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What to consider when upgrading BIMcloud to v21's new server technology

Ed Brown
Graphisoft Alumni
Graphisoft Alumni

Overview of new BIMcloud server technology

From version 21 the BIMcloud Server can host projects from version 19 on forward.   ARCHICAD will still only open projects specific to its version, but less server instances are necessary to service multiple versions of ARCHICAD.    For instance, an ARCHICAD 19 client with the new server technology will open a version 19 project even if it is hosted on a version 21 BIMcloud Server.    This also means the new BIMcloud backup feature is available to all product versions from 19 on forward, if they are stored on version 21 BIMcloud Servers.


Basic Considerations

  • A v21 BIMcloud Server can host different ARCHICAD version projects, BUT
    • ARCHICAD 19 will only access v19 projects
    • ARCHICAD 20 will only access v20 projects
  • For the ARCHICAD client to open projects stored on a v21 BIMcloud Server
    • ARCHICAD 19 must be updated to a build higher than 9000
    • ARCHICAD 20 must be updated to a build higher than 6000
  • The v21 installer can upgrade only one BIMcloud Server on a machine, and only the latest
  • Projects can be transferred from BIMcloud Server 19 and 20 to BIMcloud Server 21 using Change Host
  • BIMcloud Server 18 can be managed with BIMcloud Manager 21, but v18 projects cannot be hosted on a BIMcloud Server 21
  • Hardware upgrades should be considered. Even with a new efficiency inherent with BIMcloud v21 -- reduced number of BIMcloud Servers -- the number of projects will likely grow, and hence there will, at least, be new data storage requirements.

An example upgrade

Other than re-installing from scratch there is no method to downgrade an installation, so it is important that we take the time to understand the options and their consequences ahead of upgrading the BIMcloud. An example upgrade will help us understand the process.   In the following example a BIMcloud  hosted on two machines will be upgraded. The v20 Manager and two Servers (v18 and v20) reside on one machine while a v20 server is hosted on a second machine   The second machine will be disconnected after its project is transferred. From the BIMcloud Manager the setup is summarized:
The upgrade process will be the following:
  1. Obtain the BIMcloud v21 installer
  2. Run the BIMcloud v21 installer to upgrade the BIMcloud Manager
  3. Run the BIMcloud v21 installer to upgrade the v20 BIMcloud Server
  4. Use Change Host to move a project from a secondary v20 BIMcloud Server hosted on a different machine (MacServer-v20)
  5. Rename the v21 BIMcloud from PCserver-v20 to PCserver to emphasize its new multi-version nature
  6. Disconnect the MacServer-v20 BIMcloud Server, since it is no longer necessary
The final, upgraded BIMcloud will look like this:
The installer will need to be run twice on the machine that hosts the Manager and the 2 Servers.

First run of the installer

The first run upgrades the BIMcloud Manager. Other than a dialog that will require the password of the masteradmin, the process is a matter of acknowledging the requirements of the upgrade process through a set of screens that you must okay through. The BIMcloud Servers are not considered in the first run of the installer. The result of the first installer run is the following:

Second run of the installer

The second run of the installer will present options. Now, there are two options that make sense for us:
  • Upgrade BIMcloud Server 20 to 21
  • Install BIMcloud Server 21
If we were to install BIMcloud Server 21 then we would be adding a new BIMcloud Server. This would introduce new burdens on our computer’s resources. Do note, each BIMcloud Server has its own memory and CPU overhead. Here, it would be better to upgrade v20 to v21 than to add a new server. In this fashion, we will not increase the number of servers.  In a later step we will move the project from the secondary v20 Server to reduce the BIMcloud server number by one. After the upgrade completed I shared a new project to illustrate the new functionality.   In the below screenshot you can see how different versions and build numbers are hosted on the same server.
As part of the upgrade of the BIMcloud Server 20, build 5011 projects are present, but not accessible with ARCHICAD 20 build 5011.   This type of error will be received by ARCHICAD 20 clients with the old build numbers:
Only ARCHICAD version 20 clients with builds greater than 6000 can communicate with the new BIMcloud!  So, users should leave their projects (or at least send in all their changes) before the upgrade is started, since after the upgrade the old builds of ARCHICAD will not be able to send &receive with the newly hosted projects. On the MacServer-v20 a secondary BIMcloud Server 20 there is one project.   We will use “Change host” to move it to the newly renamed PCserver.
In the below dialog if there were other servers, we could choose them now, but in this case, we only have the v20 server we upgraded to v21 and renamed.
As we expect there is no going back.  We will leave the old behind us.  Change host will only move project between the same version hosts or to one of a higher version.  Change host will not move projects to an older version BIMcloud server.
Change host will not work with v18 projects either:
After we disconnect the no longer needed MacServer-v20 the result is:
The v18 BIMcloud Server continues to be available in the BIMcloud Manager hierarchy, and as you may have noted hardly played a part in the upgrade process.

Installation scenarios

Version 18 BIMcloud Servers do not participate much in the v21 BIMcloud installation. If a BIMcloud has a v18 BIMcloud Server, it will continue to be available in the BIMcloud Manager and the v18 ARCHICAD clients will still be able to access it. There is no pressing decision you need to make with regards to v18 when you upgrade your BIMcloud. The arrangement of BIMcloud Servers more modern than v18 determine for you what upgrade options make sense. It would be tedious to discuss all arrangements of computers and BIMcloud servers.   Below are 4 stereotypcial arrangements that should provide guidance:
  1. One BIMcloud Server
  2. Two BIMcloud Servers (v19 and v20)
  3. Two BIMcloud Servers (v19 and v20), but logistically easier to upgrade v19, since it has more projects
  4. BIMcloud Manager is hosted on its own machine, while BIMcloud Servers are hosted on their own machines

Scenario 1: One BIMcloud Server

Schematically your setup resembles the below diagram. Perhaps it is a v20 BIMcloud server; what matters is you only have one BIMcloud server.
If at the time of v21 installation you do not wish to update your ARCHICAD clients to either build greater than 6000 for v20, or 9000 for v19, then you should choose an Install only method.  Likewise, the Install only option gives you more time to understand the features of v21 before bringing much of your production projects into a v21 environment.
The downside to the Install only method is there is no multi-select change host feature.   That is, when you decide to move your projects to the v21 BIMcloud Server due to its enhanced speed and fresh updates you will need to move projects one by one.
Advantages with install only
  • No need to update v19, or v20 ARCHICAD clients
  • Time to understand new features, paced migration
Advantages with install with upgrade
  • No need to change host on many projects
  • No increase in overhead requirements of an additional BIMcloud server
  • The BIMcloud Backup will work with your v19 projects too
  • Only one BIMcloud Server must be maintained

Scenario 2: Two BIMcloud Servers (v19 and v20)

The short term simple solution is to add a new server.   In this case, there is no pressure to update the ARCHICAD clients.
If you already have two other servers, then by upgrading your v20 server (instead of installing a new v21 server)  you do not increase the number of BIMcloud Servers.   This can keep your host computer resources under check.    It also means as updates are issued you will have one less server that is no longer receiving updates.   The v21 BIMcloud server also has several performance enhancements that will be passed on to the v20 projects.   Though there is an additional chore.  You will need to update your v20 ARCHICAD clients to a build greater than 6000.
You can continue to reduce the server number, using change host.    After the v21 installation completes, you will need to update your v19 ARCHICAD clients to a build greater than 9000, if you haven’t already done this.  Then for each project hosted on the v19 BIMcloud Server you will need to run a change host.   Once all the v19 projects have been moved to the v21 BIMcloud server you can disconnect and uninstall the v19 BIMcloud Server.
Advantages with install only
  • No need to update v19, or v20 ARCHICAD clients
  • Time to understand new features
Advantages with install with upgrade
  • No need to change host on many projects
  • No increase in overhead requirements of an additional BIMcloud server
Advantages with change host and disconnect and uninstall
  • Reduction in overhead requirements of BIMcloud Server (instead of 3 BIMcloud Servers only 1)
  • Reduction in maintenance
  • The new BIMcloud Backup will work with v19 and v20 projects too
  • All versions from v19 enjoy performance enhancements and updates that come with the V21 BIMcloud Server

Scenario 3: Two BIMcloud Servers (v19 and v20) but logistically easier to upgrade v19, since it has more projects

Change host does not have a multi-select option, so each project must be moved individually. If you have significantly more projects on your v19 BIMcloud Server you might need to consider removing the v20 BIMcloud Server prior to upgrading your BIMcloud, since the v21 installation process will only upgrade the latest BIMcloud Server.

Scenario 4: BIMcloud Manager is hosted on its own machine, while BIMcloud Servers are hosted on their own machines

If you have a multi-host setup where the BIMcloud Manager is hosted on one machine and the BIMcloud Servers are hosted on different machines, then the process is somewhat simpler:
  1. Update the BIMcloud Manager first
  2. Upgrade or leave AS IS each existing BIMcloud Server
You might also consider allocating a new machine to host a new v21 BIMcloud Server. If you have two BIMcloud Servers on one machine, then you have either a Scenario 2 or Scenario 3 situation. Unless you are averse to updating the ARCHICAD clients, it is best to upgrade each BIMcloud Server.   You will benefit from improved performance and updates which will soon cease for the older BIMcloud Server technology.   Additionally, you will be better equipped to balance the load of projects (v19-v21) over the BIMcloud servers you run.

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