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Managing Disk Space with SOLIDWORKS PDM Part #5: Archive Compression

Friday August 27, 2021 at 11:00am
In this blog series we are examining the factors influencing disk usage within PDM and what you can do to manage them. In the first part we discussed how you can re-organise your archive across multiple drives to get you back up and running quickly should you find you are short on space. In the second part we looked at the differences between a deleted and a destroyed file and the impact the PDM recycle bin has on Disk usage. Part three discussed temporary session files created by the PDM Web Server. In part four we discussed cold storage and in this last part we will look at archive compression.

By default, all older versions in a file archive are stored uncompressed in their original format on the archive server. To save space, you can enable compression on all file versions older than the most recent version. The most recent version is always stored uncompressed for optimal performance during transfers between client and server.

To enable archive server compression on the server, we recommend using the SOLIDWORKS PDM administrative policy. If you have multiple vaults however and do not want to apply compression to them all, you can instead add the registry key that activates the compression manually for each vault.

It is probably worth noting that after the last restructuring of the SOLIDWORKS file format they don’t tend to compress a great deal. So unless your vault contains many versions of ‘other’ file types you may not see a dramatic freeing up of space after enabling compression. It is also worth noting that after enabling compression there is no way to bulk ‘uncompress’ the archive should you subsequently turn the option back off again.

Using Group Policy to enable Compression

  • On the archive server, click Start > Run .
  • Type gpedit.msc and click OK.
  • To add the SOLIDWORKS PDM policy, expand Computer Configuration.
  • Right-click Administrative Templates and select Add/Remove Templates.
  • Click Add to load the policy template.
  • Browse to the SOLIDWORKS Install media, to the \SWPDMClient\support\polices folder, and select the PDMWorks Enterprise.adm template.
    The SOLIDWORKS PDM Settings policy is now available under ‘Classic’ Administrative Templates.
  • Expand SOLIDWORKS PDM settings > archive server.
  • Display the compression settings by double-clicking Archive Compression.
  • To activate archive compression on the server, select Enabled in the policy. In Compression schedule, type a schedule string that specifies when to run the compression routine (the default being everyday at 4am)
    Minute: Use numerals 0 to 59.
    Hour: Use numerals 0 to 23, where 0 is midnight.
    Weekday: Use numerals 1 to 7, where 1 is Monday.
    Separate sections with a space. Sections can contain a single number, a range (1-7), or a list (0,15,30,45). An asterisk represents the entire range. For example:
    0 0 * - Run every day at midnight.
    0 2 1-5 - Run every Monday to Friday at 2 a.m.
    0 * * - Run every hour on the hour every day.
    0 */2 * - Run every other hour every day.
    0,15,30,45 * * - Run every 15 minutes every day.
    0,30 * 1-5 - Run every half hour Monday to Friday.
    0 6-18 1-5 - Run every hour between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.
    The time is local to the server, you can also type off to disable compression on the Server
  • Close the policy editor and restart the archive server service to load the new schedule.
    The compression policy affects all vault archives stored on the archive server.
    To disable compression for a specific vault, set the manual registry value for that vault to off.
    The policy is per server. For more than one archive server, for example in a replicated environment, activate compression for each server separately.

Manually configuring Compression

Vault compression can be configured per vault if it is not configured per Group Policy. The process is similar to how we manually defined the vault cleaner schedule in the earlier blog in that we must create and set a registry key. Create a string value registry key named compression schedule located at:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\SOLIDWORKS\Applications\PDMWorks Enterprise\ArchiveServer\Vaults\[Vault Name]

The value of this key follows the same structure as both the group policy schedule shown above and the cleaner service schedule.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog series.

Blog Series Contents

  • Part #1 : Distributing the Archive
  • Part #2 : Deleted vs Destroyed and the Vault Cleaner Service
  • Part #3 : Web2.0 Temporary Session Files
  • Part #4 : Cold Storage
  • Part #5 : Archive Compression

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