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AutoCAD 2007 DWG Format and Riverbed

There has been swirl of information recently in the circles I run in about the concern for those of us that use Riverbed [1] devices for WAN acceleration. The firm I am with has heavily invested in Riverbeds. We use them in all of our offices. Many other firms use them also. Many are looking at purchasing the devices.

So the news that has come out about Autodesk adding compression technology to the 2007 DWG format comes with some hesitant concern. This is because the Riverbed devices have difficulty working with the new format.

Riverbed uses several methods of acceleration to increase virtual throughput of files.

From their website: “With our award-winning data reduction, WAN optimization, and application-level latency optimizations, along with remote office file and management functionality, Riverbed provides a comprehensive solution for enterprises looking to simplify IT, consolidate infrastructure, and accelerate their applications. In addition to offering the best performing solution available, Riverbed delivers the single solution that scales across the broadest range of applications and network topologies.”

This was all working great – but along came 2007 DWG.

Neither Riverbed nor Autodesk is to blame for this issue. They each have their development wings that work to increase the functionality of their platforms. What is a concern is that they did not work together on this issue – until now.

“Potential for reduced write performance for Riverbed WAN links when working with AutoCAD 2007 DWG file” from Autodesk [2] and from Riverbed [3]

For those that are not using Riverbeds, the file compression is most likely a good thing. It would mean that Autodesk has actually helped make the files smaller. Which is a good thing.

Here are a few links that have some additional info on the problem and workaround.

Riverbed customers cry foul over AutoCAD incompatibility [4] – (skip the ads)

Riverbed and DWG 2007 file format workaround [5]

Stay tuned…

7 Comments (Open | Close)

7 Comments To "AutoCAD 2007 DWG Format and Riverbed"

#1 Comment By Steve On March 19, 2008 @ 11:46 PM

Hmmm…could this be a Revit move to make it harder to use Acad? Riverbed works nicely with Revit 8-). The conspiracy minded run with that!

#2 Comment By jackie On March 27, 2008 @ 6:49 PM

I would agree that Autodesk is not really to blame as they started creating their new file format well before riverbed even existed as a company. In hindsight, there are probably things they would have done differently if they could have foreseen deduplication as being an issue. But – is it really practical to expect software vendors to write their code for each and every networking product? There’s a reason everything runs over IP – so you don’t have to deal with things like this.

Whats interesting is that riverbed doesn’t seem willing to budge because they believe all wan optimization vendors are in the same boat. It looks like one company is calling them out on that claim: [6]

a buddy of mine is using silver peak for Citrix and has nothing but good things to say. Has anyone tested them with cad ’08?

#3 Comment By Alan Saldich On March 28, 2008 @ 11:20 AM

I’m the VP of product marketing for Riverbed, and I wrote a lengthy post yesterday on this topic, which can be viewed here: [7]

The post above looks suspiciously like a Silver Peak plant.

Silver Peak has admitted (in a call earlier this week with the TechTarget reporter who wrote that article) that the issue with the AutoCAD 2007 / 2008 .dwg file format is *not* specific to Riverbed and *does* affect all products that use deduplication in their solutions, including their own.

The only way to determine the degree to which any particular WDS solution is affected by the file format is to do your own testing.

Remember, the problem is most pronounced with the ISAVEPERCENT (Incremental Save Percentage) set to zero, which forces a complete save, and which causes all the bytes to be scrambled. Using a non-zero value for that setting (like the default value of 50) reduces , but does not entirely eliminate, the impact of the new file format on WDS solutions.

Unfortunately this is not an issue that can be solved by Riverbed or any other WDS solution provider – it was caused (inadvertently) by the way Autodesk decided to change their file format, including scrambling the bytes on every complete save. Any product that tries to find duplicate data will be affected, possibly to a varying degree, but there is no doubt there is an adverse effect.

Alan Saldich
VP Product Marketing & Alliances

#4 Comment By CADDManager On March 28, 2008 @ 11:53 AM

Jackie and Alan,

Thanks for commenting directly on the issue.

The comment about Silver Peak was not posted directly from an “insider” email that would have made that obvious, and it links to a third party post concerning that technology.

This does not, however, mean that the comment was not made by someone with an agenda. You make the call.

My goal is to host valid information that is respectfully shared. Obviously there may be differing perspectives by those who comment.

I appreciate and support open, professional discussion.

#5 Comment By Jeff Aaron On April 17, 2008 @ 10:56 AM

Hello – I handle marketing for Silver Peak.

To Alan’s point, the only way to truly see how AutoCAD will work with WAN optimization is to test it. That having been said, we did work with Infoworld to provide 3rd party verification of some of our capabilities on that front. The results are here: [8]

The scrambling of bytes does make it harder to perform deduplication, but significant gains still can be achieved (as demonstrated).

I agree 100% with Alan’s final comment that different dedupe solutions will handle this issue with varying degrees of success, so we encourage end users to “kick the tires” and fully understand how dedupe solutions are similar/different.

Jeff Aaron
Director Marketing
Silver Peak

#6 Comment By Bob Gilbert On May 2, 2008 @ 1:41 PM

AutoCAD 2007, WDS and Deduplication – What is the truth?

As written about here [9]

Riverbed recently completed a set of tests of AutoCAD 2007 and AutoCAD 2004 with four vendors’ WDS appliances: Riverbed, Cisco WAAS, Silver Peak and Blue Coat. The purpose of the tests was to confirm Riverbed’s claims that all WDS vendors are affected similarly by the new .dwg file format which scrambles bytes on a complete save, even if no changes are made to a file, and that WDS products are not able to deduplicate the scrambled information within the files.

Two vendors, Cisco and Silver Peak, have made a variety of claims in press releases, interviews, analyst briefings, blog postings and email campaigns to the contrary such as:
– “Our customers are not affected by this”
– “This is a Riverbed-specific problem”
– “Riverbed is “application-centric” and we are “data-centric” and therefore our appliances are not affected”

The data shows otherwise.

The tests were done twice for all four vendors across 64 different combinations of test variables:

– software version (AutoCAD 2004 and 2007)
– bandwidth (1 Mbps and 10 Mbps)
– ISP setting* (0 and 50) in AutoCAD
– types of changes to the file (“major” and “minor”)**

The tests confirmed that while all vendors could deduplicate AutoCAD 2004, none of the vendors tested could effectively deduplicate AutoCAD 2007 files – in fact two of the vendors sent more data when the file was saved than in the base case. While none of the vendors could reduce the amount of data sent with AutoCAD 2007, they could reduce the time to save files in the new format across the WAN by varying amounts, though not as much as with AutoCAD 2004.

The results were validated by Taneja Group, a leading storage analysis firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. According to Arun Taneja, principal and founder of the firm:

“Taneja Group conferred with Riverbed and validated their test methodology. Riverbed has been to the point and transparently forthcoming about these issues to help their customers understand the impact. Clearly, complex file format and application behavior issues present in AutoCAD 2007 impact all vendors in the same way – when test conditions are equal, there simply is no magic pill that makes any one vendor’s de-dupe or compression work better with this file format. Moreover, since Riverbed has a broad array of tools to apply to the issue, including mature protocol optimization as well as de-duplication, Riverbed actually performed better under more conditions than the WDS competition, even while AutoCAD’s 2007 file format thwarted all approaches to de-duplication. Without a doubt, this issue emphasizes the complexity of storage in the new enterprise, and goes to show that even application vendors must now understand the big picture, including how and where data is accessed and stored in customer enterprises.”

For complete test results and details of the environment, methodology, please contact Riverbed.

* ISP is “incremental save percentage” or ISAVEPERCENT, a setting in AutoCAD that governs when the application does a complete save. Setting ISP to 0 forces a complete save (and therefore scrambles all the bytes in AutoCAD 2007) even if no changes are made to the file.

** a minor change was defined as simply adding text to a file and saving; a major change involved adding a new layout to a drawing and saving it.

#7 Comment By Zoro On July 6, 2009 @ 5:53 AM

i have a problem i am working at autocad 2007 and when i have finished my work and i have made changes on autocad file and saved it, i closed the file after some time i opened the file i didn’t find the changes which i made on the file.please help me