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Riverbed accelerates AutoCAD again

AutoCAD 2010 gets back with the program

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AutoCAD users with tortoise-like WAN file transmission across Riverbed optimised networks can breathe a sigh of relief: AutoCAD 2010 files sprint across the network like hares on steroids.

Riverbed's Steelhead WAN optimisation appliance speeds TCP/IP network transmission and also deduplicates files to reduce the number of bytes sent across the link. For this to work well, there have to be redundancies in the data inside a file.

AutoCAD users in the architecture, engineering and construction fields typically work on drawings, make revisions and then file the drawing. If such revised drawings are sent across a WAN link, then there is often a lot of redundancy and the file transmission time much reduced, as the Steelheads detect the redundant data and do not send it.

However, in May last year, it was found that Steelhead performance with AutoCAD 2007, the latest revision of the AutoCAD software and file format, was dire. Files took much longer to traverse a network because AutoCAD 2007 reorganised file contents, for faster local disk access, even if few or no changes were made to a drawing. This stymied Riverbed's deduplication.

The problem has continued since then, but with the 2010 revision of AutoCAD's file format it has been sorted.

A Riverbed performance brief (pdf) notes: "AutoCAD 2010 has resolved these issues, giving the strong results shown."

Riverbed says it will be able to accelerate AutoCAD 2010 network transmission by up to 100 times, while typically cutting WAN bandwidth consumption by 50 percent to 90 percent. It notes that organisations that once waited 30 minutes to open a drawing will now be able to access it in seconds.

There are, Riverbed says, hundreds of its customers using AutoCAD. Eric Stover, Autodesk's AutoCAD Product Line Manager, said Riverbed and Autodesk "teams have worked closely on engineering to ensure productivity and performance to our customers."

An AutoCAD 2010 FAQ (pdf) states: "the AutoCAD 2010 DWG file format has been updated and is different from the 2007/2008/2009 DWG file format. This new format is also the same DWG file format that is used in the latest releases of the Autodesk industry-specific products such as AutoCAD Architecture 2010, AutoCAD Map 3D, AutoCADCivil 3D, AutoCAD Civil, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Mechanical, and AutoCAD MEP software applications."

The changes mean that AutoCAD users upgrading to AutoCAD 2010 will get back the performance gains they used to have with Steelhead WAN optimisation before the AutoCAD 2007 file format came along. Sounds like instant gratification. ®

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