Guide to SOLIDWORKS Database Managed Products

(PDM Standard, PDM Professional, Electrical, PCB) - Installation and Upgrading

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Quite often, we (SOLIDWORKS resellers) are asked by customer/users “How do I install/upgrade SOLIDWORKS PDM/Electrical/PCB?”

It’s a simple question, right?

The answer is not so simple. Application experts can find it hard to answer these questions, not because they don’t know the answer, but due to the number of variables that can affect how they would offer solutions.

Why is it so hard to answer these questions?

The short answer is: These are database managed software systems with multiple server components and client software.

Anecdote: Once during a sales call, a customer challenged me as to why he could not install PDM Professional himself. His direct question was “Does SOLIDWORKS provide enough documentation for me to do it myself?”. The answer is unequivocally YES. The PDM installation guide is a 200+ page PDF. It accounts for every type of server topology possible. The real challenge for non PDM experts is the unintended ignorance, what they didn’t know they didn’t know. Let us help you define the necessary information for their environment and end goal.

The best intangible benefit of hiring a SOLIDWORKS reseller for implementation services for PDM, Electrical, or PCB is the project planning and IT guidance. We’re not here to tell you what to do, how to do it, or what server you should buy. We’re here to understand your business process, listen to your end goals, and help you through every step of the way from starting the install to ensuring your users are trained on how to effectively use the product. We leverage our experience with companies, big and small, and show you the best practices we’ve seen be successful. We want to work with your IT and management team.

Also, implementation services can be a huge benefit because an experienced application expert can provide the following:

  • Installation for whatever environment you decide upon
  • Education for IT team: Topology map and backup procedures
  • Advanced PDM Education will include replication schemas, dispatch, SQL reports, and more
  • Training for admins: Vault functions, Electrical Library management
  • Training for end users: Every day click tools with tips and tricks
  • Customization: For PDM, we can help you set up multiple workflows, data cards, serial numbers, revisions, signatures, etc. For Electrical and PCB, we find that custom templates and electrical library integration is necessary sooner rather than later.
We all know or can imagine what kind of trouble we can make for ourselves if we don’t know how to properly use the heavy equipment we have or mismanage our data from the start. We invite you to consider implementation and training services, so you can get working quickly and effectively in a short amount of time. Remember learning SOLIDWORKS on your own? It may have only taken you a few weeks, but our Essentials course is a 500-page book in 4 days. Implementation is about getting you all the information you need up front, so you can be productive faster.

Below is some additional information regarding the specific product you are interested in.

SOLIDWORKS PDM

Server Components
  • Required: SQL, Archive Server, Database Server, SolidNetwork License Manager
  • Optional: Replicated Archive Servers, Web Server
Client Components
  • PDM Client: 3 types: Editor, Contributor, Viewer (based on license access)
Other IT Considerations before Implementation:
  • Integration with Active Directory for password authentication
  • Integration with internal SMTP mail server for email notification function
Possible Topology Scenarios (most common, not all):
SQL, Database, SNL and Archive Servers
Guide to SOLIDWORKS Database Managed Software
Useful information to gather:
  • Standard or Professional?
  • How many end users (aka clients?)
  • Server information
  • How many? Which server will be hosting which component?
  • Physical or virtual?
  • Will the servers be dedicated to PDM or will other applications be running on them?
  • Is your IT staff internal or outsourced to another company? Who is the IT point of contact?
  • What version of PDM?
  • What is your timeline?
  • How large is the data set?
  • Initial Implementation questions:
  • Where is your data currently stored?
  • How is your data currently managed?
  • What considerations have you made to move your data to a new system?
  • What is your current engineering approval process?
  • What is your current ECO process?
  • Do you have a specific naming or numbering system for your engineering files?
  • What is your current revision scheme?
  • Upgrade Questions:
  • What version are you currently running?
  • What version are you upgrading to?
  • What version of SQL are you utilizing?
  • Do you have your SQL ‘sa’ credentials?

SOLIDWORKS PDM

Server Components
  • Instance of SQL
  • Data (database of parts, symbols, libraries, and catalogs)
  • Collaborative Server (Manages the opening and updating or electrical drawings)
Client Components
  • Electrical Schematic
  • Electrical 3D (Add-in for SOLIDWORKS)
Useful Information to Gather
  • What version(s) do you own and how many?
  • How many end users?
  • Which client software will each end users be utilizing? Schematic, 3D or both?
  • Server information
  • How many? Which server will be hosting which component?
  • Physical or virtual?
  • Will the servers be dedicated to Electrical or will other applications be running on them?
  • Is your IT staff internal or outsourced to another company? Who is the IT point of contact?
  • Do you have PDM?
  • Do you intend to integrate with PDM or are you already doing so?
  • Initial Implementation questions:
  • What current software are you using to design schematics?
  • Would you like custom templates set up? Do they include a customized numbering or naming sequence?
  • Would you like custom symbols set up or imported?
  • Would you like custom parts set up or imported?
  • Would you like custom wires/cable information set up and imported?

SOLIDWORKS PCB

Server Components
  • Microsoft Internet Information Services are required
  • PCB Services (manages repository and has it’s own database software)
  • Data folders (will host database and revisions)
SOLIDWORKS PCB Connector
Client Components
  • SOLIDWORKS PCB
  • PCB connector for Altium Designer
Client Components
  • What version(s) do you own and how many?
  • How many end users?
  • Which client software will each end users be utilizing? PCB or PCB Connector or Both?
  • Server information
  • Physical or virtual?
  • Will the servers be dedicated to PCB or will other applications be running on them?
  • Is your IT staff internal or outsourced to another company? Who is the IT point of contact?
  • Initial Implementation Questions
  • What product are you currently using for PCB Design?
  • If Altium, do you have a current Altium vault?
  • Do you have existing data you need to migrate into PCB?
  • Do you have supply chains you want to integrate with?
  • Will you need custom templates, BOM Reports, 3D Component bodies to start with?

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