We are an office with around 30 architects using Archicad on Mac and have been working with Teamwork under AC13 for the last few months.
Not all of our projects have been converted to AC13, nor have seen the neccesity of Teamwork, so the BIM server only hosts half a dozen medium sized projects and has a dozen regular users. This of course will develop and will see 90% of the 30 or so projects per year using teamwork.
Most recently we have been receiving, all at the same time, regular "failed to connect to server" messages when requesting anything of the BIM server (reserve element/send-receive...). Looking into this it became obvious that the problems arose when someone was re-entering a project after having crashed (a daily occurence, usually for synchronisation problems), sharing a .pln or simply sending and receiving. Wait a couple of minutes and connecting isn't a problem.
As the BIM 13 for mac is only 32 bit compatible, is it possible that it is having trouble coping (already)? Archicad Wiki describes 32bit BIM as only being useful "when a few users will be accessing small projects", which may or may not actually be our case, but soon will not be.
The guide that comes with Archicad states that to improve performance we should install multiple BIM servers. The inference being that far from being scaleable depending on hardware, the 32 bit version is self-limiting. Without a server activity monitor like in AC14 we cannot know for sure.
Is there a rule of thumb concerning how many projects/users can use a 32bit server before it starts playing up? Is installing multiple 32 bit servers on our standalone server the solution? Does the 64 bit BIM that comes with AC14 significantly improve server performance?
We have bought a couple of licences for AC14 and have installed that BIM server (AC13 compatible) with the intention of testing it with our current projects but (clever!) neither the activity monitor nor project history works for the AC13 files... Basically the only way to know if it will help is if we upgrade the whole office to AC14.
Our experience with larger firms who have 3-4 larger projects are "active" at the same time with 3-4 users using each project concurrently on the BIM server is that memory usage often goes over the 4GB limit that a 32-bit BIM server could effectively handle. So yes, the 64-bit server is inevitable in such situations. (You can not install 2 BIM servers on one computer). Also, there had been scenarios in ArchiCAD 13 when a single user could "lock up" the BIM server alone. These bottleneck situations have been removed in ArchiCAD 14, so I think you will probably experience much smoother Teamworking with 14.
It's hard to calculate how much RAM a project will use, as it depends on the size of the project, the number of joined users, and the type of work you do/ sending habits of the users. But you might be able to monitor the server activity in the Activity Monitor.
Thankyou for your answer. We had guessed that this would be a the case (being obliged to use a 64bit BIM server), but it is always reassuring to get official feedback.
The obvious question now is, have you had many problems running AC13 files on a AC14 server (apart from being "blind" with no activity monitor and no projet history)?
Again, my guess is that the best thing to do is to upgrade the whole office, but as we have only "recently" upgraded to AC13 (six months ago), I must be able to justify the additional outlay to those who sign the checks.
The server is multi-modular, so you can keep both 13 and 14 projects on it. Read the documentation about the migration process. It's pretty easy. Try migrating one project, see how it performs in 14, and then eventually migrate the others. Pace it out, don't do it all at once.
One more thing: Once you migrated everything, and you are sure you won't use 13 anymore, uninstall the 13 module. The BIM Server folder contains separate uninstallers for each module. You can just uninstall the 13 module with this dedicated tool. Maintenance will be easier if you don't have an idle BIM server module running for nothing.