SketchUp File System

Hello all, I have a very odd and specific question I was hoping others might have run into.

My office is working on opening up a few satellite offices, and I was looking at how we build the file servers. We will most likely create a synced NAS fileserver solution, but my big concern is about multiple people opening the same file in different locations creating conflicting files.

One thing we are looking at, using AutoCAD for example, is that when a CAD file is open, it creates 2 temporary files so when someone else opens that file it signals that the file can only be open only as read only. Our user case is that we can create an immediate syncing of those 2 temporary files across all servers that would then signal any other user that the file is open and being worked on.

Do you know if SketchUp creates any such files?

I know this is a very specific, yet round about question, but just thought I’d ask to see if anyone had any direction you might be able to point me.

Thanks!

I can’t answer your specific question, as I am not a SketchUp employee, but I can tell you that using any sort of remote file server is not generally recommended for SketchUp. There is something about the way SketchUp saves files that makes it very susceptible to minor timing glitches when remote files sync, with the result being damaged skp files that can’t be opened. You can find any number of posts on the forum about such problems.

I understand that SketchUp uses standard Windows and MacOS file locking. Lock files are used by applications with a long history that had to cope with the plethora of network protocols etc. in use when networking was new.

If I had to build a corporate WAN I would probably contact a service provider instead of trying to figure it out myself, despite working as the office “CAD guy” for 35 years already. Partly because it is nice to have someone else to blame when something goes wrong, and because they can offer a tried and tested system that can be easily modified and expanded when needed.

I might chip in here, as we have built quite a bit of experience with this type of scenario. We are using Resilio Sync for this type of problem. It works quite well since - I dunno - like 8 years or something.

It basically builds a private peer-2-peer network like in the good old days of BitTorrent and such, but not for illegal files but your own. The nice thing about it is that you can integrate it with servers, with notebooks with “regular computers”, etc. and have quite a bit of control of which folders to share.

Dropbox for example needs everything to be in a big “dropbox-folder”. You can select which folders to share but they all MUST be in the dropbox-folder. Resilio doesn’t care where that folder resides on your machine and that makes it very flexible. Also it’s really fast, especially with Sketchup. Dropbox needs to upload a file to its cloud-server and from there back down again to the other machine. Resilio connects to the machine and just pushes the file (or changes to the file) right to it.

Another nice thing - if you make a change to a 200 MB Sketchup-File (we’ve all been there), and you hit “Save” (like we do) it will not resync 200 MB but just the changed parts. It’s amazingly fast. I often talk to colleagues over the phone and like a minute later they have the updated file. (duplicating a file is a different matter of course).

Ok - so that might be a good fit. It’s a bit more pricey nowadays then it used to be (we still have old liscences) but it might be worth it.

Ah and to answer your initial question (sorry - kinda went of track there a bit). The “locked-file” thing is a bit of a hit & miss thing. If you all use the same OS it might work but we kinda got used to versioning. When I start working on a file in the morning I save it as “Filename YYYY-MM-DD FL” (my initials) and this way my colleagues see which file is the latest and who is / was working on it. If they want to work on it they duplicate and work on it (or chat with me to check if I am still on it), so we hardly ever have versioning issues.

Besides opening for editing, my guess is that some of your colleagues also might want to view or inspect, only?

Depending on your license, you might have access to Trimble Connect. It handles files a lot better than standard windows file handling with servers (we have heard reports with version 19 of Windows Server when updating from 16)

With Trimble Connect, everyone has access to the Viewers and Trimble Connect Desktop App, where you can view multiple models in the same viewport, even from different other Cad (Revit, Tekla, dwg, pointclouds) and Trimble Connect Sync, which can be set to sync manual, or per schema (multiple setups available).
The data is in the cloud, but you can set it up to have it sync on your own server and/or any machine in the company at any location.

Files opened from TC also downloads a local copy for working in it, and when you ‘publish’, it creates a version in the cloud (with info like timestamp and who).
If saved locally, you can always manually upload it, or when you have saved it locally to the TC Sync folder, wait for the next scheduled sync (end of the day?)

A Trimble Connect business plan comes with a SketchUp Pro Subscription.