Autodesk Vault uses the concept of a “Local Workspace” whenever files are opened or checked out. Essentially, whenever a Vault file is accessed, a copy is cached in the workspace on the user’s local workstation. From a user perspective, the workspace can be ignored for much regular work. There are several benefits of a local workspace.
- Performance improvement over network share – One of the problems without a PDM system is that files are opened directly across the network. Files being accessed and edited are located on a network share, and stay there while being worked on. In environments with multiple users working with large datasets, this can become a disaster. When files are checked out from Vault, they are cached locally and the workstation’s drives are able to respond to changes more quickly than a network server.
- Offline workflows – The local workspace also allows users to retrieve data to work on while disconnected from their corporate network. The local workspace actually acts much like a briefcase: The user simply checks out files, disconnects from the network and works on them, and checks them back in when they return to the network and are logged back into Vault.
- Better distributed workforce management – For companies with distributed workforces, the local workspace can also be a big benefit. Combining the performance and offline workflows really makes workflows possible with a distributed workforce. All that is required is a remote VPN connection, and then files can be checked in and out of Vault. The VPN doesn’t have to be permanently connected. When disconnected, it will really be just like an offline workflow. Since files that are checked out from Vault reside locally, the distributed users still have good performance while editing and saving their work.