In my last post I zeroed in on a seemingly small update to the Thin Client in Vault 2019. Today I’d like to dive in and look at the most significant update made. This year, Vault has a new collaboration tool to – securely – host your design information online. Vault has historically had collaboration tools and they still go by the same name: Project Sync. Instead of hosting files using Buzzsaw, which has been discontinued, cloud collaboration with Vault now works with Fusion Team.
If you have been looking for a way to share your Vaulted CAD files with individuals outside of your corporate network, then this could be the solution. I’ve written about Vault Shared Views (added in the last release) recently which is capable of sharing design visualizations online. The Project Sync functionality takes that two steps further by allowing two-way communication of your original Vaulted files.
Before you can get started with Project Sync there are a few things that need to be in place. You'll need:
- Vault Professional 2019
- The Job Processor
- A subscription to Fusion Team with access to a hub & project
- The Desktop Connector for Fusion
Setting Up A Synchronization
Once you have everything in place you can setup the project sync tools. Log in to Vault as an administrator and go to Tools > Administration > Vault Settings > Collaborate Tab and select Configure… This opens the Cloud Drive Mapping dialog box.
To configure a new project folder to sync, select New… Enter a name, choose a Vault folder and then a cloud folder to synchronize between.
Note: If the cloud drive folder selection box appears empty then check that you are logged in to your Autodesk account in Vault and that you have access to a Fusion Team project with that same account.
Once you’ve set the name and folders, apply the settings. Your Vault users will now be able to perform manually triggered uploads/downloads with Fusion Team. You can take this a step further though and create scheduled folder synchronizations by adding folder(s) into the Schedule Folder Sync area below.
Here, multiple Vault folders can be added. All the Vault folders selected will upload to the cloud folder specified above and each of the Vault folders in the list can have its own synchronization settings on the right. These settings control:
- Whether files upload only, download only or sync bi-directionally.
- If synchronizations occur on an hourly interval (from 8-999 hours) or daily at a specified time.
- And, you can upload files based on a matching criteria on the filter tab.
An example of criteria to filter might be to only upload files of a specified Project number and whose lifecycle State is Released.
Synchronizing Files to Fusion Team
Whether you have setup a scheduled synchronization or if you are relying on manual uploads and downloads the Job Processor, in concert with the Fusion desktop connector, will be doing the actual work of synchronizing your files.
If you’ve created a scheduled synchronization, then there really isn’t much to do. Vault will automatically add a synchronization job to the job queue based on your settings. To manually upload data, select the file(s) to upload in Vault and choose Upload to Cloud Drive (from the toolbar or your context menu). Confirm the destination folder and select Upload to add the job to the queue.
Similarly, downloading files can be done by choosing Download from Cloud Drive, selecting the cloud folder and then the files to download. A download job is added to the job queue.
There's not much more to it than that but there are a few details worth pointing out:
- The Job Processor needs to be logged in with an Autodesk ID tied to Fusion Team in addition to its Vault login. It has also been updated with new synchronization job types.
- Synchronization jobs in the queue have the highest job priority (higher than DWF, PDF, Property Sync, etc.)
- Project Sync understands file relationships and will automatically sync child files required by a parent file.
- The Vault account that the Job Processor uses needs to have the Vault Configuration Admin role or higher. (I’m not sure this is technically required but I wasn’t able to get synchronizations working with a lesser role).
- Fusion Team has no file reservation capability tied to Vault so care needs to be taken not to edit files out of turn or files that are released, etc.
Here you can see the files uploaded to Fusion Team from my Chinook Winds Vault sub-folder. I only selected one assembly and all the parts required were included.
For file sharing across sites, within a corporate network, Vault replication is still the preferred choice. Now, with the new Project Sync tools in Vault Professional 2019 you can begin sharing files outside your organization's network as well. Not just shared views for markups but true collaboration using original design files stored in Vault.