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Thread: So...Any Tips or Plans for working from Home?

  1.    #1
    Member CRapai's Avatar
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    So...Any Tips or Plans for working from Home?

    We may be working from home soon because you-know-what. Any tips on working from home in Revit?

    I'm not sure what we are going to be doing here. As far as I know our VPN capabilities aren't really up to the task if a large percent of our workforce is forced to stay home. What other options are there? Take our PCs home. Many people here don't have computers capable of running Revit and even if they did I don't think we can just willy nilly install it on personal personal computers (yes two personals). Everything about modern workplaces is also about being tied into the companies servers so I feel like VPN is the only real option right now.

    What are people doing out there?

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    Forum Addict Andres Franco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRapai View Post
    We may be working from home soon because you-know-what. Any tips on working from home in Revit?

    I'm not sure what we are going to be doing here. As far as I know our VPN capabilities aren't really up to the task if a large percent of our workforce is forced to stay home. What other options are there? Take our PCs home. Many people here don't have computers capable of running Revit and even if they did I don't think we can just willy nilly install it on personal personal computers (yes two personals). Everything about modern workplaces is also about being tied into the companies servers so I feel like VPN is the only real option right now.

    What are people doing out there?
    Here in France Public transportation is working at the half of the capacity, schools will be closed since next Monday, supermarkets looks like The Walking dead and discotheques are closed too, but next Sunday the elections for Mayors will be open so you need to carry your own pen and wait behind the person in front of you at 1.5 meters or something like that , that way the "you-know-what" will stay away from you!!

    We are not authorized to work from home so I'm just waiting to see if one of my colleagues just get sick and that way we can work from home!!
    Last edited by Andres Franco; March 16th, 2020 at 07:35 AM.

  3.    #3
    Member CRapai's Avatar
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    It's strange I feel like we're worse off than other people that are less reliant on carefully controlled and server reliant software but way better off than people working in the service industry or healthcare. With schools closed here Monday as well, I might have to stay home. We considering a second shift as well, but that might work with everyone's schedule.

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    my firm has 4 offices and several individuals that live in completely different states that still telecommute. The office I'm in was the "guinea pig" / test office for using a cloud computing environment for all work. There were bumps and hiccups getting the cloud settings to a point where we can work online about as fast as working from our desktops. So for me and my office mates, working remotely is just like working in the office.

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    Administrator Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    VPN: VPN is playing with fire, if you are on workshared files sitting on an Office Server, somewhere. The machine actually running Revit is remote (at home with you) and its trying to push the model changes over the internet, in a non http way. It will eventually corrupt a model. This is a very very very bad thing to do, with Revit Workshared Files (most revit files). It will be the defacto "go-to" solution that most IT folks propose, because it works with just about every other type of file out there, and it is considered "normal." Its is a REALLY bad idea.

    RDP or Remote Control: Remoting in to your machine that is still physically at your desk, in the office, is viable, albeit a little laggy. But that lag is only experienced by you (the end user). Revit doesnt see it, and SWC and worksharing operations are all still local (the machine is still in the office). Obviously you need a machine at home to RDP in to the office (and youll need VPN to get to RDP, more than likely), but thats entirely different than VPN and trying to use revit running on the machine AT HOME. This doesnt have to strickly be Microsoft Remote Desktop, by the way: Citrix GotoMyPC, LogMeIn, MS RDP, and a bunch of others, all work.

    TIP, for those of you using standard Remote Desktop: It is 100% NOT TRUE that you cant use multiple monitors with Remote Desktop. See the attachments. That is actually a setting on the machine you are using to DO the Remoting. You can activate all of your monitors, so the remote session is larger. I work on RDP with two full monitors all the time.

    Real Virtual Workstations (VDI): As Leanne mentioned, companies whos end user workstations are running on a solution like VMware or Citrix, will barely have an issue, because they are all remoting in to the workstations, already. Its a solution that is made to work in situations like this. But, its also not something you implement in a week. So, if the company isnt already working on it, they probably arent using it to get around the COVID situation. VDI takes time to plan and implement, even if you go with VDI rental, like Advance 2000. If you go with a VDI purchase, it has a lot of moving parts and "growing pains" while you get it set up, but it pays for itself in convenience, and accessibility. If you want to know more about BUYING and OWNING your own VDI solution, you can shoot me an email for information (note: not information about a specific product, as i'm not in the hardware business) and i can tell you what to look out for, or what you want to know going in... since NOT all VDI vendors "know what they are doing."

    Revit Server: (I am adding this section in, just because an IT person brought it up in another thread, and it warrants clarification for the folks that arent seasoned Revit users already). Revit Server is NOT an officially supported Work From Home solution. RS is an application that runs on additional hardware (physical or virtual) at EVERY location you have staff members in, to enable worksharing between offices. It is NOT an "online server." Revit Server was originally created (years before BIM 360) as a solution for using Revit Worksharing across a WAN, but all on one domain. It enables a Windows Server machine (one per location collaborating) to cache models and keep them in sync, while users in each location communicate directly with their local Server Machine (called an Accelerator in the literature, but it is NOT a network accelerator). Revit Server is NOT meant to be used *over the internet.* It CAN be hacked/abused to do that (successfully, and fairly stable), but it is not simple to do, and requires a lot of work to configure. Also, moving models from standard worksharing to Revit Server is a very time intensive project, and a lot of things dont exist in Revit Server that people are used to having: File or Model or Project level permissions, being one of them.

    Long story short: Revit Server is not your WFH solution, unless you have a high threshold for tinkering, and manually configuring workstations for every users, and writing procedural documents about do's and dont's, because it isnt officially supported and has a LOT of rules that go along with abusing it in this way. (Yes, youll read on this forum that its possible, and it DOES work, 100%.)

    BIM360: BIM 360 wont solve issues like on-prem Autodesk Licenses, or Content Libraries, or what not, BUT: If your company machine is a laptop, and your project is on BIM360... Just go home. BIM360 is a bit safer to work over home internet, as its not the same file protocols as standard worksharing. Hell, ill open a BIM360 model anywhere. Airports, wifi, home, job trailer, whatever. You need to buy BIM360 licenses, and have them allocated, and you still need your normal Autodesk Licenses, which means if you are still on multi-user licenses folks will need to either borrow licenses, or VPN (JUST TO GET LICENSES, not to WORK OVER VPN). Then, working from models in BIM360 is a cake walk.

    All of our modeling projects at Parallax Team (well, most) are on BIM360. Its fast, as long as you have "decent" internet. And then, if your home internet sucks, you'll realize just how bad it can be with bad internet. LMAO.

    One thing (for the IT folks who are reading) to be aware of: BIM360 will make short work of a small Hard Drive. If you have a project that has 4 models (as an example: Arch, Str, MEP, and Interiors), with standard Worksharing on a network, your local machine only makes a copy (on the C drive) of the one you are opening. The other three live link off the network location. With BIM360, ALL FOUR are copied in to your Local AppData. And they are obscurely named. But even if they werent, you dont want to clean them out, as doing so makes the opening times OBSCENELY long. So, i tell our clients: If you are going to work on BIM360, shove a 1TB drive in your laptop, and call it a day. And full disclosure: I put at least 2TB in all of our laptops. Some of them have 4TB. Yes, some clients are getting by with 512GB drives, as they only have a couple of models on BIM360. But dealing with HARD drive replacements isnt something i enjoy.

    ---

    All this to say: No amount of "inconvenience at work" or "missing project deadlines" is worth risking members of the population. If your company doesnt have a WFH plan or WFH capabilities, then hopefully they are sensible enough to still send you all home, and have you spend the time working on other things, even if project work isnt getting done. The name of the game right now is to slow down/delay the speed of the outbreak severity. We arent going to stop it, but we have to slow it down to allow the Healthcare sector to operate under or at capacity. That means we need to NOT be gathering.

    I told my wife to pack up her office **** and come work in my office (at home). And (thankfully) we are 100% remote already, so its not an issue for us.

    EDIT: I am adding a few additional sections to this post, for folks that happen across it due to the COVID-19 situation.
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    Last edited by Twiceroadsfool; March 24th, 2020 at 03:40 PM.

  6.    #6
    Member CRapai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twiceroadsfool View Post
    VPN: VPN is playing with fire, if you are on workshared files sitting on an Office Server, somewhere. The machine actually running revit is remote (at home with you) and its trying to push the model changes over the internet, in a non http way. It will eventually corrupt a model.

    RDP or Remote Control: Remoting in to your machine that is still physically at your desk, in the office, is viable, albeit a little laggy. But that lag is only experienced by you (the end user). Revit doesnt see it, and SWC and worksharing operations are all still local (the machine is still in the office). Obviously you need a machine at home to RDP in to the office (and youll need VPN to get to RDP, more than likely), but thats entirely different than VPN and trying to use revit running on the machine AT HOME.

    Real Virtual Workstations: As Leanne mentioned, companies whos end user workstations are running on a solution like VMware or Citrix, will barely have an issue, because they are all remoting in to the workstations, already. Its a solution that is made to work in situations like this. But, its also not something you implement in a week. So, if the company isnt already working on it, they probably arent using it to get around the COVID situation. VDI takes time to plan and implement, even if you go with VDI rental, like Advance 2000.

    BIM360: BIM 360 wont solve issues like on-prem Autodesk Licenses, or Content Libraries, or what not, BUT: If your company machine is a laptop, and your project is on BIM360... Just go home. BIM360 is a bit safer to work over home internet, as its not the same file protocols as standard worksharing. Hell, ill open a BIM360 model anywhere. Airports, wifi, home, job trailer, whatever.

    And then, if your home internet sucks, youll realize just how bad it can be with bad internet. LMAO.

    All this to say: No amount of "inconvenience at work" or "missing projct deadlines" is worth risking members of the population. If your company doesnt have a WFH plan or WFH capabilities, then hopefully they are sensible enough to still send you all home, and have you spend the time working on other things, even if project work isnt getting done. The name of the game right now is to slow down/delay the speed of the outbreak severity. We arent going to stop it, but we have to slow it down to allow the Healthcare sector to operate under or at capacity. That means we need to NOT be gathering.

    I told my wife to pack up her office **** and come work in my office (at home). And (thankfully) we are 100% remote already, so its not an issue for us.
    Thanks for clarifying the terms for me. I meant remote control thru a VPN in my first post.

  7.    #7
    Forum Addict Andres Franco's Avatar
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    I'll be fine If I can work from home, my work station is a laptop so no problem to carry it to home, my internet is very good so no problem either, only eventual problem will be the access to our servers but i guess a good it guy can solve that easy

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    Administrator Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andres Franco View Post
    I'll be fine If I can work from home, my work station is a laptop so no problem to carry it to home, my internet is very good so no problem either, only eventual problem will be the access to our servers but i guess a good it guy can solve that easy
    There is no magic, to solving it.

    If the IT person is good and knows a lot about AEC and Revit, they will know they cant solve it with typical VPN. if they are a *typical IT person* they will tell you the typical IT thing, which is: You can use VPN, and access files on the server. And then in a few days, we will be talking about your models being wrecked.

  9.    #9
    Forum Addict Andres Franco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twiceroadsfool View Post
    *typical IT person* they will tell you the typical IT thing, which is: You can use VPN, and access files on the server. And then in a few days, we will be talking about your models being wrecked.
    That's exactly the answer I got this morning when talking about this situation with our IT Guy

  10.    #10
    Member FBlome's Avatar
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    Setting up remote desktop access to your office computer is relatively easy and fast if you use one of several platforms like Teamviewer, AnyDesk, RemotePC, etc. They all have admin capability if you want, so whoever is in charge can control access etc. Basically install on each end, create log-in identities, set up remote access password at the office computer, and make sure the office computer is set up for auto-restart if the power goes out. You shouldn't need to tweak router settings unless IT set up a specific firewall setting against this.

    I've used all the above RDT over the years, and settled on AnyDesk hitting the sweet spot.

    The downside is not being able to reboot a frozen computer if you're not already logged in. That requires a human pushing the button, or hey maybe an Alexa enabled robot finger? "Hey Alexa, give my computer the finger!"
    Last edited by FBlome; March 13th, 2020 at 04:18 PM.

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