Find us on Google+ August 2015 ~ Inventor Tales

Friday, August 21, 2015

Defragging Autodesk Vault Using a Script

It's been a little while since I've been able to dig into Autodesk Vault, but just this week, I had to locate a script to defragment the Vault database. 

The reason for a defragment is to make sure Vault performance doesn't degrade when making database queries.  For those of us not intimate with SQL, those are Vault Searches.

A manual defrag can be kicked off from the ADMS Console on your server at any time.  All you have to do is right click on the database you want to defrag, and choose "Defragment Database".

A manual defrag from the ADMS Console

But the next warning will give you an indication that this isn't a small feat.

You should read and heed this message! 
The database will lock during a defragment, and the users won't be able to use it.  As a rule, this is undesirable during working hours.

What would be better, is if we could run it during off hours when nobody is accessing the server.

A script can be used to make sure you, as a CAD Manager, don't have to log in during the dead of night to execute the command yourself.  The script is just a text string that runs the same function as the command shown above.

An example of the script in Notepad.  Click to enlarge this image.

This can be set to run as a Window Scheduled Task.  You can let the server run this at a time of your choosing.

First of all, the text for the script is listed below.  You can type this in Notepad.  Also, it's all one line of text.  Don't let the wrapping below fool you.

"C:\Program Files\Autodesk\ADMS Professional 2016\ADMS Console\Connectivity.ADMSConsole.exe" -Odefragmentvault -NVault -VUAdministrator -VP -S

There's a lot of geeky sort of words and phrases in this script.  So let's break it down a little bit.

C:\Program Files\Autodesk\ADMS Professional 2016\ADMS Console

This line just opens up the directory where the executable file to run thee script is located.  Note that it's version specific if you use the default location.

To make sure I've got it right, I copy and paste the location into Windows Explorer.  If it opens up the folder location with the file, Connectivity.ADMSConsole.exe in it, congratulations, it's right.

Go get yourself a cookie!

Speaking of Connectivity.ADMSConsole.exe. 

This one is pretty simple, it's the executable file that starts Vault commands.  In effect, it's starting the ADMS Console without the interface.


This is the switch that tells Vault that a defragment is being done.  Different switches can get Vault to do different functions, such as backup.


This is important! The -N is a switch tells Vault which Vault database is going to be defragmented.  For example -NOlympus would defragment the Vault database named "Olympus".


Often the user "Administrator", the -VU switch tells Vault which user the Vault is using to run the defragmentation.  The user running the script isn't important, but they must be a Vault user with administrative permissions.


This is the password for the user identified by the -VU switch.  In my sample, it's blank because my administrator doesn't have a password.

Yes I know, this is a terrible practice.  Do as I recommend, not as I do!  (cheeky grin).


This runs the script silently.  That means that it won't show you any dialog boxes and wait for you to hit "OK".  It's just going to chug along.

Now that all that is been explained, you can save this script with a *.bat extension.

Now, set it up as a Windows Scheduled Task, and you should be off and running!

It's hard to give a solid schedule to run a defrag on, but I usually run my tasks about every six months or so, but that's just what works for me.  You'll have to keep an eye on your Vault and see how it performs.  You may be able to go longer or shorter depending on your personal experience.

If you want, you can always check the ADMS Console, if it says "Defragmention Recommended", it's probably a good idea to run that defrag!

Time to do a little maintenance! 
One more tip, but this is a big one.  Always! Always! Always! Make sure you close the ADMS Console interface when you log off your machine!  

Vault will only allow one instance of the ADMS Console to run at a time!  If you forget this step, the script won't be able start.  That means that no backups, defrags, or anything else that runs off Connectivity.ADMSConsole.exe will work!

You don't want to see this message
The last thing you want to see is this message when you need a backup, and one hasn't been running for six months because you forgot to close the ADMS Console!

In conclusion, good use of batch scripts can be a boon to making sure your Vault runs efficiently.  It can eliminate the need to constantly log into run maintenance processes.  Instead, you can let them run on a schedule, and just monitor to make sure the finely tuned system is still finely tuned.

The defragmenting script is one, the backup script is another.  But there is a lot more that can be done.

For a full reference, check out this link from Autodesk here!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

After a GPU Failure, Fusion 360 Keeps Me Designing!

This Friday, my laptop had to go to back to the manufacture because the graphics card was spiking at a 100 degrees C.  Needless to say, my GPU was better suited to making coffee than processing graphics.

At least that GPU is good for something! 
With my laptop, I also lost my installs of Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Vault, and AutoCAD Electrical.

Fortunately, I have a personal laptop that I can use, but it doesn't quite have the horsepower to run 3D modeling software.

So what do I run in the meantime?  I decided to take it as an opportunity to use Fusion 360 in the meantime.

I've not used Fusion 360 much but I have created some files, and that did allow me to enjoy a couple of benefits.

1. I had very little configuration to get up and running on my "backup" system.

Most of the configuration is stored in the cloud.  I only had to install the Fusion 360 application.  At about 1.5 GB, it not a big install.

The client itself is pretty small. 

2. All my files were readily accessible.

The files are all stored online, so there was no backup to restore.  I just need an internet connection, and I just log into the system.

My training files. No restore needed.  They were there when I logged in to my account.
3. The hardware requirement isn't nearly as heavy.

My "backup" laptop only had a 4 GB of RAM, a 2 GB ATI video card, and a respectable AMD processor.  Not a bad machine, but not a CAD station for sure.

But it does run Fusion nicely!

Most of the drawbacks are matters of my own personal preference, but I suppose in many cases, drawbacks always are.  And ultimately, it's all a result of my acceptance of the "status quo".

1) It's not Inventor!

I've been using Inventor since 2000.  That's right!  Since the turn of the century!  I'm used to it, I'm comfortable with it.  Fusion is new, and different.

I guess I'll just have to expand my comfort zone!

2) All that data is online.

It's a little weird at first, isn't it?  I'm used to having my data local.  I'm comfortable with it, I know it.  But I'm already backing up my Vault data to Dropbox, so it's not that big of a departure, in many ways.

So I'll have a bit of learning to do!  I'm planning spend a little time this week!

Friday, August 14, 2015

It's Been a Great Run - Farewell to KETIV

After 7 incredible years, I've decided its time to move on from KETIV Technologies.  I will remain with them until August 31, 2015, in order to make sure our transition is as smooth as possible.

They've been good to me, they deserve my best efforts.

A perfectly natural question to ask is "Why?" or "What's the story?".  Some may even ponder, "What's the real story?"

And that question has really been posed to me!

Some seem to think that this is a good analogy for leaving a job.
This is far from reality for KETIV and I.
I can say there are no great wrongs, real or perceived, no dirty laundry to air.  It is simply time for me to move in a new direction.

I'm going to miss my colleagues at KETIV, even as I look forward to my new course.  They're an outstanding group of people, and I look forward to seeing them at a future event!

As a user, I wouldn't hesitate to have KETIV support any engineering department I land in!

So what does that mean for InventorTales?  I plan on keeping it going and adapt it to my new path.

And as for that path?  What does that look like?

It's a trail I'm still blazing.  I'm hoping continue taking aircraft maintenance classes, combining my theoretical engineering mind with the practical lessons of grimy hands and bloody knuckles.

It may yet be a while, but I'm hoping to gain my aircraft maintenance certification from the FAA some day.

I also plan on continuing to expand and improve my work in CAD, I'm not quite sure what form that's going to take, but stay tuned! There will be more news for sure!

I'll add updates as I have them, and I will certainly have some!

Thanks to all those who've supported me over the years!

You'll never find out what's over the next hill, if you don't get up and take the journey.


U.S. Thunderbird F-16 Ejection: By U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Does the Future of Making Things Spell the End of the How it Was Done?

There's a lot of buzz about the "Future of Making Things" lately.  Personally, I'm a big fan of the possibilities this new wave has to offer.  Things like connected devices, cloud technology, and 3D printing, just to name a few.

But while I excitedly absorbed this new age, I was reminded of an experience I had.

Not to long ago, perhaps a year at the most, a colleague needed to find a component in an industry catalog, like many of us designers needed to do.
Most of us have thumbed through catalogs like this one from Aircraft Spruce
But we were standing in a large hangar, the closest computer wasn't readily accessible.

I began browsing in my smart phone, to which he proclaimed to me defiantly, "I bet I can find this in the catalog faster than you can find it on that contraption.

"You might."  I responded, sensing his need to prove a point.  I willed my smart phone to pull those bits and bytes faster.

And in fact.... He did beat me! He found his part before I had found it in my smart phone.

"See!  Those smart phones aren't the answer to everything! I'll take that over that fancy thing any day!"  He stated proudly.  I'm sure he felt he had proved that his older technology had beaten my new tech.

You might think I would have felt the frustration of having "lost".  My colleague certainly felt like he'd "won".  But in truth I had earned valuable experience.

Sometimes, I find myself looking at new technology as a "replacement" to old technology.

Throw away your catalogs and reference books!  Dispose of your paper prints.  

The Internet, connected devices, and data shared via the cloud will replace that!

3D printing is the future!  Why machine, mold, or cast parts when you can print them at will!

We've all likely heard a similar mantra before.

Will the Future of Making things make prints like this a thing of the past? 
But reflecting on that inner monologue, I asked myself a different set of questions.

Will it the future of making things spell the end of the "Past of Making Things"?  

Should it?

And finally.

Does it have to?

I have battery operated screw drivers now, but that doesn't mean I threw away my hand screwdrivers.  I've reached for my thirty year old screwdriver for a quick job, or when the battery in my power screwdriver is dead (usually because I forgot to charge it).

I have a belt sander and two orbital sanders, but I've still folded sandpaper over a block of wood to make a sanding block.

Why?  It was the right tool for the right job.

The power tool vs the hand tool.  Is one better than the other?
Or does it depend on what you need it for? 
Doesn't each one of those cases represent a situation where an old technology wasn't replaced by a new one, but instead augmented by it?

I've lost count of how may times I've seen oil, water (including coffee), or grease smeared on paper prints.  Would you rather see that on paper, or an expensive tablet?

In this environment, paper gets torn, but tablets get shattered.
Would you rather print a new document, or replace a tablet?
Picture taken at Mt. SAC Aircraft Maintenance Dept 
But why not use that tablet to quickly find the information, then print to a piece of paper?  All without a trip to the engineering department!

Does that make one better than the other?  Or does it make one better suited for one type of job over another?

The lesson I learned was valuable indeed.  My colleague's catalog beat my smart phone.  No doubt about it.  On the other hand, what if his catalog is out of date?  Even if it was slower, it's likely my smart phone would have been more accurate, since an online catalog can be easily updated with new information.

So what?  What's the lesson, the "call to action"?

Stay open minded, and don't throw the "baby out with the bath water".  Don't integrate new tech at the cost of your old tech, but use the "new fangled", add it to the "tried and true', and make it greater than the sum of it's parts.

Jonathan Landeros


photo credit: should you really be letting those just hang around? via photopin (license)