December 21, 2011

Using Solid Edge Quicksheets to Predefine Drawing Layouts


The Cadconsult PLM guys over in New Zealand have published a great article on using Solid Edge Quicksheets to predefine and standardize (standardise) your Solid Edge drawing layouts.  Go check it out:

Quicksheets – Standardizing your drawings

December 15, 2011

Optimizing Insight and Teamcenter SQL Server Performance in a Virtual Environment



SQL Server Pro has a great post by Denny Cherry with seven tips for optimizing SQL Server on the vSphere and Hyper-V virtual platforms.  Given that many Insight and Teamcenter customers are running SQL Server databases for their PLM backbone this article is a must read:


December 12, 2011

Slow Solid Edge ST4 Startup Times



With ST4 MP2 and earlier an issue has been discovered that can result in slow Solid Edge startup times.  Specifically the issue revolves around the Most Recently used (MRU) list.

November 03, 2011

Mapping Teamcenter Person Profile Information from Owning User on Item Revision to Solid Edge Draft

For whatever reason, you may wish to show on the Solid Edge draft file the user profile information for the owning user of the Item Revision that contains the SE Draft dataset.  Here is the mapping on how to accomplish this.

November 02, 2011

Automate Creating SharePoint and Insight Network Location Shortcuts



UPDATE:  Please note that this post has been replaced by an updated post (here) that contains a newer version of the script.

With SharePoint sometimes it is necessary to create Network Location shortcuts on the client workstation.  For Solid Edge Insight this is not only necessary but also a requirement.

Sure creating three or four Network Locations is no big deal.  But what if you need to standardize those Network Locations across all workstations and user logons?  Do you really want to be manually creating the same Network Location shortcuts for 20 user ids across 20 different workstations?  Having the ability to automate the creation of these Network Location shortcuts could certainly be a time saver.

October 28, 2011

Improving Your Insight SharePoint and Teamcenter SQL Server Performance By 460% with Index Defragmentation


Courtesy of the SQL Fool an awesome script to defragment the SQL Server indexes.   This is a maintenance script and can be useful for improving your overall SQL Server performance issues.

SQL utility and maintenance scripts can be applicable for both Insight and TCX installations running SQL Server.

So does index defragmentation matter?  From Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Index Defragmentation Best Practices: 
"The workload performance increase realized in the small-scale environment ranged from 60 percent at the low level of fragmentation to more than 460 percent at the highest level of fragmentation. The workload performance increased realized for the large-scale environment ranged from 13 percent at the low fragmentation level to 40 percent at the medium fragmentation level."
So how to use this defragmentation script?

October 10, 2011

Purging Solid Edge Embedded Client Unreferenced JT Override Datasets from Teamcenter


In Solid Edge Embedded Client (SEEC) when creating assembly features a JT dataset is created and uploaded into Teamcenter.  This assembly feature JT dataset is commonly referred to as a "JT override".  SEEC JT override dataset names take the form of "Ovr_<id #>" where <id #> is some system generated id number.


September 09, 2011

Optimally Configuring Anti-Virus For Use With Teamcenter


I have actually covered this in my earlier post “Improve Solid Edge Performance by 95% On Windows 7 By Configuring Anti-Virus”.  However it occurred to me that my Teamcenter oriented readers are not going to read an entry on configuring anti-virus for use with Solid Edge and so will miss this information.  So I’m taking the opportunity of a cheap quick and easy post to repackage the same information for a different market ;-)

August 31, 2011

Configure Solid Edge Embedded Client to Map Teamcenter LOV and Associated LOV Description


In Teamcenter it is possible to create an interdependent LOV such that the LOV description is displayed alongside the LOV value:
 

Where such functionality would be useful is when you have a short LOV value but need to use a longer LOV description to help the end user decide if the LOV value is the correct value to be selected i.e. CAGE Codes being a perfect example of this.

August 30, 2011

Teamcenter Classes, Business Objects, Attributes and Properties Explained



For those of you new to Teamcenter concepts check out Scott Pigman’s excellent post explaining Teamcenter Classes, Business Objects, Attributes and Properties:


If you do anything Teamcenter related check out Scott’s blog, The PLM Dojo, for all kinds of good info on Teamcenter.



August 16, 2011

Installing Remote BLOB Storage (RBS) with SharePoint Foundation 2010 and Insight


When SharePoint was originally introduced all files saved to SharePoint were stored in the database as BLOBs. BLOBs are not necessarily ideal for a database if there are a lot of files stored or if the files stored have large file sizes. Unfortunately Insight data stored in SharePoint is typically of a larger file size and engineering groups typically generate a lot of these larger files. BLOBs bloat the size of the physical database files resulting in reduced database performance. Therefore Insight performance can be negatively impacted.

Thankfully Microsoft has recognized this and now provides Remote BLOB Storage (RBS) with SQL Server and SharePoint. RBS is a way to store the BLOB files outside of the database on the physical disk system itself. By moving the BLOB storage to the physical disk this in turn reduces the physical database size. Implementing RBS has the potential to improve your overall SharePoint and Insight performance.

August 12, 2011

Improving Windows 7 Performance with Disk Defragmentation



I recently received a whitepaper from Windows IT Pro/Diskeeper extolling the virtues of disk defragmentation to ensure maximum performance on Windows 7.  Used to be in the "good ol' days" of computing disk defragmentation was a housekeeping necessity to ensure maximum performance of the systems.  With the advent of faster workstations and larger hard drives some of the old housekeeping tasks we used to perform to maintain optimum performance have fallen by the wayside.  As this whitepaper clearly shows though disk defragmentation is still a necessary task to maintain your Windows performance.

Windows 7 has its own built in disk defragmentation.  It has always been well known that the Windows defragmenter has a lot of room for improvement.  Otherwise there wouldn’t be third-party defragmenters out there if the Microsoft tool was fully capable. 
   

The previously mentioned whitepaper goes on to discuss how much better the Diskeeper defragmenter is compared to the Windows offering, making statements about performance such as “While a single day of fragmentation resulted in read times that increased by 73% A week’s worth of work results in file read times that increased over 145%” and “A single day of fragmentation caused Word file read times to increase 144%, while a week’s worth of work increased that to 175%”.  Those kinds of numbers significantly add up to cause overall system performance degradation.

Now obviously with performance degradation numbers like that, if you are not running disk defragmentation on a regular basis you should be.  Even the meager Windows defragmenter is better than no defragmentation.  Or you could go out and purchase a third-party tool such as Diskeeper to maximum your defragmentation and performance improvement.  Or you could go check out the open source and free software solutions. 

The free software defragmenter I use is MyDefrag.  What I like about MyDefrag (other than the price) is that it offers several pre-built scripts for different levels of defragmentation including daily, weekly, monthly, flash and SSD optimization, etc.

   
What I particularly like those is that MyDefrag also provides a Windows screensaver so you can set your system to defrag whenever you leave your desk.


MyDefrag can be downloaded from http://www.mydefrag.com

So start defragmenting your disks today and see if your Windows 7 performance improves any.  I’m betting it does.  I’d be interested to hear your feedback on if running defrag improves your overall system performance.

July 27, 2011

Insight Pausing And Retrying Messages Causing Slow File Open?


If you are experiencing delays in opening Solid Edge files from Insight that is evident by frequent “pausing and retrying” messages in the Solid Edge session, then consider enabling SQL snapshots.  By enabling snapshots on the SQL databases you can reduce the pausing and retrying messages and greatly improve your Solid Edge open performance from Insight.  Here’s how to enable SQL snapshots:

During off hours, on the SQL Server launch SQL Server Management Studio:


Select the SharePoint content database to apply snapshots to i.e. WSS_Content, right click-> Tasks -> Take Offline.  This may take several minutes to complete:


Open a New Query window:


Enter the following SQL Query where <database name> is the name of the database taken offline in the previous step:
ALTER DATABASE <database name> SET READ_COMMITTED_SNAPSHOT ON;

Execute the query:


Select the database again, right click-> Tasks -> Bring Online:



Repeat the steps above for any additional Insight/SharePoint databases being used.

This should resolve the pausing and retrying  issue and improve open performance.

You can verify if the change has successfully been made by running the following SQL Query:
SELECT sd.is_read_committed_snapshot_on FROM sys.databases AS sd WHERE sd.[name] = '<database name>';
 The value returned by this query should be “1” if snapshot was successfully turned on.  Otherwise the value will be “0” indicating snapshot is off:


You can turn snapshot back off by repeating the steps above but running the ALTER DATABASE query with OFF instead of ON:
ALTER DATABASE <database name> SET READ_COMMITTED_SNAPSHOT OFF;

July 13, 2011

Improve Solid Edge Performance by 95% On Windows 7 By Configuring Anti-Virus


I have seen instances with customers where the anti-virus software on Windows 7 is negatively impacting Solid Edge performance.  By making a few simple anti-virus configuration changes you can greatly improve your Solid Edge open and save performance.

For one customer, saving unmanaged Solid Edge files to his local hard drive was taking 90 seconds to complete.  After making these anti-virus configuration changes the Solid Edge file saves took 5 seconds.  For another customer Insight uploads were taking 600 seconds to complete.  After the anti-virus changes, the uploads took 30 seconds.  Two real world instances where configuring anti-virus improved Solid Edge performance by a whopping 95%.

Of course it should go without saying that the changes to your anti-virus configuration outlined below need to be reviewed by your company’s IT security experts.

For both unmanaged and managed Solid Edge exclude the following folders and all files underneath:
%ProgramFiles%\Solid Edge <version #>
%APPDATA%\Unigraphics Solutions
%TEMP%
If also running Insight or Solid Edge Embedded Client  (SEEC):
All http traffic to and from the server(s) and the client
If also running SEEC and Teamcenter exclude the additional folders and all files underneath:
%USERPROFILE%\Teamcenter
%USERPROFILE%\FCCCache
%TCROOT%
%TCDATA%
The above list assumes that the software and its various options are installed to the default locations.  If you have changed any of the default locations i.e. Insight cache location etc then you will need to modify your anti-virus exclusions appropriately.

And don’t forget to make these changes where appropriate to both your clients and servers.

To be clear it is not all anti-virus software on Windows 7 that I have seen have such a dramatic impact on Solid Edge performance.  There are several anti-virus software packages that seem to more negatively impact Solid Edge performance than others but I’m not going to call those vendors out by name in this post.  Regardless, whatever anti-virus software you run, making these configurations changes should still improve your Solid Edge open and save performance to some degree.

And for those of you are experiencing overall poor Windows 7 performance as a whole, not just with Solid Edge, perhaps you should consider temporarily disabling anti-virus and testing your Windows 7 performance without anti-virus in the mix.  You might find that your anti-virus is negatively impacting your overall performance as a whole and not just with Solid Edge.

Check out my previous post on tweaking Windows 7 for improved Solid Edge and Windows 7 performance.

July 12, 2011

Fixing Slow Insight Performance in Windows 7


Windows 7 has introduced a whole slew of issues centering around network performance.  One particular area that Insight customers on Windows 7 have noticed is that Insight is slow to generate and display a list of files and folders in the various dialogs that displays file lists i.e. Open, Parts Library etc.
 
There is a known issue with Windows 7 and SharePoint WebDAV performance.  SharePoint performance issues obviously in turn affect Insight’s performance.  The culprit is Internet Explorer.  The fix is quick and simple, turn off IE’s automatic proxy settings detection.

Here are the steps for turning off IE’s automatic proxy settings detection:

In Internet Explorer, open the "Tools" menu, click "Internet Options".


Select the Connections tab.


Click the "LAN Settings" button.


Uncheck the "Automatically detect settings" box.


Click "OK".


Click "OK".


    For more on this particular issue check out this Microsoft Technet discussion.

    I will be writing additional posts on Windows 7 network performance issues with Solid Edge so stay tuned.

    UPDATE: Just to clarify, even though this post focuses on Insight, you should make this tweak for Windows 7 regardless, even if you use unmanaged Solid Edge as the tweak improves *all* WebDAV performance.

    July 11, 2011

    Enabling Automatic File and Folder Name Completion in the DOS Command Prompt



    This is one of those simple little tweaks that just comes in handy if you’re a system administrator and have to spend any amount of time working with DOS command prompts.  Not many people are aware that the DOS command prompt has automatic file and folder name completion capabilities.  Unfortunately for some strange reason auto completion is turned off by default. 

    To enable auto completion on an individual command prompt window, use the /f switch.  In the Start -> Search box type “cmd /f:on”.   Now you can use Ctrl-F for automatic file name completion and Ctrl-D for automatic folder name completion in the individual command prompt window.


    To enable automatic name completion all of the time for all DOS command prompt windows without having to type the /f switch simply modify the following registry keys:
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Command Processor]
    "CompletionChar"=dword:00000006
    "PathCompletionChar"=dword:00000004

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Command Processor]
    "CompletionChar"=dword:00000006
    "PathCompletionChar"=dword:00000004
    For you convenience a registry file with the above tweaks can be downloaded here.

    Using these registry keys you can also change the default key strokes used for auto completion.  By default Ctrl-F or hexadecimal value 06 is used for the file name completion; Ctrl-D or hex value 04 is for folder completion.  Simply change the hex values to whatever key stroke combination you would rather use.  For a list of hexadecimal values look here.

    July 08, 2011

    Better Lighting...For Your Computer


    F.lux is a handy utility to automatically adjust the color of your display based on the time of day, geographical location and ambient lighting conditions. 

    When configuring f.lux the trick is to set the monitor screen color to look like the pages of a book under your ambient environment.  It took me a while before I realized this tip.

    F.lux is a simple utility with a very limited focus on what it does but it does it well.  Once you get used to having f.lux on your systems you’ll be lost without it.  Try it for a few days and then turn it off... you’ll notice the difference.

    Go ahead and install f.lux today... your eyes will thank you.

    Get f.lux here.

    July 07, 2011

    Opening AutoCAD .dxf Files In a Single Instance of Solid Edge

    Yesterday’s post covered  how to hack the Windows registry so that AutoCAD .dwg files always open in a single instance of Solid Edge.  Logically following up from that is opening .dxf files into a single instance of Solid Edge.

    It doesn’t take much of a leap to figure out that from yesterdays post you simply have to change the registry entries from .dwg to .dxf.  But for those that like things as simple as possible, here is the .dxf version of the hack:
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.dxf]
    @="SolidEdge.DraftDocument"

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.dxf]

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.dxf\OpenWithList]
    "a"="Edge.exe"
    "MRUList"="a"

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.dxf\OpenWithProgids]
    "SolidEdge.DraftDocument"=hex(0):
    And to make it simpler still, the downloadable registry file to add the entries automatically.

    And yes I fully appreciate this post could be considered a cop out on publishing an entirely new useful tip but it is what it is ;-)

    July 06, 2011

    Opening AutoCAD .dwg Files Into a Single Instance of Solid Edge

    I keep seeing this question come up, “Associating .dwg files with Solid Edge launches multiple instances of Solid Edge.  Is there a way to open the .dwg files into a single instance of Solid Edge?”

    As it turns out there is.  GTAC Solutions Center article # 002-7002894 covers this very question.  You will need a WebKey account to access this article.

    This is a Windows Explorer issue not a Solid Edge issue per se.  By tweaking the Windows Explorer registry we can make the .dwg files open into a single instance of Solid Edge.  Add or modify the following registry entries:

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.dwg]
    @="SolidEdge.DraftDocument"

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.dwg]

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.dwg\OpenWithList]
    "a"="Edge.exe"
    "MRUList"="a"

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.dwg\OpenWithProgids]
    "SolidEdge.DraftDocument"=hex(0):

    If you are not comfortable working in the registry then download this registry file and simply double-click to add the entries automatically.

    Anybody have other Solid Edge registry tweaks they care to share?

    July 01, 2011

    Tweak and Optimize Windows 7 with GIGATweaker


    Out of the box (OOTB) most software comes preconfigured between a mix of functionality and performance.  Windows 7 is no different.  There are plenty of tweaks you can make to Windows 7 to improve and optimize the overall performance.  Unfortunately most of those tweaks are either registry hacks or command line utilities.   

    GIGATweaker is a free tool that combines many of the common Win 7 tweaks into a simple easy to use interface.  And to add icing to the cake, GIGATweaker is completely portable so you can load it onto your support USB or Dropbox account and take it with you to every machine you need to tweak.

    GIGATweaker offers a lot of tweaks.  Some are fluff like changing the Windows registered user information.  Others are real meat and potatoes like disabling and deleting unnecessary programs from the Autostart list or increasing the size of the L2 Cache.

    There are too many tweaks to cover in any single post but some you might want to look at include:

    • Visual Effects – set to best performance.

    • Force unloading unused DLLs from memory

    • If you use a third-party ZIP archive tool (7-Zip anyone?) turn off browsing archives 

    • Increase the L2 cache and file system caching memory size

    • Disable recent shares in Network Places

    • Remove unnecessary performance robbing Autostart programs such as Adobe Reader


    GIGATweaker can be downloaded from http://7room.net/gigatweaker/.

    Anybody got any other tweaking tools you'd recommend?