BIM Coordinator Program (INT) April 22, 2024

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Installation & update
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Teamwork Server and NAS

Robert Nichols
Advocate
I've been looking into moving our small mac-based office's data onto NAS storage unit for ease of file sharing, RAID setup, and off-site synchronization. We're currently using Mac OS X Server, which is essentially an unsupported product and making me crazy/nervous for many reasons.

But a large proportion of our data is represented by Teamwork project files. If Teamwork is unable to work with NAS, then it's not a smart solution for our office.

I know GS recommends local storage for TW server, but I think that recommendation is mostly to make sure volumes are mounted when BIM Server starts up. This could be managed.

Is anyone out there using TW with NAS? I'm particularly considering Synology 1515+.

The self-contained RAID and connectivity features are very compelling. But I don't want to have one data strategy for TW and another for all the other uses.

If not NAS, what are other small offices doing to keep data fast, safe, and low-maintenance?
Mac Studio, 32gb ram, ArchiCAD v26 (Apple Silicon) MacOS 13
9 REPLIES 9
Istvan Moharos
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
Hi Robert,

Basically, the disk is the most important component for the BIM Server because its operations are highly I/O intensive. We usually do not recommend external disks, because in most of the cases these disks are not enterprise level solutions, and cannot meet the necessary requirements.

- BIM Server needs at least 100 MB/s read AND write speed for the proper operation.
- The connecting cable(s) must be able to handle the above speed as well. E.g.: connecting with one 1 GBit Ethernet cable is not enough because that means circa 125 MB/s for the read AND write operations, which would be only 62 MB/s for each.
- The BIM Server must have full access to the disk.
- As you mentioned, the disk must be mounted before BIM Server starts and the disk must be accessible at all time > because of this the best if the external solution has an own power supply.
- If other applications also use the same disk – for example you want to use the same disk as a file server, which operations are also highly I/O intensive – then the disk and the cable must be able to handle the load when teamwork users and file server users use the disk at the same time (the file server and the BIM Server will be competing against each other for the resources).

The mentioned solution – Synology 1515+ – meets the above, so if you choose reliable and fast HDD into it (min. 7200 rpm), then it is okay.

Otherwise how large project do you work on in teamwork? If you have many large projects (average 2-3 GB), then maybe a RAID solution connected by thunderbolt directly just to the server machine is a better choice (e.g.: Promise Pegasus, LaCie).

Kind regards,
Istvan
    István Moharos

    Manager, Technical Services

    GRAPHISOFT
    Anonymous
    Not applicable
    Struggling with same question here.

    I'm thinking about ditching the Mac Server with Promise Pegasus R6 (a horrible interface on that one, it's fast alright) and replacing it with a NAS – preferrably a QNAP since we've had one earlier and I really liked it. Just I can't figure out exactly how powerful of a NAS we'd be needing.

    We have a environment of about 20 workstations and we'd be using the NAS primarily as a file server for regular ArchiCAD projects and other stuff but if it works, then for the BIM server as well.
    So which processor / amount of RAM / RAID setup?
    I've been thinkin about the QNAP TVS871-i3-8G with 2TB 7200 rpm disks on RAID6 (or would RAID10 be more convenient since we're dealing with highly I/0 intensive work?) – but like Istvan mentioned, easiest would be to connect the BIM server with thunderbolt – TVS871 it lacks the thunderbolt. The one with thunderbolt would be TVS882T-i5-16G but it's twice as expensive.

    Asked a local IT support provider what they would suggest: QNAP TS1685 with 2x10Gb LAN and 1TB SSd drives on RAID 10. It would be cool, but the price tag is quite ridiculous.

    Maybe just to get the TVS871 for fileserver and backup purposes and then continue using the Pegasus with a Mac and backing it up with TimeMachine to the new NAS?
    Anonymous
    Not applicable
    With more than about 4 users I would go with a dedicated server, how do you control security, access, email, backups etc with just a NAS? Failure and recovery?
    A reasonable out of the box server from Dell or HP could be had for not much more than a reasonable NAS. We use our NASs for archive, backups (in addition to remote backups) and photos but not for storage of active project files.

    Scott
    Anonymous
    Not applicable
    sboydturner wrote:
    With more than about 4 users I would go with a dedicated server, how do you control security, access, email, backups etc with just a NAS? Failure and recovery?
    A reasonable out of the box server from Dell or HP could be had for not much more than a reasonable NAS. We use our NASs for archive, backups (in addition to remote backups) and photos but not for storage of active project files.

    Scott
    – control security
    As we're doing now; using firewall and VPN connections.
    – access
    The nas has access control. We have really simple file access structure.
    –email
    We use Office 365.
    – backups
    QNAP has backup software with versioning by default.

    One thing I forgot to mention: now we have 100% OSX environment and one (maybe the only) thing I've liked about OSX server is that it's light and easy to use.
    What I'm trying to avoid is Windows server – I think it's a really good option if you have bigger and more complicated environment but for us it feels too heavy, clumsy, and complicated. I'm not too thrilled about the licensing model MS has on server either.
    Plus most NASs have AFP sharing by default. SMB performace on Macs isn't that good.

    NAS feels simple enough for us and I like to keep things as simple as possible.
    Erwin Edel
    Rockstar
    I'm rather clueless about server setups and whatnot, but can tell you that mac with windows server using SMB is a pain in the behind.

    We use both windows workstations and macbook pro in our office and the macbook have a dodgy connection to the server with SMB due to (as I understand it) poor implementation of SMB by Apple.
    Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten
    www.leloup.nl

    ArchiCAD 9-26NED FULL
    Windows 10 Pro
    Adobe Design Premium CS5
    Anonymous
    Not applicable
    Hi, we are a 10-person Mac-based architecht company thinking about what hardware we should use for the Teamwork server and the file server.

    1) One way to go would be a Synology (DS1517+, RAID10, 4 WD Red Pro 7200rpm harddrives) for the fileserver - here we would store non-Teamwork Archicad projects and also other files (work, excel, pdf …). The Teamwork server cannot be installed on a Synology so we would need another machine for this - for instance a Mac Pro. We would store the Teamwork files on the Mac Pro. This setup means the Teamwork server has local access to the Teamwork files. It also means there are two fileservers on the network.

    2) Another way to go would be the same setup as above, but also store the Teamwork files on the Synology. The Mac Pro (which has the Teamwork server installed) would need to access the Teamwork files over the 1Gb LAN. As far as I understand this is what Robert, the starter of this thread, is contemplating.

    As far as I understand Istvan, he says 2) would work. My thoughts about his criteria:
    Teamwork server needs at least 100 Megabyte/s read and write (not at the same time, I guess) speed to the drives. A Gb Ethernet network would satisfy this because Gb supports 1 gigabits/s - about 100megabyte/s speeds both ways (up and down) at the same time (duplex).
    A connection cable that can handle this. I think a 1Gb ethernet cable would be sufficient because the cable is duplex - it supports 1Gb upload and and 1Gb download at the same time. A cat6 cable of less than 55 meters would support 10Gb Ethernet and would be more than good enough. I think the limiting factor would typically be the NIC on the Synology or the Mac Pro. You can set up Link Aggregation. Is the Teamwork server able to take advantage of Link Aggregation?
    The Synology would run 24/7 so it would always be available.
    If the Synology also is a fileserver for other files, access could go below 100 megabyte/s for the Teamwork server, because the fileserver would use some capacity. So I guess then this setup would not work?

    Am I correct in my considerations?
    Does anybody have experience with this setup?
    Would 1) or 2) be better?

    Kind regards.
    Anonymous
    Not applicable
    Would be very interesting to get Graphisoft's input on Peder's question. We are a company with about 30 people all mac. We are getting a Synology DS1817+ with Western Digital RED 6TB. We are setting up the BIM servers on a Mac Pro . All team files , solo files and project documents will be stored on the DS. We hva CAT6 cables from the machines to all the switches and CAT5e from the Switches to the clients.
    felcunha
    Expert
    AFAIK you can't store teamwork files in a nas
    Felipe Ribeiro Cunha

    AC 26, macOS Monterey
    Anonymous
    Not applicable
    A NAS does not really have sufficient capacity to be used to share files for anything more than a small office (1 to 5 person) you really should be using a dedicated file server.
    I would recommend having servers dedicated to specific tasks, we use a HP ML350 Server that is running Windows Server 2016 that is virtualised to several servers, one for logins general file and print services, one for our office management software, one for exchange services, and another that is for BIM server. Each virtual server has its own network card in the physical server so network bandwidth is not an issue and all VMs are connected to a RAID 10 array so waiting for files is minimised. This setup is really the minimal setup I would consider for 30 users skimping on basic hardware will cost you many times more than the cost of the server from lost / reduced productivity; 30 users losing 15 minutes a day waiting for files will lose you 1875 hours per year and at a billing rate of A$150 per hour would mean over $281000 lost income per year for a server that would cost less than $20000.

    Regards
    Scott
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