Leverage the Autodesk Vault Job Server/Processor30 Sep, 2012 By: Pete Markovic
IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: The Vault Client enables users to perform query, view, and print tasks on a model or drawing without having direct access to the CAD data.
Editor's Note: This tutorial courtesy of IMAGINiT Technologies.
One of the many benefits of using Autodesk Vault is the ability to view CAD data (AutoCAD, Inventor, etc.) using the Vault Client. The Vault Client (including the Web Client for Collaboration and Professional) provides quick and easy access to the data for both CAD and non-CAD users, and allows them to perform query, view, and print tasks without having access to the CAD application.
The tool used to create these lightweight visualization files is called the Job Server/Processor and it is included with the Vault Workgroup, Vault Collaboration, and Vault Professional products. The DWF or DWFx file is automatically created and attached to the CAD data file record stored within Vault. When a file is viewed within the Vault Client or the Vault Web Client, the performance is extremely fast, because this visualization file is lightweight and optimized compared to accessing and viewing the actual CAD data. Keeping these visualization files up to date is the primary function of the Job Server/Processor.
Job Server/Processor Overview
There are two pieces of Vault tool used to create and maintain visualization files: the Job Server, located on the ADMS Vault server; and the Job Processor, located on a dedicated or multiple CAD workstations.
Job Server/Processor abilities include:
- DWFs for Autodesk CAD tools (Inventor, AutoCAD, AutoCAD Mechanical, Electrical etc.)
- Create DWFs upon check-in
- Create DWFs for files imported into Vault through Autoloader
- Update out-of-date DWFs on the Preview tab within Vault
- Update DWFs on transitions between lifecycles.
Enabling the Job Server
The Job Server can be enabled from any Vault Client; however, the user account you use to log into the Vault must have administrative rights. To enable the Job Server, Select Tools > Administration > Global Settings. Select the Integrations tab, and check the box next to “Enable Job Server.”
Enabling the Job Processor(s)
The Job Processor can run on any PC, workstation, or laptop computer where the Vault Client and CAD tools are installed. The Job Processor will only process jobs for which it has the software installed to do so.
Before enabling the Job Processor(s), it is important to note that the Job Processor needs to log into the Vault server with a Vault user account. This user account must have administrative privileges. Rather than using the actual vault administrator account, it is a best practice to create an account just for the Job Processor; something like JPADMIN works well. Be sure to give it a password, and document this somewhere.
After an administrative account is created for the Job Processor, you are ready to start enabling the clients to process jobs. Wherever the Vault Client is installed, you will find the Job Processor under the Start Menu: Start > All Programs > Autodesk > Autodesk Data Management > Tools > Autodesk Job Processor. The first time you invoke the Job Processor, you will be prompted to log in to your Vault Server.
Upon successful login, the Job Processor will now be running and available for processing jobs. By default, the Job Processor does not restart automatically after a system reboot or user log out/in. In order for the Job Processor to automatically restart, Select Administration > Start on Windows Logon. Under the Administration tab, a list of Job types that can be processed on this client is displayed.
Selecting File > Exit will shut down the Job Processor. To minimize to the System Tray, select the Red X in the upper right corner.
Along the bottom of the Job Processor Dialog box, the status, Vault Server, and Account logged into the Job Processor are displayed.
Every Vault user has experienced a time when they selected the Preview tab and the DWF was out of date, or didn’t exist. Quickly we learn about the Update button in the upper right corner of the Preview window.
What a lot of people overlook is the drop-down arrow next to the Update button. This drop-down menu gives you the option of updating the DWF locally or through the Job Server queue. By default, it is set to locally update. Selecting the Queue Update option, the publishing job is sent to the Job Server to be published by an idle Job Processor.
If you are constantly finding files with missing DWF files, the Job Server can help you update the entire Vault with current DWF files. To accomplish this, first do a query for all files that do not have a visualization attachment.
Select all of the files in the results window, then select Actions > Update View > Queue Update.
When submitting jobs to the Job Server, you'll achieve the best results if you keep the number of jobs submitted at one time to less than 500. If you are doing a large amount of DWF file updates in your Vault, you may want to first adjust your query to return results for only IPT files without a Visualization Attachment, and then do assemblies, drawings, etc. If limiting the number of jobs is not an option (for example, when using Autoloader), monitor the Job Server queue closely for failed jobs and re-submit if necessary.
Monitoring the Job Queue
Monitoring the Job Queue can be done from any Vault Client. To access the Job Server Queue, Select Tools > Job Queue.
The Job Server Queue dialog box, by default, doesn’t contain much information. Additional columns can be turned on in the same manner as other dialogs within the Vault Client. Right-click to select an existing column and select Customize View.
The most useful column to add is the Job Processor column. This is the workstation processing that particular job, and will assist in any troubleshooting you may need to do.
The Job Server Queue Dialog will display the Jobs currently in the queue as well as their Status, Priority, Description, Submitted Date, etc. (depending on which columns are displayed).
Jobs can also be resubmitted from the Job Server Queue if there is an error processing the job. Also, jobs can be removed from the queue through this dialog.
Errors are going to happen while creating DWF files, but there things you can do to minimize them. Some of the reasons publishing errors happen are:
- Too many files submitted at one time
- CAD licenses not available
- Login credentials invalid
- File version superseded before the job is processed.
One of the most useful features of the Vault Client is the preview tab displaying the CAD model or CAD drawing. This is an extremely helpful feature for users in your company that do not have direct access to the CAD data. If the viewable is out of date and the user doesn’t have the CAD tools to do a local update, they must rely on the Job Server/Processor to generate the DWF.
Setting up the Job Server/Processor to publish visualization files within your Vault is a fairly easy process, but it is often overlooked and undervalued. Visual communication is one of the most valuable forms of communication, and having up-to-date viewables within your Vault is of great value for any company.
Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen guides you through a different AutoCAD feature in every edition of her popular "Circles and Lines" tutorial series. For even more AutoCAD how-to, check out Lynn's quick tips in the Cadalyst Video Gallery. Subscribe to Cadalyst's free Tips & Tools Weekly e-newsletter and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!