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WAAS and AutoCAD


I have an engineering firm interested in deploying Cisco WAAS for their multiple sites and I know that they use a lot AutoCAD and Windows Terminal Services over the WAN.

Is there any design/config or other documents related to this that can clear some questions that the client might have?


Patrick Moubarak

  • Wide Area Application Services (WAAS)
Cisco Employee

Re: WAAS and AutoCAD

Hi Patrick,

I do not have an answer for you but searching thru this forum gave me a nice link and response from one of our very talented person - Joseph Merrill.

According to him in his own words from this thread:

Personally, I am unfamiliar with  MicroSurvey CAD software, and don't recall working with any accounts  where that was deployed.  Of course, I am not involved with every  deployment and can't say whether others watching this forum might have  experience with deploying MSCAD across WAAS.

I  went to their web site to see if they perhaps have posted protocol  information, but didn't find anything helpful.  We would need to know  the protocol(s) over which MSCAD communicates (ex. CIFS, HTTP, HTTPS,  proprietary TCP, etc.).  We also would need to know whether the data is  already compressed and/or encrypted.

Cisco  TAC should be able to assist you in diagnosing the cause of the slower  performance with MSCAD.  They will likely ask for a good, detailed  problem description, a set of packet captures that show the problem, and  sysreports from the WAEs.  A sysreport contains a collection of logs,  configuration information, and statistics which TAC will use in  conjunction with the packet captures to pinpoint where the slowness is  occurring.

AFAIK, in March 2008  Autodesk changed the DWG file format for AutoCAD 2007 to make it more compact and improve performance for AutoCAD users. One of the side effects of the DWG format changes is that when users perform a complete save from within AutoCAD (as opposed to an "incremental" save), virtually every byte of the file gets changed - even if zero changes were made to the file itself. The effect of the new file format, is that in some scenarios where the default configuration of the Autodesk save is modified, the save of the file object will render the caching / optimization less effective. One of the variables of the AutoCAD application is called Incremental Save Percentage (ISP). This variable can be tuned to better benefit from WAAS optimization.

Windows Explorer shell extension allows for custom thumbnail previewers and tooltip handlers. The default file tooltip displays file title, author, subject and comments; this metadata may be read from a special NTFS stream, if the file is on an NTFS volume, or from an OLE structured storage stream, if the file is a structured storage document. All Microsoft Office documents since Office 95 make use of structured storage, so their metadata is displayable in the Windows 2000 Explorer default tooltip. File shortcuts can also store comments which are displayed as a tooltip when the mouse hovers over the shortcut.

There was a problem when AutoCAD changed its file drawing format for  AutoCAD 2007 and it continued with AutoCAD 2008. Beginning with AutoCAD  2007, the application rescrambles all bits of a file on every save, even  if no changes are made to the file. This neutralizes the advantages of  data deduplication that most WAFS products use.     Customers have the option of setting an incremental save value and set it to 50, I believe.

It also depends upon the version of Autocad. Autocad is known to add more security and improvements that have really hurt the WAN optimizations in the past.

Hope this helps.


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