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5 Tips For Your New A360 Collaboration for Revit

NOTE: As of January 2016, many updates have made parts of this post obsolete. This is superseded by a new post: A Comprehensive Guide To Setting Up Collaboration For Revit

 

Autodesk’s A360 Collaboration for Revit is one of the easiest ways to collaborate on Revit models in multiple locations, and requires far less IT involvement and overhead than alternatives.

However, there are still some critical elements for setting up your A360 Collaboration for Revit properly, and for handling your models on an ongoing basis.  Please note these aspects may change over time, so we will update this blog post as appropriate.

This blog post is intended to complement Autodesk’s existing guide for getting started with A360, which can be found here:  How to Get Started With A360 C4R

1. Pick Your Team Owner Wisely

EDIT: Since this article was originally written, the impact of Team Ownership has changed. The article is now corrected for the current situation as of January 2016.

Collaboration for Revit is built on A360 Team, a cloud service launched in 2014, and every seat of C4R includes a seat of A360 Team.  A360 Team is a project-oriented cloud service, which manages the projects, the users, the web interface, and certain aspects of sharing data and models.  The best way to think of this is that C4R adds the Revit collaboration component on top of A360 Team.

Thus, in order to use Collaboration for Revit, you need to have a Team Hub set up.  This is a repository of your company’s cloud data, project structure, and users.

The first user to request a Collaboration for Revit account — whether via the free 30-day demo, or from your first purchase — becomes the Team Owner for your organization’s hub.

In addition, at this time it is not possible to change a Team Owner.  The only option is to create a new Hub, manually migrate the projects and data to the new Hub, and shut down the old Hub.

Another minor issue is that at the time of writing, a Team Owner cannot be identified either via the Autodesk Account or Team Hub.  You must keep track of the identity of your Team Owner.  If you cannot determine it, you or your reseller will need to open a ticket with Autodesk.

The Team Owner is the first Team Administrator. In the past, the Team Owner needed a seat of A360 Team to keep the Team Hub active; this is no longer the case. Now, you need to assign the Team Hub to a contract. Please refer to Autodesk’s KB on Contract Assignment Workflow for more details.

2. Setting Up the Team Hub

When you first put in the order, the Team Owner will receive two emails from Autodesk.  One is an Order Confirmation, the second is a Fulfillment Notification.  Although this may suggest that your order is ready, this is only an indication that the process has started.  Setting up a Team Hub can take up to 72 hours after the order is placed.

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When the order is complete, the Team Owner will receive an email stating that “Your A360 Team Hub is now active” and will include instructions on how to set up the Hub.  More details on this are in the previously linked Autodesk guide, How To Get Started With A360 C4R

3. Update Revit and Install Collaboration for Revit

Revit must be on the latest build in order to be compatible with Collaboration for Revit.  We recommend you proceed as follows:

  • Run the Autodesk Application Manager
  • Update all versions of Revit on the computer.  This must be done first!  As of 1/2016:
    • For Revit 2015, it must be on Update Release 11
    • For Revit 2016, it must be on Service Pack 2
  • Open Revit, and verify that it is now on the latest build
  • Download and install the Collaboration for Revit application
    • As of 1/2016, this is Collaboration for Revit v7
  • Check the Autodesk Application Manager again, to see if there are any updates to Collaboration for Revit

If you are not on the latest build and latest Collaboration for Revit, there may be issues accessing your data.  You may see error messages or reminders when you start Revit.

4. Publish Frequently

As a Cloud service, it should be no surprise that the data on your Collaboration for Revit models is stored at the C4R servers (which are actually Amazon’s S3 data center in Virginia).  The local machine only has a cache of data, and the “Create New Local” and “Detach From Central” options are grayed out when using Collaboration for Revit.  The Cloud-enabled models is available not only through Revit, but also via the A360 Team web interface.

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Collaboration for Revit has a specific function to make the latest version of a model available via the web interface, called publishing.  Once a model is published, you can download any published version via your A360 Team Hub.

We recommend you frequently publish your models for several reasons:

  • If you ever need to access an earlier version, the most efficient way to do this will be to download a recently published version.  If you roll back to an earlier STC, this will delete all newer versions, and orphan anyone who is still connected to the model.
  • When you publish a model, you can download it for offline storage.

We have a blog post on how to publish your models for backup and offline storage purposes here:  Microsol Blog: Backing Up A360 C4R Models

5. Compacting Models

At this time, Autodesk does not have an option to compact an active Collaboration for Revit model.  We recommend the following procedure to clean up and compact your models:

  1. Publish your model.
  2. Download the published model.
  3. Compact and perform additional maintenance on the model.
  4. Enable the new model for collaboration, via the normal procedure in Revit.

You may want to use a naming convention for your models to indicate the latest version, as this may result in a proliferation of models.  You may also want to remove earlier versions from Collaboration for Revit, though of course we recommend you have local backups of any model prior to deletion.

Bonus Tip!  Checking Cloud Service Status

As with many other Cloud services, Autodesk publishes a status page.  If you notice any issues with Collaboration for Revit, we recommend you check this page first.  You can also use that page to report an issue, though please note that this does not generate a ticket with Autodesk Support.

Autodesk Health Dashboard Service

Screenshot 2015-07-28 16.02.31

If you have questions about these procedures, please email us at support@microsolresources.com or by phone at 888-768-7568.

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About the author

John has been the Director of IT at Microsol since 2014. Prior to that, he worked with architecture firms. He is an expert in multi-site collaboration technologies, licensing, subscription software, CAD & BIM specific hardware & digital imaging.