and moderate Revit locks among several geographically dispersed collaborators.

Best Practices for Revit Collaboration

    • Configure Storage Sync with large memory and CPU: Revit is a resource-intensive application. If you have many users connected to a Storage Sync device, this can easily stress the system. Allocate at least 8 GB RAM and quad-core CPU on the Storage Sync virtual machine. If you plan to purchase a NETGEAR ReadyNAS device for Revit collaboration, look for ReadyNAS devices with higher memory and CPU specifications.
    • Optimize your folder structure for Revit collaboration: If you have project-based teams and Revit users collaborate within active projects, create a folder taxonomy that reflects project-based workflow. For instance, if you have engineering teams in Chicago and New York, you can create two top-level folders New York Projects and Chicago Projects and structure all active projects underneath this. This will enable you to choose only relevant folders for each Storage Sync instance in a given location.
    • Central Files co-located in a Storage Sync instance: If you want to leverage Revit’s File-based Worksharing mode, all the collaborators require to access the same Storage Sync instance. In other words, Revit users must open the file through their network drive letter, and not through Egnyte Connect Desktop App.
    • Remote workers who wish to work on a Revit central file will require to access the Storage Sync device over VPN.

Egnyte has partnered with Autodesk to provide a richer integration and seamless experience for our users. They can view their Autodesk files directly from their web browsers. We are also seeing an increased adoption of Revit and have been reaching out to our customers to understand how we can further improve our integration. The future bodes well for Autodesk users as we continue to invest our resources into improving our joint solution.