Following on from our recent blog on Working from home with SOLIDWORKS, we thought it was important to lay out some methods for accessing your data, especially if you use a PDM System or don’t have data locally on your machine.
In the five examples below, we will be assuming that you will be bringing your work PC or laptop home with you and have borrowed any licenses you require already.
- Access via a VPN connection
- Use files from a network drive (No PDM system)
- Use PDM Standard or Professional without a connection to the license server
- Using PDM Workgroup while at home
Below you can easily assess which option is relevant for you – find the one that fits your situation best, you may find a combination for more than one option is required.
Option 1 – Access via VPN connection
The easiest way to collaborate and continue to work as normal is to use a VPN connection. If you require advice on setting up a VPN consider talking to your IT support, we have included a section later on with the setup details required. Simply take your office computer home, then connect to VPN and keep working on your files just as if you were at the office. Bear in mind that your internet connection speed could affect the open and save timings. So, it might be worth considering using this with a mixture of the other options depending on your circumstance to improve your performance.
Option 2 – Use files from a network drive
In this option we will look at what to do if you have a standalone license and no PDM system (Solidworks Vault).
As you will not be able to connect to your network drives from home you will need to copy all necessary files locally before leaving the office.
It’s important to remember referencing when working with drawings and assemblies. So try to use Pack & Go whenever possible.
When you return to the office, simply Pack & Go the files back onto the network drive. Be careful not to overwrite files that others may have been working on while you were away. If possible try to keep all files from a project in just one folder on the network drive, having multiple folders can cause referencing issues when you are resaving to the server.
Option 3 – Use PDM without a connection the license server
If you have a standard activation or network license, you will have to use Solidworks PDM in “Offline Mode” if you cannot connect to the server.
There is some preparation required before you leave the office.
- Before leaving the office, consider doing a “Get latest” of any files or folders you might need.
- Check-out any files you might need to modify while you are away from the office.
- Click the Tools menu in the main view > Work Off-line. This process can take a while
All Folders are now blue, the files with a write permission will show a “Yes” in the column Writable.
On Returning to work, you select Work On-line under the Tools Menu and do a check-in of your files. You can now work as normal with the standard functionality of the vault.
Option 4 – Using PDM Workgroup while at home
If you are using a PDM Workgroup vault a VPN is the only way to checkout files from the vault to be viewed. If a VPN is not available to you please make sure to check-out any files you need before leaving the office.
For more information on how to use a VPN with Windows, please see this guide from Microsoft.
Additional information for configuring a VPN
In order to access the PDM system directly, you will need to connect to your “Office Network” just as if you were there. This typically means using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), The main point here is to make sure that client and server can connect and talk to one another. The Firewall on the VPN must be configured at both ends to allow the Vault to communicate as expected.
PDM Vault types
There are three types of PDM Vault: PDM Standard, PDM Professional and PDM Workgroup. PDM Workgroup has recently been retired but we will include guidance for connecting to this vault as well.
In general, there are several services which run a PDM Vault, we will talk about the required ports that need to be open by the Firewall inside the VPN.
- For PDM Standard or Professional
The following services need to be contacted via the VPN connection: License Manager, Database and Archive services. The Ports required to be open on both TCP and UDP are:
TCP: 25734 25735, 3030,1433,1434
- For PDM Workgroup
PDM Workgroup requires one service to be contactable via the VPN. The Ports required to be open on both TCP and UDP are:
Request Port = 40000.
Data Port = 30000.
VaultAdmin Port = 20000.
Workgroup PDM Viewer Port = 80.
We would recommend you talk with your IT supplier to ensure the accompanying ports are open to allow successful connection to your PDM Vault system.
Port configuration for the SolidNetWork Licence Manager (PDM Standard & Professional)
Note that the default ports of the Solid Network License Server (SNL) is set to utilize a fixed inbound port with a random outbound port. If you have not configured the (SNL) to use a firewall this will need to be reconfigured to allow communications to go through the correct outbound port.
Open the SolidNetWork License Manager on the server, then click Modify, Select Activate/Reactivate, then make sure the option to use a Firewall has been enabled. Port 25743 and 25735 should be filled in automatically.
Final notes on other approaches
Please note the PDM Web 2.0 which is available in PDM Professional is not suitable for a collaborative working environment, this service also requires to be configured and to be setup on the server. It is not recommended to use this approach when working from home.
If you have any questions relating to the points in this guide or would like further advice and information on remote access for SOLIDWORKS PDM, please feel free to get in contact with our Technical Support team (Innova Systems customers only).