SOLIDWORKS Support Monthly News – December 2018

Hello to all,

Welcome to the new edition of the SOLIDWORKS Support Monthly News!  This monthly news blog is co-authored by members of the SOLIDWORKS Technical Support teams worldwide.

 

Creating a fully replicated multi-site environment of SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional and SOLIDWORKS Manage

By Kevin Crawford

Have you wanted to know how you can set up a fully replicated PDM and Manage environment?  I am going to walk you through the basics of setting up replication of SOLIDWORKS PDM and Manage.  To set up a fully replicated secondary site, the site would require SQL Server, a replicated PDM archive server, and a Manage file server.  These components could be on the same server or multiple servers.

SOLIDWORKS PDM Archive and Database Replication

Since archive replication in SOLIDWORKS PDM has existed for a very long time and has been thoroughly documented, I won’t go in-depth explaining it.  For more details, see the SOLIDWORKS PDM Administration Guide.

Database replication in SOLIDWORKS PDM was introduced with the 2017 version and requires the purchase of Microsoft’s SQL Server Enterprise Edition.  Setting up database replication requires setting up a failover cluster in Windows Server and configuring the ‘AlwaysOn Availability Groups’ (AOAG) in SQL Server.  With AOAG, the primary site will handle both read and write operations and the secondary site will be used for read operations.  Users or groups will be assigned to access the secondary site through the PDM Administration tool.

The users accessing the secondary site will see a performance improvement with read operations, such as when viewing data on the data card or contains tab.  The users will still need access to the primary database for writing to the database, such as during check-in.

The details of setting up the failover cluster and AOAG are an IT function outside the scope of the normal PDM installation.  Information on the setup can found on Microsoft’s website and other sites.  We do explain the basics of setting this up in Knowledge Base Article S-072960 and an example on how to set up a test environment is explained in S-073461.

SOLIDWORKS Manage File Server and Database Replication

To setup replication in Manage, you need to first install the File Server on the server at the secondary site.  Database replication in Manage can utilize SQL Server ‘Transactional Replication’ between sites using SQL Server Standard edition but also can be configured to use ‘Always On Availability Groups’ in SQL Server Enterprise.  Since PDM requires the use of AOAG, this is the preferred method for Manage.

To set up database replication using ‘Always On Availability Groups’, ensure the failover cluster and an availability group is created and add the Manage database to the availability group.

After the database is configured in SQL Server and the File Server is installed, you will need to enable replication in Manage and create a secondary site.

To enable replication, go to the Administrative Options and under the Advanced section, select the General page.

To create a site, go to the Administrative Options and under the Advanced section, select the Sites page.  Create a new site and enter the URL for the file server of the new site.

Select the “Local database replication” tab and choose “Use a LOCAL database to read data (for this site)”.  Then enter the information for the replicated database.  This site will now be assigned to connect to the replicated database.

Any users that log into the secondary site will access the replicated database for read operations but write operations will still be pushed to the primary database.

When users access a document in Manage that does not exist on the File Server that they are connecting to, the file will be downloaded to the secondary File Server.

This should guide you through the steps required to configure PDM and Manage to create a fully replicated multi-site environment.

 

Verifying Backups is the Best Backup

By James Falconer

Most computer users now create backups of their data on a regular basis, which is a great thing that took years of convincing, reiteration, and hard-learned lessons. This is especially important for PDM administrators and users who create and manage incredibly valuable data.

In today’s world, we are constantly reminded of threats to our data. Ranging from ransomware to social engineering, and identity theft, we must now be more vigilant than ever to safeguard our data. These threats in combination with the possibility of failing hardware, data corruption, and simple mistakes, magnify the importance that backups are of utmost importance.

One component of a fully rounded backup strategy that is all too often missing is backup testing. This is where you restore your backup (Database and Archives) onto a sandbox machine and perform tests on the data. This would include reviewing logs to see if any errors were seen during restore, as well as running checks on the database. Batches of files and a few large assemblies should be run through regular work procedures (Checking out, checking in, push through workflow, etc). We also recommend that verification is performed at least once a quarter.

A fully documented verification testing document is beyond the scope of this article, but the basics should be performed by anyone who values their data. Based on the size and complexity of the vault, testing will differ based on many factors. But there are universal benefits that would be enjoyed by everyone who verifies their backups which include;

* Recovery becomes a regular and fully practiced procedure

* Recovery variables, such as how much time it takes, will become a known entity

* Recovery improves as this becomes a regularly tested component

* Recovery testing may help minimize problems if caught early enough (such as data corruption)

Verifying backups is a necessary step that should be a standard procedure for anyone managing and administering data, especially with SOLIDWORKS PDM. Once the verification procedure is created, scheduled, and run, anyone working with PDM should feel much more confident that their backups are there to do exactly what they were intended to do; Be a backup in case of problems.

 

SOLIDWORKS WORLD 2019 right around the corner

By Nicole Phillips

One great event you don’t want to miss is SOLIDWORKS WORLD!  For 2019 we’re back in Dallas, Texas at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center February 10-13, 2019.  There is still time to register and attend this great event.  Expand your knowledge with some of our available technical sessions.  Click this link to view the Agenda and events available to you.

 

Noteworthy Solutions from the SOLIDWORKS Knowledge Base

 

icon - SW Why is the ‘Enable performance pipeline’ option unavailable?
For more information, see Solution Id: S-075336.

In SOLIDWORKS® PCB, can I make a change to all of the symbols in the Schematics library at the same time?
For more information, see Solution Id: S-075246.

Icon - EPDM Using SOLIDWORKS® PDM 2018 SP1-SP4, why is performance slow when refreshing reference trees in the SOLIDWORKS add-in and in reference dialog boxes that display variables in columns?
To verify and resolve this issue, follow the steps in Solution Id: S-075446.

In a SOLIDWORKS® Plastics ‘Cool’ analysis, where can I find the Reynolds number for each cooling channel?
For additional information on where to find the Reynolds number, check out solution Id: S-075219.

How are the ambient conditions at the boundaries of the Computational Domain enforced in an external flow project?
For more information, see Solution Id: S-075324.


That’s it for this month. Thanks for reading this edition of SOLIDWORKS Support News. If you need additional help with these issues or any others, please contact your SOLIDWORKS Value Added Reseller.

 

Comments and suggestions are always welcome. You can enter them below.

Nicole Phillips

Nicole Phillips

Technical Customer Support Engineer, SOLIDWORKS, Americas at DS SolidWorks Corp.
I have been with DS SOLIDWORKS as a Technical Support Engineer since 2013. I provide support for our SOLIDWORKS PDM products. I also handle the SOLIDWORKS Support Monthly News blog.