Why do SOLIDWORKS Assemblies take longer to open over a network?

Article by Chris Briand, CSWE updated June 1, 2023

Article

We have received may inquiries from clients over the years, asking why SOLIDWORKS assemblies open and resolve more slowly when the files are stored upon a network location.  In response, SOLIDWORKS had provided us with some clarity regarding fundamentals of the journey that a file makes through the hardware infrastructure of your workstation before being loaded into RAM and opening.

Most simply put, the “path” that files have to follow to open from a local hard drive is as follows:

− Harddrive -> (Mainboard) Southbridge – > CPU – > (Mainboard) Northbridge – > Ram – and OPEN!

If you then compare this against the file path when opening a file from the network:

− Ethernet Card – > Router\switch\hub -> Server -> Server HD ->Server Southbridge -> Server CPU -> Server Northbridge -> Server RAM -> Router\switch\hub -> Ethernet Card -> Southbridge ->CPU ->Northbridge -> Ram -> and Finally OPEN!    (I’m exhausted just reading the path….)

Obviously the trip is far longer, encountering many stops along the route. Additionally during the trip, data is broken up into ‘packets’ and forced to send an additional 20% overhead of data for each packet, which contains the information required to re-assemble the data at the destination.

IMPORTANT NOTE! − Many Antivirus applications treat network files differently which can also add additional load time as they are being scanned each and every time they are accessed, affecting not only load times, but save times as well.

Our main goal in comparing and highlighting this “Journey” that your files make through your workstations hardware infrastructure is to provide some background when troubleshooting any assembly performance related issues you may encounter.  The first step toward diagnosis that we would suggest is to load the assembly locally (completely from your local hard drive – use File menu> Find References to verify) and re-testing the issue.  If the behavior changes, it is safe to say that something between you and your network storage medium may be the cause of the decreased performance.

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Chris Briand, CSWE

Chris has been educating and supporting Engineers, Designers and IT Personnel within the 3D CAD industry since 2002, and was adopted into the fantastic team of applications experts here at Javelin Technologies in early 2006 and migrated along with his team members to the TriMech Solutions team in 2021.  Chris enjoys the continuous learning driven by the ingenuity and challenges Designers bring forward. Innovation using 3D Printing, 3D CAD and other technologies, combined with a diverse background as a technologist, allows Chris to find solutions that accelerate Designers, and take Design Teams to new heights. Chris is currently being held at an undisclosed location, near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.