Using Google Drive as a Revit Server

BinaryCode

Spoiler alert: technical-post-way-outside-of-my-comfort-zone coming right at you.

I’d like to preface this post by stating that I am far from what you might consider an “IT” person in the traditional sense. I never have been, and maybe never will be. But, this one had me stretching the IT-side of my brain for a change. I think it’s the right side, right?

I recently entered another design competition with two of my good friends from school (more on that later), and we decided during our kick-off that we were going to utilize Revit as the primary design and production software. Seems harmless, right? The problem is that we are all working from different locations, and for a young plucky design consultancy, we are far from having any sort of finances that would allow us to configure our own network server setup. Historically, we have used Google Drive to host all of our content – presentation files, meeting minutes, and the like. The challenge was this: could we use Google Drive to host our central Revit files?

Like any healthy millennial would do, I took to the internet and began researching a potential solution. I uncovered a great post put together a few years ago by Jeffrey Pinheiro, AKA the Revit Kid, in which he explains how he utilized Dropbox to host central Revit files. Genius! But, our configuration was a little different – so I had to dig a little deeper.

Knowing what I know about central Revit files and workshared environments, I knew that we had to develop a way to “trick” Revit into seeing an identical file path to central so we could each create a local file as needed – regardless of where we were located and despite the fact that we were not working from the same network server. And then…the gates opened up, and I came across a small piece of software that would allow us to virtually map each of our workstations to the same drive location. By simply pointing to the default C: drive location that Google Drive installs to, we would all be on the same digital page.

 

VisualSubst_config

 

Once each of us had mapped our workstations to the newly created V: drive (“V” for virtual…I know, predictable), we were able to path the central Revit file appropriately and voilĂ ! We are now worksharing with the best of them.

This workflow is, for us, still relatively new and we know that there might be some quirks along the way. These (inevitable) discoveries would make for a great follow-up post.

Happy Revit-eering.

 

4 thoughts on “Using Google Drive as a Revit Server

  1. Alec – have you been able to simultaneously work on the file and sync to central without complication? Pardon my skepticism but, if it were this simple, why aren’t more people using this for wide area file sharing? Why is there a market for wide area file sharing if we can all use google drive? I look forward to more information. We are challenged by this everyday given our remote offices.

    • Recipe for disaster…. Don’t do it, you will get into trouble. Imagine if 1 of the connections breaks down and only half of your 300MB model is synced…

    • Yes, we have all simultaneously worked in the same file and were able to sync to central without complication. That is not to say that this strategy does not have some potential drawbacks, and in many ways it only serves us as a stopgap solution for the time being. We do not anticipate large file size, and in reality the time spent with all of us working in the file at the same time might somewhat limited. While we do have the ability to work from the same file and synchronize changes to and from the model, our model cannot immediately “ping” the server (for obvious reasons) to alert others when ownership has been taken of a particular modeled object – meaning that in-the-moment communication and use of worksets will be absolutely critical for us to experience any success with this.

      As I mentioned, this process is new to us and we are excited to share our discoveries on how it all works out in the end.

  2. Hi! I tried Collaborate as you explained here, but I get this message in Revit really often: “The requested opperation cannot be completed because the model is not currently available. It seems to be influenced by GDrive syncing and makes me wait every few minutes. any fix for this?
    Thank you!

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