EPDM Performance

Over the last 7 years I have been working with EPDM I have had many clients justify the investment based purely on performance increase. Many clients without a PDM system in place need to work off a shared network drive in order to centralized data for security and backups. It can be tempting at times to save designs locally for weeks at a time to get that local open and save performance off your hard drive. This technique is quickly regrettable however as files get overwritten, duplicated or lost very quickly.

SolidWorks Enterprise PDM is the absolute best solution for this common desire as it gives all the benefits of a coordinated design team but with local open and save performance. It has been tough over the years convincing customers of this real measurable savings so I have created an incredibly boring video to demonstrate exactly what I have been talking about for years. This video features opening a 1000+ part assembly that is ~500mb in size from three possible locations:

1) Network drive – Open Time = 9:19
2) Local drive – Open Time = 1:06 (88% reduction)
3) EPDM Vault – Open Time = 1:19 (86% reduction)

The measurable time benefits of opening files locally or in the EPDM vault are outstanding. In comparison to working off of the network, this video demonstrates that a local drive may result in 88% reduction in open/save time while the EPDM vault may result in a 86% reduction in open/save time. The most important factor I wanted to get across in this video is that opening from the EPDM vault is virtually the same performance as opening from your local hard drive. If precious time is wasted with opening and saving files from a network, I recommend using pack and go to transfer the assembly locally and measure the performance increase.

When translating to measurable savings, I would survey the engineering team to understand how much time they are spending waiting for their computers to open or save their assemblies on a weekly basis and use that number in this calculation:

epdm perf calc


It is also important to note that the impact of poor performance also results in increased frustration from the design team that my have other indirect costs such as a higher employee turn over or reduced moral.  This calculation can easily justify the investment in the EPDM solution and will open the door for a number of other benefits that will also have a positive financial impact on the company.


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  1. says

    So, you do realize that EPDM uses your local hdd as cache for files? So your speed comparison has nothing to do with EPDM.


  2. says

    Yes, I am well aware but for some reason clients do not believe me when I talk about performance being virtually the same as working locally so I thought I would actually show it. They also have not taken the time to do the local open and save comparison to network so I thought I would do one for them to highlight that there is commonly a very big difference.

  3. says

    Ok, fair enough. 1st impression from above is just that EPDM does something magical and works fast OVER network, which is not true. Pretty much all PDM’s have the same local working folder feature.

  4. says

    Yes, I agree. My intention was not to mislead on magical EPDM but to promote PDM in general as it is estimated that over half of our customers are still just working off of the server. When comparing PDM systems, I do think it’s important to note that EPDM does do a great job at recognizing what’s on your computer and only updates necessary files. Most other PDM systems use a separate working cache folder system that can be unreliable at knowing whether you have the latest (or worse – something newer than the latest) and it is tempting to overwrite local files with identical network files as part of the loading process which decreases performance.

  5. says

    My favorite EPDM feature is that I can open stuff, make modifications, then do check out without losing my work and check in. So I don’t have to remember to check out before making modifications. That’s not possible with all systems.

  6. says


    Thanks for this information, I have used this for a management overview I was preparing.

    From a drive cache perspective, it definitely will not be this much better the first time as (you know) you need to cache the model from the server to your local drive. However, we are finding that even the first cache copy is still marginally better than network drive access due to existing references that are permanently on the local drive (library parts for instance). From that point we find that an engineer will reopen that same model 10 to 20 times after it has been cached as they continue their work on the design. This is where huge benefits are gained.

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