file sharing in the 21st century



  • Here's an update of my work and testing. I have NC up and most things are working as I expect, but I fear that I will run into similar issues to other people with the sync client. Most of my concerns related to using NC to host CAD files, or other non office files.

    Based on my testing I have observed:

    • There is no good file lock system with sync (and from what I read, webdav). I have the W2G2 app, and that can lock the web UI, but it sadly does not affect any other interfaces. I have read up on how NC handles conflicts and deliberately created some to verify the process. It was confusing at first, but then I realized that NC is only aware of uploads, not someone opening a file, particularly with the sync client. I forsee confusion on the part of my users, because they are all used to having a file lock when it is opened. If two people have the same file open, the first person to save gets to update the server and the second person gets the conflict, even if they opened it first. This would not happen to us everyday, but it would happen occasionally.
    • The conflict files take awhile to appear. I am worried that the user that created the conflict (by the nature of saving second) will have moved on and will be no longer looking in that directory and it will be very easy to miss that there is a conflict. I would prefer if conflicts were uploaded to the server or even synced to other clients to increase the chance of seeing it before it became a big problem.
    • NC either cannot say (or I don't have the right config) who created each version of a file, so when a conflict arises, and the user checks the web, they can see that there might be multiple versions, but no other useful information like what the change is, or who to ask. This might be very frustrating when the differences between two files is subtle.
    • There doesn't appear to be any log that tracks all activities by all users. I seem to only be able to see activities that are related to the user in question in some way.
    • OCR doesn't seem to work, but I would bet that is a config issues. Full text search does work though.
    • When creating a share by email, there is no option to enforce a expiration date.
    • We have two different versions of the windows sync client, 2.5.0 and 2.5.1, both say they are the most current and there are no updates. I have tried both on a second computer, and both versions will not show the sync icons, they just look like regular folders. The icons work fine on my end.
    • Automated tagging is limited. I wish there was a setting where files would/could inherit tags from their parent folders.

    None of these are deal breakers, but there are some definite holes that we would need to fix in our workflows. Some of these issue may be able to be overcome with better communication, but it made harder by the fact that in many cases, the user wouldn't know who to coordinate with.

    I can conceive of overly complicated ways of making a hybrid of NC and NAS/File server. Something like using NC to sync two file servers together, and for remote access, while letting the users connect directly to the file servers to handle the locks. But part of me shudders and trying to keep a house of cards like that working.



  • @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    It was confusing at first, but then I realized that NC is only aware of uploads, not someone opening a file, particularly with the sync client.

    Remember that the file is local, it would be impossible for NC to override the local file system. Given that it is a sync, no sync system can really do this. If it did this, it would be unable to work offline which is really its purpose. Locking on remote file systems is a universal problem that cannot have a simple solution. All systems, including SMB shares, share this problem.



  • @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    • The conflict files take awhile to appear. I am worried that the user that created the conflict (by the nature of saving second) will have moved on and will be no longer looking in that directory and it will be very easy to miss that there is a conflict. I would prefer if conflicts were uploaded to the server or even synced to other clients to increase the chance of seeing it before it became a big problem.

    Again, this is universal and not related to NC. Same would happen with offline SMB.



  • @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    • There doesn't appear to be any log that tracks all activities by all users. I seem to only be able to see activities that are related to the user in question in some way.

    have you installed the "Activity" app? Or "Activities for shared file downloads?" Or "Audit / Logging"? We use all of those and have decent visibility.



  • @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    • We have two different versions of the windows sync client, 2.5.0 and 2.5.1, both say they are the most current and there are no updates. I have tried both on a second computer, and both versions will not show the sync icons, they just look like regular folders. The icons work fine on my end.

    What mechanism are you using for installing them?



  • I am aware of that. It's online locking that I am after. Though, I will concede that any locking scheme has to plan for both online and offline. I like sync because of local performance and offline availability, but it really feels like it is best for non shared files. When you add multiple users into the mix, almost everything goes out the window, especially when and if they go offline.



  • @scottalanmiller said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    • There doesn't appear to be any log that tracks all activities by all users. I seem to only be able to see activities that are related to the user in question in some way.

    have you installed the "Activity" app? Or "Activities for shared file downloads?" Or "Audit / Logging"? We use all of those and have decent visibility.

    AFAIK, those are all enabled and working correctly, they just dont show much. But I will check again.



  • @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    I am aware of that. It's online locking that I am after. Though, I will concede that any locking scheme has to plan for both online and offline. I like sync because of local performance and offline availability, but it really feels like it is best for non shared files. When you add multiple users into the mix, almost everything goes out the window, especially when and if they go offline.

    Everything is best for non-shared files 🙂

    SMB shines at "always online, always nearly local" files because it handles offline so poorly. It's a balance. To handle offline or very distant (e.g. high latency) networks well, you have to sacrifice locking.



  • @scottalanmiller said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    • We have two different versions of the windows sync client, 2.5.0 and 2.5.1, both say they are the most current and there are no updates. I have tried both on a second computer, and both versions will not show the sync icons, they just look like regular folders. The icons work fine on my end.

    What mechanism are you using for installing them?

    I am just using the same windows installer exe, at least in the case of the 2.5.0 which is what I have where the icons work. The 2.5.1 came from the download link inside the NC web UI



  • @scottalanmiller said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    I am aware of that. It's online locking that I am after. Though, I will concede that any locking scheme has to plan for both online and offline. I like sync because of local performance and offline availability, but it really feels like it is best for non shared files. When you add multiple users into the mix, almost everything goes out the window, especially when and if they go offline.

    Everything is best for non-shared files 🙂

    SMB shines at "always online, always nearly local" files because it handles offline so poorly. It's a balance. To handle offline or very distant (e.g. high latency) networks well, you have to sacrifice locking.

    I understand that, but it also means that my users will be forced to deal with a limitation that is a sacrifice for a feature they don't usually use.



  • @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @scottalanmiller said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    I am aware of that. It's online locking that I am after. Though, I will concede that any locking scheme has to plan for both online and offline. I like sync because of local performance and offline availability, but it really feels like it is best for non shared files. When you add multiple users into the mix, almost everything goes out the window, especially when and if they go offline.

    Everything is best for non-shared files 🙂

    SMB shines at "always online, always nearly local" files because it handles offline so poorly. It's a balance. To handle offline or very distant (e.g. high latency) networks well, you have to sacrifice locking.

    I understand that, but it also means that my users will be forced to deal with a limitation that is a sacrifice for a feature they don't usually use.

    Except it also gives them a huge performance leap, which in theory they use every time they touch a file.



  • @scottalanmiller said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @scottalanmiller said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    I am aware of that. It's online locking that I am after. Though, I will concede that any locking scheme has to plan for both online and offline. I like sync because of local performance and offline availability, but it really feels like it is best for non shared files. When you add multiple users into the mix, almost everything goes out the window, especially when and if they go offline.

    Everything is best for non-shared files 🙂

    SMB shines at "always online, always nearly local" files because it handles offline so poorly. It's a balance. To handle offline or very distant (e.g. high latency) networks well, you have to sacrifice locking.

    I understand that, but it also means that my users will be forced to deal with a limitation that is a sacrifice for a feature they don't usually use.

    Except it also gives them a huge performance leap, which in theory they use every time they touch a file.

    But with great power comes great responsibility. The conflict mechanism will surely catch them off guard for probably a long time, because it is too subtle.



  • would sharepoint be any better from this standpoint?



  • @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @scottalanmiller said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @scottalanmiller said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    I am aware of that. It's online locking that I am after. Though, I will concede that any locking scheme has to plan for both online and offline. I like sync because of local performance and offline availability, but it really feels like it is best for non shared files. When you add multiple users into the mix, almost everything goes out the window, especially when and if they go offline.

    Everything is best for non-shared files 🙂

    SMB shines at "always online, always nearly local" files because it handles offline so poorly. It's a balance. To handle offline or very distant (e.g. high latency) networks well, you have to sacrifice locking.

    I understand that, but it also means that my users will be forced to deal with a limitation that is a sacrifice for a feature they don't usually use.

    Except it also gives them a huge performance leap, which in theory they use every time they touch a file.

    But with great power comes great responsibility. The conflict mechanism will surely catch them off guard for probably a long time, because it is too subtle.

    It's been a while since I've looked at this type of product or solution, but would a DMS along the lines of Alfresco be better suited to this from the perspective of checking files in and out of the repository? Granted that it will would likely require reworking / rethinking workflows, it might be worth considering, especially given the ability to integrate google docs style editing / collaboration.

    http://orderofthebee.org/honeycomb/ was a good starting point when I looked at it a while back, there's also a bunch of resources here https://www.loftux.com/en/products-and-add-ons/alfresco/alfresco-overview



  • @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    CAD files

    You don't want to sync this stuff. It's bad for this type.

    We have the same thing here, and have tried some things in testing. Large drawings pulling sometimes hundreds or thousands of other drawings to make it. It needs to be on-prem, and should not be synchronized with anything. It's a catastrophe waiting to happen. NC/OneDrive/etc... that type of thing is NOT for this type of files.



  • @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @scottalanmiller said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    • There doesn't appear to be any log that tracks all activities by all users. I seem to only be able to see activities that are related to the user in question in some way.

    have you installed the "Activity" app? Or "Activities for shared file downloads?" Or "Audit / Logging"? We use all of those and have decent visibility.

    AFAIK, those are all enabled and working correctly, they just dont show much. But I will check again.

    This is apparently a limitation of using group folders, Versioning made it into group folders in NC15, but activities and a trashbin are not included as of yet.



  • @Obsolesce said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    CAD files

    You don't want to sync this stuff. It's bad for this type.

    We have the same thing here, and have tried some things in testing. Large drawings pulling sometimes hundreds or thousands of other drawings to make it. It needs to be on-prem, and should not be synchronized with anything. It's a catastrophe waiting to happen. NC/OneDrive/etc... that type of thing is NOT for this type of files.

    the problem we currently have is that these files are all sitting on local machines only, until the project is finished and it is loaded onto the server. Network performance even on 1gbps just can't cut it. Plus, I am not and have no plans to do any backups of individual workstations, the plan is to get it all on the server somehow. My NC is on prem though, at least for one of my locations.



  • @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Obsolesce said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    CAD files

    You don't want to sync this stuff. It's bad for this type.

    We have the same thing here, and have tried some things in testing. Large drawings pulling sometimes hundreds or thousands of other drawings to make it. It needs to be on-prem, and should not be synchronized with anything. It's a catastrophe waiting to happen. NC/OneDrive/etc... that type of thing is NOT for this type of files.

    the problem we currently have is that these files are all sitting on local machines only, until the project is finished and it is loaded onto the server. Network performance even on 1gbps just can't cut it. Plus, I am not and have no plans to do any backups of individual workstations, the plan is to get it all on the server somehow. My NC is on prem though, at least for one of my locations.

    Even with a few users with a lot of CAD files on their own individual computers, anyone touching another like file will cause problems. If they are all different, then all is well.

    You'll have to pick a person, have them sync their files to the NC server. Then the next person will try to sync to it, and if any of the files the second person tries to sync to it already exist, it won't handle it as expected.



  • @Obsolesce said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Obsolesce said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    CAD files

    You don't want to sync this stuff. It's bad for this type.

    We have the same thing here, and have tried some things in testing. Large drawings pulling sometimes hundreds or thousands of other drawings to make it. It needs to be on-prem, and should not be synchronized with anything. It's a catastrophe waiting to happen. NC/OneDrive/etc... that type of thing is NOT for this type of files.

    the problem we currently have is that these files are all sitting on local machines only, until the project is finished and it is loaded onto the server. Network performance even on 1gbps just can't cut it. Plus, I am not and have no plans to do any backups of individual workstations, the plan is to get it all on the server somehow. My NC is on prem though, at least for one of my locations.

    Even with a few users with a lot of CAD files on their own individual computers, anyone touching another like file will cause problems. If they are all different, then all is well.

    You'll have to pick a person, have them sync their files to the NC server. Then the next person will try to sync to it, and if any of the files the second person tries to sync to it already exist, it won't handle it as expected.

    If everyone uses their own folder on the NC server, that would work better then.



  • @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Obsolesce said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    CAD files

    You don't want to sync this stuff. It's bad for this type.

    We have the same thing here, and have tried some things in testing. Large drawings pulling sometimes hundreds or thousands of other drawings to make it. It needs to be on-prem, and should not be synchronized with anything. It's a catastrophe waiting to happen. NC/OneDrive/etc... that type of thing is NOT for this type of files.

    the problem we currently have is that these files are all sitting on local machines only, until the project is finished and it is loaded onto the server. Network performance even on 1gbps just can't cut it. Plus, I am not and have no plans to do any backups of individual workstations, the plan is to get it all on the server somehow. My NC is on prem though, at least for one of my locations.

    What CAD suite are you using? Time to start looking at their native server system. Dessault and Autodesk both have something to manage this. It isn't inexpensive but would be better then just SMB.



  • @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Obsolesce said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    CAD files

    You don't want to sync this stuff. It's bad for this type.

    We have the same thing here, and have tried some things in testing. Large drawings pulling sometimes hundreds or thousands of other drawings to make it. It needs to be on-prem, and should not be synchronized with anything. It's a catastrophe waiting to happen. NC/OneDrive/etc... that type of thing is NOT for this type of files.

    the problem we currently have is that these files are all sitting on local machines only, until the project is finished and it is loaded onto the server. Network performance even on 1gbps just can't cut it. Plus, I am not and have no plans to do any backups of individual workstations, the plan is to get it all on the server somehow. My NC is on prem though, at least for one of my locations.

    I would say re-evaluate this if you really are having this issue. UrBackup would be perfect for this. Setup the UrB server and then install the agents on each of the end points.

    From the Server specify what to backup from your user workstations (as you can get really granular) and it just backs up as changes are saved locally to the server.

    Problem solved and the capital spend is near zero.



  • @Obsolesce said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Obsolesce said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Obsolesce said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    CAD files

    You don't want to sync this stuff. It's bad for this type.

    We have the same thing here, and have tried some things in testing. Large drawings pulling sometimes hundreds or thousands of other drawings to make it. It needs to be on-prem, and should not be synchronized with anything. It's a catastrophe waiting to happen. NC/OneDrive/etc... that type of thing is NOT for this type of files.

    the problem we currently have is that these files are all sitting on local machines only, until the project is finished and it is loaded onto the server. Network performance even on 1gbps just can't cut it. Plus, I am not and have no plans to do any backups of individual workstations, the plan is to get it all on the server somehow. My NC is on prem though, at least for one of my locations.

    Even with a few users with a lot of CAD files on their own individual computers, anyone touching another like file will cause problems. If they are all different, then all is well.

    You'll have to pick a person, have them sync their files to the NC server. Then the next person will try to sync to it, and if any of the files the second person tries to sync to it already exist, it won't handle it as expected.

    If everyone uses their own folder on the NC server, that would work better then.

    That would work for the intermediate stages, but the final destination has to be a common repository.



  • @coliver said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Obsolesce said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    CAD files

    You don't want to sync this stuff. It's bad for this type.

    We have the same thing here, and have tried some things in testing. Large drawings pulling sometimes hundreds or thousands of other drawings to make it. It needs to be on-prem, and should not be synchronized with anything. It's a catastrophe waiting to happen. NC/OneDrive/etc... that type of thing is NOT for this type of files.

    the problem we currently have is that these files are all sitting on local machines only, until the project is finished and it is loaded onto the server. Network performance even on 1gbps just can't cut it. Plus, I am not and have no plans to do any backups of individual workstations, the plan is to get it all on the server somehow. My NC is on prem though, at least for one of my locations.

    What CAD suite are you using? Time to start looking at their native server system. Dessault and Autodesk both have something to manage this. It isn't inexpensive but would be better then just SMB.

    I have looked into those too, but they are not without their own similar problems, not to mention $30k+, plus more for yearly support.



  • @DustinB3403

    This is just one part of our overall issues. NC can't solve all the issues, nor could UrBackup or similar products.



  • @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @DustinB3403

    This is just one part of our overall issues. NC can't solve all the issues, nor could UrBackup or similar products.

    Sure, which is why you'll have to piece together a system that means your needs.

    How I'd imagine UrB would work for you is you use NC as a dumping ground. People pull only from it to their systems. They make the changes locally and save to a "Sync" folder on their systems. UrB backs up just this Sync folder to your NC installation.

    And the cycle repeats.



  • @coliver said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Obsolesce said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    CAD files

    You don't want to sync this stuff. It's bad for this type.

    We have the same thing here, and have tried some things in testing. Large drawings pulling sometimes hundreds or thousands of other drawings to make it. It needs to be on-prem, and should not be synchronized with anything. It's a catastrophe waiting to happen. NC/OneDrive/etc... that type of thing is NOT for this type of files.

    the problem we currently have is that these files are all sitting on local machines only, until the project is finished and it is loaded onto the server. Network performance even on 1gbps just can't cut it. Plus, I am not and have no plans to do any backups of individual workstations, the plan is to get it all on the server somehow. My NC is on prem though, at least for one of my locations.

    What CAD suite are you using? Time to start looking at their native server system. Dessault and Autodesk both have something to manage this. It isn't inexpensive but would be better then just SMB.

    Yes, exactly. CAD programs all have a proper tool to manage this stuff, use the native one.



  • @travisdh1 said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @coliver said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Obsolesce said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    CAD files

    You don't want to sync this stuff. It's bad for this type.

    We have the same thing here, and have tried some things in testing. Large drawings pulling sometimes hundreds or thousands of other drawings to make it. It needs to be on-prem, and should not be synchronized with anything. It's a catastrophe waiting to happen. NC/OneDrive/etc... that type of thing is NOT for this type of files.

    the problem we currently have is that these files are all sitting on local machines only, until the project is finished and it is loaded onto the server. Network performance even on 1gbps just can't cut it. Plus, I am not and have no plans to do any backups of individual workstations, the plan is to get it all on the server somehow. My NC is on prem though, at least for one of my locations.

    What CAD suite are you using? Time to start looking at their native server system. Dessault and Autodesk both have something to manage this. It isn't inexpensive but would be better then just SMB.

    Yes, exactly. CAD programs all have a proper tool to manage this stuff, use the native one.

    Yes, even modern tools like NextCloud are still "general purpose" storage, fundamentally flawed conceptually. Or you could think of NC as being specialized storage for LibreOffice and ONLYOFFICE, and then general for everything else. Just like SMB, it's general and only really well suited to its specific use cases.

    The real key to modern storage is using specialized storage per application. General storage is really only a dumping ground for what doesn't fit elsewhere.

    Compare it to a book shelf at home. It's meant for books or DVDs. Can you put a pile of paperwork there? Sure, but it doesn't work well. General storage is like a box you just toss things into that don't go anywhere else. It works, it holds them, but it doesn't organize or make good use of it.

    We all need that box (or kitchen drawer) to hold the random crap that fits nowhere else, that's critical. But you get best results at home or in your IT if you have the unique storage for unique needs.



  • @travisdh1 said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @coliver said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Obsolesce said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    CAD files

    You don't want to sync this stuff. It's bad for this type.

    We have the same thing here, and have tried some things in testing. Large drawings pulling sometimes hundreds or thousands of other drawings to make it. It needs to be on-prem, and should not be synchronized with anything. It's a catastrophe waiting to happen. NC/OneDrive/etc... that type of thing is NOT for this type of files.

    the problem we currently have is that these files are all sitting on local machines only, until the project is finished and it is loaded onto the server. Network performance even on 1gbps just can't cut it. Plus, I am not and have no plans to do any backups of individual workstations, the plan is to get it all on the server somehow. My NC is on prem though, at least for one of my locations.

    What CAD suite are you using? Time to start looking at their native server system. Dessault and Autodesk both have something to manage this. It isn't inexpensive but would be better then just SMB.

    Yes, exactly. CAD programs all have a proper tool to manage this stuff, use the native one.

    The "Proper tools" still wont work for us



  • @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @travisdh1 said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @coliver said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Obsolesce said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    CAD files

    You don't want to sync this stuff. It's bad for this type.

    We have the same thing here, and have tried some things in testing. Large drawings pulling sometimes hundreds or thousands of other drawings to make it. It needs to be on-prem, and should not be synchronized with anything. It's a catastrophe waiting to happen. NC/OneDrive/etc... that type of thing is NOT for this type of files.

    the problem we currently have is that these files are all sitting on local machines only, until the project is finished and it is loaded onto the server. Network performance even on 1gbps just can't cut it. Plus, I am not and have no plans to do any backups of individual workstations, the plan is to get it all on the server somehow. My NC is on prem though, at least for one of my locations.

    What CAD suite are you using? Time to start looking at their native server system. Dessault and Autodesk both have something to manage this. It isn't inexpensive but would be better then just SMB.

    Yes, exactly. CAD programs all have a proper tool to manage this stuff, use the native one.

    The "Proper tools" still wont work for us

    That means that the CAD application doesn't work. At that point, it kind of becomes a combination of the app and use case's fault 🙂

    If the proper tools can't do it, you can be pretty sure that general purpose ones aren't going to improve on that.



  • @scottalanmiller said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @travisdh1 said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @coliver said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Obsolesce said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    @Donahue said in file sharing in the 21st century:

    CAD files

    You don't want to sync this stuff. It's bad for this type.

    We have the same thing here, and have tried some things in testing. Large drawings pulling sometimes hundreds or thousands of other drawings to make it. It needs to be on-prem, and should not be synchronized with anything. It's a catastrophe waiting to happen. NC/OneDrive/etc... that type of thing is NOT for this type of files.

    the problem we currently have is that these files are all sitting on local machines only, until the project is finished and it is loaded onto the server. Network performance even on 1gbps just can't cut it. Plus, I am not and have no plans to do any backups of individual workstations, the plan is to get it all on the server somehow. My NC is on prem though, at least for one of my locations.

    What CAD suite are you using? Time to start looking at their native server system. Dessault and Autodesk both have something to manage this. It isn't inexpensive but would be better then just SMB.

    Yes, exactly. CAD programs all have a proper tool to manage this stuff, use the native one.

    The "Proper tools" still wont work for us

    That means that the CAD application doesn't work. At that point, it kind of becomes a combination of the app and use case's fault 🙂

    If the proper tools can't do it, you can be pretty sure that general purpose ones aren't going to improve on that.

    We can make improvements, but nothing is going to fit us like a glove. I accept that.