Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Riverbed and DWG 2007 file format workaround

It has been mentioned on, and SearchStorage how the file 2007 DWG file format used in AutoCAD 2007, AutoCAD 2008 and now also AutoCAD 2009 might affect users of WAN acceleration appliances like Riverbed’s Steelhead appliances. The performance has been a real problem.

Autodesk now has added a Knowledge Base document on this issue: Potential for reduced write performance for Riverbed WAN links when working with AutoCAD 2007 DWG files

Users of Riverbed or other affected WAN acceleration solutions can implement the following immediate workarounds that improve write productivity.

  1. Using a feature in AutoCAD called “Incremental Save Percentage” (ISP), and setting it to 50
  2. Using a version of the DWG format other than the AutoCAD 2007 DWG format

 AutoCAD Options

Notice that there are some commands that does not respect this setting to save in another version. Using Saveall and the drawings will be saved in 2007 format.

1 comment:

  1. Restored comments

    Harris said...

    I sat through one of riverbed's webinars, and it doesnt seem like moving the ISP to 50% makes muchof a difference. Has anyone seen this as an effective workaround?

    It is interesting to see that some of riverbed's comptitors smell blood in the water on this issue...
    March 28, 2008

    JTB World said...

    "Aaron claims Autodesk had its own reasons for formally testing his company's gear - it is a Silver Peak user, with some three dozen of its WAN optimisers around its organisation."
    It sure seems like Silver Peak will find some new customers unless Riverbed does something very soon. I mean, this is not something new.

    Wondering if the DWG's that AutoCAD 2009 saves makes any difference just like between 2007 and 2008 even though the format is basically the same.
    March 28, 2008

    Alan said...

    I am the VP of product marketing at Riverbed, and I posted a lengthy explanation of this issue yesterday here:

    The problem with the new AutoCAD file format does affect all WAN acceleration devices. Silver Peak's claims are largely not correct, and the only way to prove or disprove them will be through testing.

    Autodesk is very aware of the problem, but unfortunately this issue is not one that can be solved by Riverbed because it is caused by the way the .dwg files are written to disk in AutoCAD 2007 / 2008 (and probably 2009).

    Alan Saldich
    VP Product Marketing & Alliances
    March 28, 2008

    JTB World said...

    Alan, thanks for your comment. I fully understand the problem and really hope you all find a solution for this.

    I use online backup services and I can imagine that the problem is the same with Mozy that I use now and others like Carbonite and iDrive.

    Head over to the civil3D blog post and accept their offer for a real world test of the systems.
    March 30, 2008

    Jeff Aaron said...

    Hello, my name is Jeff Aaron and I handle marketing for Silver Peak.

    We recently worked with Infoworld to verify our performance with AutoCAD. The results can be found here:

    As we clearly demonstrated (and have correctly stated all along), significant performance gains can still be had across the WAN with AutoCAD, regardless of the byte scrambling issue inherent to the latest version.

    We encourage end users to try it out for themselves, and to fully understand how different deduplication solutions work before making any blanket assumptions about what WAN optimization solutions can and cannot do with AutoCAD.


    Jeff Aaron
    Director, Marketing
    Silver Peak
    April 17, 2008

    JW said...

    Jeff and Alan:

    Why will neither of you agree to independent testing in a neutral site? We've offered our office, you can bring your techs, we'll even let you two agree upon the rules, but it's time to be open and honest.
    April 17, 2008

    JTB World said...

    After reading Josh Tseng's comment on InfoWorld I think it's time to take EEs offer for a real comparison.

    Here is what he wrote:
    The above results clearly show that Silver Peak is affected by Autocad 2007/2008 formatting changes to at least the same extent as Riverbed, if not more so. The problem was never about cold pass performance--Riverbed delivers 1st-transfer performance that is at least as good, if not better than those reported above for Silver Peak. Rather, the problem Riverbed's customers encountered with Autocad 2007/2008 formatting changes was that "hot pass" performance was not significantly faster than cold pass performance.

    The above results reported by Silver Peak, and verified by Keith, show that Silver Peak's NX devices deliver hot pass and cold pass performance that are nearly identical. This indicates that Silver Peak's Network Memory technology is not recognizing the same data during the hot pass because those bytes have been scrambled by Autocad 2007/2008. Furthermore, note that raising the Incremental Save Percentage (ISP) to 100% only improved Silver Peak's performance by one second. That is significantly less than what would be expected when using Riverbed.

    Josh Tseng, Riverbed Technology
    April 21, 2008

    Bob Gilbert said...

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

    As written about here

    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.
    May 02, 2008

    JTB World said...

    Thanks for keeping us updated on this issue.
    May 02, 2008


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