SolidWorks File Bloat, EcoSqueeze, and PDM

The rapid increase in SolidWorks file size in SW04 is causing us grief. EcoSqueeze can eliminate the parasolid information that is bloating the
files, and I ran a simple test to see if it increased the load time for one of my parts. I got 4 minutes without the parasolid data and 4 minutes with it, so it looks like we could economize on disk space without slowing down our workflow. The problem is that we use PDM to keep our files straight (Activault right now, looking to upgrade to another system soon, possibly DBWorks). I don't see any easy way to integrate EcoSqueeze with Activault. Would it be an easy matter to write a script that would run EcoSqueeze on the parts as it saved them into our PDM system? Has anybody done that for any PDM system?
The best answer would be for SolidWorks to give us the option to save or not save the parasolid information, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
Jerry Steiger Tripod Data Systems "take the garbage out, dear"
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Are you sure ecosqueeze won't work? I should unfrag any Structured Storage file. Of course if it is based on file extensions it won't, but Thilo could fix that.
I wouldn't want to run it on a vault while the server was up either.
Jerry Steiger wrote:

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could
Right. I don't want to run it on the files after they have been placed in the vault. I want to run it on the files just before they are placed in the vault. Activault doesn't seem to offer any way to intercept the files, run them through EcoSqueeze, and then place them in the vault. I'm wondering if any of the other PDM systems would give us that possibility.
Jerry Steiger Tripod Data Systems "take the garbage out, dear"
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Jerry Steiger wrote: The files inside the vault are still native SW files, but the extension has been stripped off. If the server is shut down you should be able to unfrag the files. Of course I would test this out first.
I suppose given SW position on using any unfrag utility you will not find any Solution Partner doing this.

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"kellnerp" wrote:

"unsupported" doesn't mean "forbidden" ;-) What would be wrong with a SolutionPartner tool that calls an external tool every time a file is saved/closed?
I have an idea on how to run EcoSqueeze before any PDM puts the file in its vault, and how to detect if parasolid info can be safely removed or not. Any sponsor ?
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Philippe Guglielmetti - www.dynabits.com



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Thanks, Philippe. I might be able to get folks here interested. How much are you talking about?
Jerry Steiger Tripod Data Systems "take the garbage out, dear"
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If push comes to shove, I guess we could try this out, but I, for one, am very nervous about messing with the files once they are in the vault. Thanks, again.
Jerry Steiger Tripod Data Systems "take the garbage out, dear"
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Jerry,
If you or one of your co-workers can write script files....
All you have to do is modify the OnSaveas, OnCheckin, or OnApproval lst files to check for the file extension. If it meets your criterial have the script run an external program (ECO-SQUEEZE) or what have you on the file prior to checking it into the vault.
You could also modify the OnEdit script to perform the same thing when adding/removing configurations.
At the same time you could perform a whole slew of checks, such as description naming convention, duplicate numbers, custom/configuration auto fill, auto drawing creation, check the values against an ERP for incorrect values, etc....
If you have the 30 day evaluation you should be able to "test this" in real time.
Len

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Thanks, Len. Just what I wanted to hear!
Jerry Steiger Tripod Data Systems "take the garbage out, dear"
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Has anyone seen where EcoSqueeze removes Sharing and Security rights on a shared folder on a local machine? It has happened to us several times, and if I remember correctly the shares and security appear to be there, but you have to recreate them to allow others to share the directory. I even have one machine that we have to make a copy of the entire directory after running EcoSqueeze to allow others to access it.
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Jerry,
are you sure it's the parasolid which is bloating your files? I'm hesitant to remove the parasolid on "master" production files while the preview and display list is pretty save to remove. The original intention of EcoSqueeze was to shrink a copy of an 100MB assembly down to say 5MB for easy emailing. If you remove the parasolid of an imported part, SolidWorks cannot rebuild it as there is no parametric info in the file, so be careful!
I don't know what possibilities you have in your PDM to trigger an other application before import, but one idea would be to use the EcoSqueeze command line. An other one would be to write an add-in for SolidWorks which catches file saves or similar events. Or we could watch for file system changes on particular folders and trigger "squeezing" from there.
If you need to save disk space my reccomendation is to run EcoSqueeze every other week on your vault when it's off. The ideal sequenze would be to switch off the vault, backup the files, EcoSqueeze the vault folder and finally defragment the hard disk.
EcoSqueeze does not look at the file extension, it looks at the header of the file to determine whether it's a structured storage file or not so it should work. As SolidWorks does not recommend using defragmentation tools, and I don't want to get into trouble in case they ever chage anything which would cause EcoSqueeze to make files unreadable by SolidWorks, I can only recommend to use EcoSqueeze on data AFTER you have drawn a backup.
Regarding the permission issue an other user brought up: Frankly, I haven't looked into this (and don't have the time to do it right now). All I can say for now is that EcoSqueeze runs by default under the currently logged it user account where it's executed. When you have the /v verify option on, it works on a copy of the file, not directly on it. The advantage of this is that in case anything happens (power failure, system lockup), the original file is untouched. Only after the squeezed file passes some sanity checks, the original is deleted and the defragmented one renamed to the original. While this method is safer, it takes a lot longer, may defragment the hard disk itself a bit more and may change the file permissions as I don't set them explicitly to the ones of the original file. Work around: either don't use /v or run EcoSqueeze under an account with the security permissions you desire (if that's possible in your environment).
Thilo
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Quite positive. I ran the "normal" EcoSqueeze on thirteen of my parts and got the typical halving of the file size. When I remove the parasolid files they shrink down anywhere from just 10% or so (small files anyway) to more than 99% on one of the larger files. The average of the thirteen is 83% compression, so my total file size is about one sixth of the "normal" EcoSqueeze size.

Right, this is one reason I am a bit hesitant to run EcoSqueeze on the vault, since I might have some parts in the system that are imported and I'd rather not find out many months from now that I've blown them away. If we can run some kind of script on individual files as we put them into PDM, there's a pretty good chance that we will recognize what we are doing and won't lose any critical surfaces.

I don't see a way to do this with our existing PDM (an old version of Activault). We could do this if we switch to DBWorks.

write an add-in for

This might work out well. I should run some tests on the comparative times to save bloated files versus the time to run EcoSqueeze and save the smaller files. If those are comparable or even smaller, then running EcoSqueeze each time we save the files would be a good idea. If running EcoSqueeze takes longer, then it would be best to do it only when saving the files into the vault.

Or we could

Given our file structures, this probably doesn't make much sense. Since the check-in process takes place from SolidWorks, the files have to be compressed as they leave SW or as they enter the vault. There isn't any intermediate place where we can do it.

I think this is brain-dead behavior on the part of SolidWorks. But the whole idea of saving the parasolid data seems to be brain-dead to me, since it seems to bloat the file size without reducing the time to load the files. If they would give me the option to save or not save the parasolid data, we could all be happy.
Anyway, thanks, Thilo!
Jerry Steiger Tripod Data Systems "take the garbage out, dear"
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So...if I am making a brand new part in solidworks, and import nothing from another file, why in the world must the file contain information I DO NOT need, and which as far as I read here, that SolidWorks doesn't need.
Quid quo pro between Microsoft and Intel and Hard Drive mfgrs to keep upping the computer anty?
I don't want my work horse, SolidWorks, to turn into a Zebra...uh oh, I remember, I can already use Zebra stripes, so I guess SolidWorks has already bought into the MS Mess.
Bo
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My understanding, by way of Ed Eaton's post here some time ago, is that the Parasolid data is saved in working memory so that rolling up and down in the feature tree is faster. This may or may not be a good idea for most users, but it might cause problems for those of us who are working with large file sizes anyway. I think it would be useful if we had the ability to decide for ourselves whether or not we want that data in our working memory.
There is another issue, though, which is whether or not that Parasolid data should be saved to the hard disk. What little testing I have done shows that saving the data to disk seems to be pointless, since it takes my system the same amount of time to load the file whether I have the Parasolid data or don't. I suppose if I had a RAID or SATA drive that it might be a little faster with the Parasolid data. So, again, give us a toggle to save or not save that data.
Jerry Steiger Tripod Data Systems "take the garbage out, dear"
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