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Drobo 5D performance in Revit [followup 1+yr old thread, no replies]
08-10-2016, 07:29 AM (This post was last modified: 08-11-2016 09:08 AM by biaadm.)
Post: #1
Drobo 5D performance in Revit [followup 1+yr old thread, no replies]
Hi all,

Our architecture firm purchased a Drobo 5D as a NAS file server replacement for an old server. We have extensive (cumulative up to 30min each workday per user) file access delays that are most prominent when using Autodesk Revit. The program uses a central model file stored on the Drobo that is accessed by 6-7 users simultaneously. I have been trying to fix this for over a year without success. We did not have these problems with our old Mac Pro 1,1 dedicated server. I've read that your competitor Synology product line (DSxxx+) works fine. I did not receive any response from Drobo support despite contacting them via online submission form/email several times while the product was within its warranty period.

Our hardware configuration goes:
iMac > 25' Cat5e cable> TRENDnet TEG S16Dg > 40' Cat5e cable > Netgear JGS524 > 25' Cat5e cable > Mac Mini 7,1 (i5 4260U, 8GB ram, 256GB SSD) > 5' thunderbolt cable > Drobo 5D (Firmware 3.2.0, HFS+ partition w/ dual disk redundancy on).

I posted about this in 2015 and received no replies.
http://www.drobospace.com/forums/showthr...http://www.drobospace.com/forums/showthread.php?

At first I thought the issue stemmed from an SMB mismatch. Our workstations use Windows 7 which uses SMB 2.1, our MacMini uses SMB 3 and the Drobo uses Linux, correct? I upgraded a workstation to Windows 10 (SMB 3) to test the SMB theory and it made no difference. I still got the error just as often. A description of the errors are linked below.

Error When Accessing a Workshared File
http://help.autodesk.com/view/RVT/2016/E...http://help.autodesk.com/view/RVT/2016/ENU/?guid=GUID-3ACEC2BC-8A9B-4833-8A12-EE

File Is Being Accessed by Someone Else
http://help.autodesk.com/view/RVT/2016/E...http://help.autodesk.com/view/RVT/2016/ENU/?guid=GUID-C81C84DD-2FCE-4FB2-887A-63

I have posted about this in several Revit support forums. The users there suggested I post here.
http://www.revitforum.org/worksharing-re...http://www.revitforum.org/worksharing-revit-server-c4r/30701-troubleshooting-slow-file-no-worksets-vmwsre-external-st

Below is some more info speculating that the issue is related to the NAS.

Autodesk support for non-Microsoft networks
https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/a...https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/autocad/troubleshooting/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/Support-for-non-Microsoft-networks.html?_ga=1.113912195.500159623.

Autodesk support for Network Attached Storage (NAS) and Storage Area Network (SAN) devices
https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/a...https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/autocad/troubleshooting/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/Autodesk-support-for-Network-Attached-Storage-NAS-and-Storage-Area-Networks-SAN.html?_ga=1.113912195.500159623.

NAS vs Server
http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/revit-arch...http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/revit-architecture/nas-vs-server/td

"At this time, NAS (and SAN) devices are not supported to work with Autodesk products.

Since Autodesk products use SMB to manage files, use of a NAS (or SAN) can cause issues like the ones you are seeing as there is now (at least) one more step the information has to go through before it gets read/written.”

Except Synology devices seem to work fine. Can someone please help me troubleshoot this?
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08-10-2016, 10:21 AM
Post: #2
RE: Drobo 5D performance in Revit [followup 1+yr old thread, no replies]
hi biaadm,
sometimes a post can be missed, (and there was an email blocking issue a while back from notifications that might have affected support streams) but it's good that you posted again Smile

i just had a look at your initial posting, and was wondering if you would be able to try a direct usb connection as a test?
(it may be the simplest test of a few ideas which are mentioned below)

another idea would be to try to see if there is any way that your application (ie autodesk) could be run on a DAS setup, for example the 5D is essentially a DAS model, and maybe if the auto desk program was installed onto the same mac server (which has the 5d directly attached to it as a sort of local storage), then that mac server could serve out to the users,

(this may be already what you do, though i wasnt sure based on revit seemingly having some issues on non-microsoft networks, if the revit software was actually installed on a windows machine and the data being pulled through the network from a mac-connected drobo.)

it seems as though the initial issue you had, is still there today (which might mean that you and your team are able to bear with it so far, since it is working just about, and that maybe changing things around might have too much downtime to be worth trying ideas that may not work, but maybe there is a way to test using only 1 environment at a time, such as just mac users on a mac network, and just windows users on a windows network, to see if it is the mixture of operating systems that is the problem?

is the main issue you are currently facing, essentially that it takes a certain amount of time for each user to transfer their required files? (if so, what speed do they get at the moment in MB/s?)

(it could just be that the program itslef is still not yet refined for certain devices or networks, though if you can try a test with a mac, a drobo, and say at least 2 mac networked users, how do things go?

(btw i have XP home SP2, a Drobo v1 with 2x 1TB/2x 1.5TB WD greens, & a bkp Drobo v2 with the same + a DroboShare: unused)
& a DroboS v2 with 3xWD15EADS &2x1TB in DDR mode on win7, & a drobo5D (all usb)
  • btw i did a sustained (write) operation for about 6 hours, and got 13.2MB / sec ...objection? "sustained" :)
    (16.7MB/s on a v2 & 47-96MB/s drobo-s)
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08-10-2016, 11:12 AM (This post was last modified: 08-10-2016 11:49 AM by biaadm.)
Post: #3
RE: Drobo 5D performance in Revit [followup 1+yr old thread, no replies]
Paul,

Thank you for getting back to me. We do intend to move the file (model) to a network share directly on the Mac Mini once our deadline passes. Do you mean a direct USB connection to one of the workstations, then setting that as the network share point?

We were under the impression the 5D was a NAS, not DAS device. I'll try contacting Autodesk. The central model file is on the server, and each workstation has its own local copy that users work on. It is synced, continuously and intermittently depending on the task, with the central model to update it.

We still experience the issue, but have been pressed for time due to deadlines and are simply dealing with it. I'll have the error in the program occur up to 91 times each day for 20-30 seconds each time it occurs.

I noticed it seems to occur more frequently when there are more users accessing the Drobo. Today only three of our staff are in (instead of the usual 8) and the error has happened noticeably less. It leads me to think there's a correlation between the two.

The software is installed on Bootcamp running Windows 7. Our workstations are iMacs that dual-boot. The Drobo has four, 2tb Seagate drives @ 7200rpm.

Yes, the issue we're facing is that it takes an unusually long time for each of the local files saved on each staff member's workstation to sync with the central model located on the server. This causes the error message and locks us from working on the file.

250Mb file. Using Lan Speed Test Lite. Windows 7 workstation to Drobo where central model file is located.

763Mbps write trial 1
713Mbps read trial 1

757Mbps write trial 2
678Mbps read trial 2

752Mbps write trial 3
614Mbps read trial 3

744Mbps write trial 4
679Mbps read trial 4

The program is designed to be used by significantly larger architecture firms with far more users accessing the file at once than we have.
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08-19-2016, 10:19 AM (This post was last modified: 08-19-2016 10:20 AM by Paul.)
Post: #4
RE: Drobo 5D performance in Revit [followup 1+yr old thread, no replies]
thanks for the info biaadm,

while i only use Das models myself (including a 5D), there actually are some drobo NAS models (such as the 5N which is similar with 5 drive slots, or some larger ones that are more powerful or hold more drives), and it may be a case that an actual NAS drobo could handle locked files or shared files in a better way since you have a network of users (though i have not used any myself and am not an expert in networks i must admit)

for the idea though, and as long as you have a backup of some of the files you are using beforehand (to play safe), then i would try a direct usb connection with the drobo to a workstation, and have some users access the file through that.

for example, if the drobo 5d was originally setup via a windows machine and is using NTFS, then you could connect it to a windows workstation and then to try out some tests, such as the following:

- have a user on that workstation try accessing and using the file on the drobo
- have 1 network windows user (in this example) try acccessing and using the file on the drobo how you do
- and you can add some more users to expand the test to see how things go?

(btw i have XP home SP2, a Drobo v1 with 2x 1TB/2x 1.5TB WD greens, & a bkp Drobo v2 with the same + a DroboShare: unused)
& a DroboS v2 with 3xWD15EADS &2x1TB in DDR mode on win7, & a drobo5D (all usb)
  • btw i did a sustained (write) operation for about 6 hours, and got 13.2MB / sec ...objection? "sustained" :)
    (16.7MB/s on a v2 & 47-96MB/s drobo-s)
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08-19-2016, 01:41 PM (This post was last modified: 08-19-2016 01:43 PM by biaadm.)
Post: #5
RE: Drobo 5D performance in Revit [followup 1+yr old thread, no replies]
Paul,

We ran a test a few minutes ago with the files in question moved from the Drobo directly to our server hard drive (Mac-Mini SSD). There was no noticeably performance difference and we received a similar amount of error messages. I'm unsure how to proceed but it seems the Drobo isn't the cause.
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08-22-2016, 01:21 PM (This post was last modified: 08-22-2016 01:22 PM by Paul.)
Post: #6
RE: Drobo 5D performance in Revit [followup 1+yr old thread, no replies]
ah, ok thats good (from the drobo perspective), but even if the main problem is still there, i think its still also good that the problem has been narrowed down a bit...

if there any other bits of info you have about the test you recently did, such as which computers it was with and how many users were using that file (if applicable) and how many 3d files (and filesizes) were in your test, it might help me or others to spot something?

when you can, maybe some more tests such as trying different files, might possibly narrow it down to a particular file?
(maybe when no one is using the systems or drobos, you could disconnect them from the mac, and run a mac hard drive filesystem check, and also a defrag of the mac computer only, just in case that helps?

(please do NOT run any defrags on the drobos though)

(btw i have XP home SP2, a Drobo v1 with 2x 1TB/2x 1.5TB WD greens, & a bkp Drobo v2 with the same + a DroboShare: unused)
& a DroboS v2 with 3xWD15EADS &2x1TB in DDR mode on win7, & a drobo5D (all usb)
  • btw i did a sustained (write) operation for about 6 hours, and got 13.2MB / sec ...objection? "sustained" :)
    (16.7MB/s on a v2 & 47-96MB/s drobo-s)
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08-23-2016, 02:02 PM (This post was last modified: 08-23-2016 02:11 PM by biaadm.)
Post: #7
RE: Drobo 5D performance in Revit [followup 1+yr old thread, no replies]
Paul,

Last questions, hopefully. We ran some more tests and are hopeful that upgrading all of our workstations to Windows 10 resolves the issue by ensuring all workstations (Windows 10/OSX Yosemite 10.10) and server (OSX Yosemite 10.10) use the same SMB version (3). I've read OSX 10.11 is causing other performance issues with SMB; we're avoiding it for now.

What version of SMB, if any, does the Drobo use for sharing across the network? In our case, does it use the same as the Mac-Mini it's plugged into?
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08-24-2016, 06:57 PM (This post was last modified: 08-24-2016 06:59 PM by Paul.)
Post: #8
RE: Drobo 5D performance in Revit [followup 1+yr old thread, no replies]
hi, am not sure about the version, though they may be another way to connect from a mac which might help, which is afp, for example as mentioned here?
https://myproducts.drobo.com/article/AA-01304

and also a note here about some other smb performance issues, (though for nas models)
https://myproducts.drobo.com/article/AA-01313

(btw i have XP home SP2, a Drobo v1 with 2x 1TB/2x 1.5TB WD greens, & a bkp Drobo v2 with the same + a DroboShare: unused)
& a DroboS v2 with 3xWD15EADS &2x1TB in DDR mode on win7, & a drobo5D (all usb)
  • btw i did a sustained (write) operation for about 6 hours, and got 13.2MB / sec ...objection? "sustained" :)
    (16.7MB/s on a v2 & 47-96MB/s drobo-s)
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10-20-2016, 02:30 PM (This post was last modified: 10-20-2016 02:33 PM by biaadm.)
Post: #9
RE: Drobo 5D performance in Revit [followup 1+yr old thread, no replies]
Hi all,

I wanted to provide a followup in case others are having similar issues given how little information I found online while troubleshooting this specific case. We purchased a Synology DS216+II and have not had any of the above problems since regardless of how many concurrent users access the files on the NAS. I'm unsure of the cause, however the people over at Revitforum have some theories,

"The current setup when saving is Windows > Mac > Drobo. The file permission problems through the Mac are likely related to how the Mac interacts with the various file systems in use here, as well potentially issues with SMB, which OS X is notoriously terrible with. Add to that Autodesk's home-baked file sharing system (worksharing/central file) which isn't designed to work via OS X. Macs use HFS+ and handles file permissions differently than Windows NTFS or Linux's (NAS) EXT3/EXT4. SMB is just the protocol for communicating between devices on the network. While the data flowing through SMB should be agnostic, the way file permissions are dealt with when they reach the other side may not be."

I don't think it's a fair comparison to conclude the Drobo is the issue since we have other problems with the Mac-Mini, however we still continue to have performance issues (delayed file access times for Windows or Mac files, finder sometimes taking 15-30s to display the contents of file folders) on the Drobo that we do not experience with the DS216+II. Unfortunately, since the 5D is a DAS we cannot plug it into the network directly and perform an apples to apples test.
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10-21-2016, 12:51 PM (This post was last modified: 10-21-2016 12:53 PM by Paul.)
Post: #10
RE: Drobo 5D performance in Revit [followup 1+yr old thread, no replies]
thanks for more info biaadm,
for the apples to apples, i guess short of getting a nas drobo, if you happened to know someone who could lend you their 5N (for a nas example) that could be the best way to see as things might go more smoothly that way.

another idea i had (but probably only for direct testing, since revit's workflow may not support ftp?), could be to try some tests via ftp. for example:

on the windows computer, to run an ftp server (with an ip and port for the service, but with ip ranges specified to essentially better whitelist which networked computers can reach it and other security etc), just to see how things behave with another windows (or mac) user, in terms of them connecting to the ftp service to retrieve a file, and also to connect to the ftp service to upload a file.

(you could also try the same sort of test, to host a server on the mac, and to connect to it via ftp from the other mac computer clients, and other windows computer clients) - please only try with spare copies of files, just in case the ascii/binary mode was incorrectly set.

the ftp server should be turned off after you finish the testing, though if the functionality still works, then you could try different types ftp like sftp if you found any improvement or any benefit to your process, but how are the speed issues via ftp?

(btw i have XP home SP2, a Drobo v1 with 2x 1TB/2x 1.5TB WD greens, & a bkp Drobo v2 with the same + a DroboShare: unused)
& a DroboS v2 with 3xWD15EADS &2x1TB in DDR mode on win7, & a drobo5D (all usb)
  • btw i did a sustained (write) operation for about 6 hours, and got 13.2MB / sec ...objection? "sustained" :)
    (16.7MB/s on a v2 & 47-96MB/s drobo-s)
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