Autodesk Vault 2014

There have been a few older threads from seasons past about teams using (or attempting to use) Autodesk Vault, but no real solid first-hand descriptions of teams using it in their workflow.

Well, I wanted to post here and say, I successfully installed Vault 2014 and so far it’s awesome. I’ve only just barely tested it with one client, but I can already tell this is going to be a fantastic way to manage our files. We had used a simple network share in the past, and it just wasn’t cutting it. I am so excited to finally be doing this the right way like a professional workplace would do. THANK YOU AUTODESK for making Vault Basic 2014 freely available!

The documentation is somewhat of a bear it get through if you actually read it all, but if you can wrap your head around the concept of it, and follow a few simple rules of usage, it seems really simple and a joy to include in the workflow. I had a little trouble understanding how to get existing files into the Vault, but it seems the Autoloader utility takes care of it okay. I will also add that the installation of Inventor 2014 seems very improved over 2012. Everything went smoothly.

My setup for the Vault server is a Dell Poweredge 1850 with two dual-core Xeons at 2.8GHz, 8 gigs of RAM, and two 10k RPM SCSI drives in RAID 1, running Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise. I think we should be okay on performance. I have backups setup to the local drive, and then I’m using a robocopy command in the backup batch file that copies the backups to a network share on a different server.

I can’t wait to put this in action. It really seems like one of those things you never knew you needed until you have it, and then wonder how you lived without it. Anyone else using Vault?

I’m glad you have it working! However, I currently don’t have 2014 Vault Basic working and would like some guidance. Vault was part of the 2014 Autodesk download. No installation errors on my Windows 7 Home Premium edition laptop. I also installed the SP1 for Inventor and the Vault update. I seem to have missed some Vault Basic configuration steps because I can’t login. At first I got the error dialog that IIS wasn’t running, but continue to get error messages even after starting IIS services. The latest error I get is, “Vault Basic 2014 could not find the Data Management Services in localhost.” The Autodesk instructions I read include some details about what’s included with the Vault Basic, but I fail to see necessary procedures for setting up the accounts, configuring the server software, and configuring the OS settings. I want to use Vault on my local machine for now, but upgrade to a network accessible server for the build season. I see this as a great tool for everyone to learn how to use. I would appreciate anyone help in pointing me to the correct documentation, or providing the correct procedure for making it work.

Thanks,
MJ, FRC mentor

It almost sounds to me like you haven’t actually installed the Vault Server. As far as I know, the Vault Client comes bundled with Inventor, but server does not. Get server from here:
http://www.autodesk.com/education/free-software/vault-basic

And then follow the installation guide here:
http://help.autodesk.com/view/VAULT/2014/ENU/?guid=GUID-BAE65F60-3486-47C7-A0C6-2C6191862F15

Thank you very much!
MJ, FRC mentor

We attempted to use Vault last season, but due mostly to access speed it was abandoned mid-season. We have since switched to Dropbox, which although not perfect, has worked a lot better for us than Vault.

Our problem with Vault is that it slowed us down too much. If your server is local and you can connect to it using a local network I think you’ll have better luck. The second you want to leave the building and connect remotely to that server, you may wind up very frustrated as you wait for files to transfer.

We have several CAD contributors and wanted to make it easy for everyone to work from home. While it did function just fine, it was too frustrating to use based on transfer speeds. Dropbox works much better for us because it synchronizes in the background. It doesn’t handle version control which is a bummer, but that is a tradeoff we were happy to make.

We last attempted to use Vault in 2012. I completely agree with the remote vs local thing posted above. We had our server hosted at my house, and did the CAD at the school. The school network blocked Vault, so we had to use the teams 3G network for connecting to it. Speed wasn’t too much of a problem, and it was fairly easy to setup and connect. The problem happened when somebody disconnected the 3G network while the CAD was uploading back to the server. This left the server in a broken state where nothing would work, because it still thought half the files were checked out, but the local computer thought they were all checked in. I didn’t have a backup at the time because I couldn’t figure out how to get it to work, and I couldn’t figure out how to check everything in and revert, so we just left the vault and went local copies of the CAD. Maybe this summer we will try it again, but we would really want to test it and know its failure states so we wouldn’t run into the same problem again.

All,

Good to read the comments on using Vault. I had many requests for Vault and that is why Autodesk made Vault Server Basic available as a free download.

In my blog and other papers I have posted here I recommend a gradual implementation of Vault, typically during the off-season.

Looking forward to hearing more feedback.

Well, almost two and a half weeks into the build season, we’re still REALLY enjoying Vault integration with Inventor, and the Vault client. Everything is running just dandy, and no significant problems to report so far. Even for just two users, it’s worth doing. We feel like we’re becoming pros at using Vault. I really like how you can check out an assembly, then open a part in the assembly, and it does not check the part out to you until you make an edit. I also really like that in the Vault client, you can “Remove reservation” if someone forgot to check something back in and they didn’t make any edits anyhow.

The only annoyance is it’s sort of a pain to use the Autoloader (just the steps required) but I do understand the purpose of it.

We just simply use our district’s Networked drive (the Resource or R drive), that has a project folder just for us. We had one person who was using their Google Drive (because he doesn’t trust the school’s IT guy), which caused problems for anyone else trying to open assemblies referencing this. Yesterday, we moved everything into the R drive, including the stuff in the person’s Google Drive. Once we found the Pack and Go option under Save As, it worked beautifully, moving all of the files to where we wanted and changing all of the assemblies references to there. I would highly recommend using Pack and Go for anyone trying to change how they are doing file management part way into the season. I don’t know about other versions, but in Inventor 2013, which we use, it’s under the I then highlight without clicking, Save As.

I’m also excited that the Vault Server was included this year (thanks Phil!). We used Vault and Inventor 2011 last year and appreciated the ability to check in and out files and maintain some revision history, even when using the same computer as our server and client. I was excited to upgrade to 2014 for this season. I decided not to worry about any sort of data migration and started clean with the 2014 installation. Once I finally got rid of my old SQL installations and got the proper version of .net, the server setup went ok.

However, I’m having issues getting the Inventor plug-in to work. From Inventor, I can successfully log in to Vault and show status as connected, and I can open the independent Vault client, but that’s it. The options to open/place and check in/out files from the Inventor ribbon are all grayed out. I’ve tried creating new project files both as a Vault project (which I later read is not supported in the Basic version of the Vault server) and single user project. I also used the autoloader to check in some existing files, which worked fine, but I can’t check them out from Inventor. I also tried “repairing” the Inventor installation. I’ve tried logging in as both administrator and from a new account with full privileges. Am I missing something? Thanks for any help you can provide!

From iIn the independent Vault Client, try double-clicking the Inventor vault project file you created. Then see if your buttons aren’t grey anymore.

This is our first year running vault and so far its much better than our old file structure. Only issues we have had were that the server (on a VM) had a dynamic IP address and would constantly switch on us (we have fixed this) and that kids who made local copies of assemblies and parts because they didn’t have faith in vault, tended to “break” it. We had a sit down meeting of how vault needs to be used and it has been a blessing since. We are looking into getting a rack server to migrate the VM to so it can have its own hardware and not impose on one of our cad stations any more. If you have specific questions I can refer you to our vault manager

For reference, we run ours on a dynamic IP, and we reach it by hostname.

I think we are going by IP address due to the server being virtual. We may be able to do hostname once we get our rack

Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately, the buttons are still grey. I also tried opening a part file from within the independent client, and got an “Unable to check out” error. I’ll have to steal the computer when the kids are done and do some more troubleshooting.

Just an update: we got our rack servers and are working to transfer the Vault to the server but want to know the best way of doing it. Are any of you familiar with this process?

Here is a link to the Wiki help page.

http://help.autodesk.com/view/VAULT/Help/ENU/?guid=GUID-E43F824E-1308-4DBC-9C4E-EA142103EB03

I will check for more detailed results on your request, but it looks like a search for “transfer vault” should get you what you want.

Using the link above, search for Vault Data Transfer Utility

In my experience, this has been due to the project file not being correctly set. In Inventor, go to the Inventor menu (big I in the top left) and click Manage->Projects. Browse to your vault project file (wherever it is located locally), and make sure there’s a check mark next to it after selecting it.

I agree with Sanddrag, it looks like a project file issue.

In addition to the previous suggestion make sure the project file type is set to Vault.

The attached image shows a Single User project file. If your project file looks like this then you need to create a new project file using the New Vault Project option.