Managing Local Cache

A SolidWorks Enterprise PDM Tech Tip

The concept a local cache, or working directory as it is sometimes called, is something that trips up new Enterprise PDM users and old pro’s alike, which is why I thought I would go over it in today’s blog post and offer some workarounds, including a new innovative solution that we have come up with here at CAPINC.

SolidWorks Enterprise PDM product relationshipsWhen you check out a file from the vault, do a “Get Latest Version” or a “Get Version”, or select a file and click the Preview tab for the first time, a copy of that file is saved in your local cache.  Also if you create a file and publish it to the vault, the original is still left in your local cache. The reason why is because most EPDM users are working with large CAD assemblies that can take several minutes to retrieve from the vault up on the network. If you are opening and closing the same file several times each day, it is a lot faster to download the file once and keep a copy on your local hard drive than downloading it over and over again.

The place where people run into problems however, is when somebody makes a change to a file that somebody has been working on. For example, the other day I got a support call that went something like this: “Joe published an assembly to the vault last week, Molly made some changes to it yesterday, but when Joe opened it again, he didn’t see her work.”

The problem was Joe was only opening the assembly – he wasn’t checking it out – and since the original was still in his cache, that’s the one EPDM opened.

In this case, the solution was to have Joe right click on the file in the vault and pick “Get Latest Version”  which downloaded the correct version. He could have also checked the file out or cleared his local cache by right-clicking the vault root folder and selecting “Clear Local Cache.” Or when he checked the file into the vault, Joe could have selected the “Remove Local Copy” option in the check-in dialog box.

Joe’s EPDM administrator could also have set the “Always work with latest version of files” option for  Joe’s user settings so that each time he opens a file in EPDM, he always gets the latest version in the vault. The drawback to this option, however, is the “Get Version” command will no longer be available and Joe will only be able to view older versions of a file – editing them will not be an option.

While there isn’t a really good way in EPDM to automatically clear a user’s local cache (with the exception of the “Always work with latest version of files” option) we here at CAPINC have developed our own utility to do this.

We call it: The ClearCache Utility
It’s an executable file that resides on the local users hard drive that can be automatically started  at  login via the Windows Task Scheduler or putting a shortcut to it in the user’s startup folder and it will purge everything out of the users cache with the exception of files that are already checked out.  If this is something you are interested in, please contact us and we’ll be happy to provide more information.

One Response

  1. Jeff
    Jeff
    October 21, 2013 at 2:51 pm | | Reply

    I would be very interested in this executable you are referring to. I need to have each local machine update with the latest files (including missing files), before the files are used.

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