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Using Tekla Structures with application and desktop virtualization

Added April 1, 2016 by Tekla User Assistance tekla.documentation@trimble.com

Software version: 
2016

Using Tekla Structures with application and desktop virtualization

Using Tekla Structures with application and desktop virtualization

Using Tekla Structures with the Citrix application and desktop virtualization is a flexible and safe way to quickly add users to Tekla Structures projects without locally installing Tekla Structures and copying project data to a user's computer. Citrix application and desktop virtualization products are products of Citrix Systems, Inc.

Using Tekla Structures from a centralized location ensures that all users in the project are using the same project environment set-up. Streaming applications from the server enables the use of Tekla Structures on client computers, tablets and smartphones that have different hardware and software configurations. The project data is protected as everything is stored only on the server.

The key components for using Tekla Structures with the Citrix application and desktop virtualization are:

  • Windows server
    • Virtualization solution, such as Citrix XenServer or VMware vSphere
    • Citrix application virtualization or Citrix desktop virtualization solution installed
    • The server is typically set up by the company's IT department.
  • User groups, in other words, delivery groups defined on the server
    • Delivery groups are set up by the administrator of the virtualization environment.
  • Access rights for delivery groups defined on the server
    • Access rights are set up by the administrator.
  • Citrix Receiver installed on client computers
    • The Citrix Receiver is typically delivered through an Internet browser.
  • Tekla Structures installed on the server or on the virtual machine running on the server
    • High-end Windows server that can serve multiple concurrent users
  • Fast access to project files
  • Connection to Tekla Structures license server as each Tekla Structures user needs a valid Tekla Structures license

The image below shows the main concepts in Tekla Structures virtualization.

1 Desktop user
2 Tablet or smartphone user
3 Citrix thin client
4 Secure display data connection over the Internet
5 Tekla Structures instances running on a virtual machine
6 Virtual Windows server OS
7 Virtualization platform (hypervisor layer)
8 Server hardware
9 Data center hosted by the user organization, Trimble, Amazon, or by a third party

Prerequisites for using Tekla Structures in a virtual environment

Citrix virtualization is set up either on a physical server or on a virtual server. Users and user groups are added, and access rights are defined with Citrix Studio for accessing computing resources on the server.

Recommended hardware is described in Tekla Structures 2016 Hardware Recommendations.

For detailed instructions on installing and setting up XenApp and XenDesktop, see the Citrix documentation.

The image below shows the main components in Tekla Structures virtualization.

1 Citrix XenApp 7.6
2 Thin client application: Citrix XenApp client or Citrix XenDesktop desktop viewer
3 Tablet / Phone user
4 Desktop user
5 Multiple concurrent clients may share one virtual machine instance
6 Data center hosted by the user organization, Trimble, or by a third party
7 A graphics processing unit (GPU) can be dedicated for each virtual machine instance with 0.5 GB to 2 GB of graphics memory, depending on the usage.
8 High-end computer:
  • Fast graphics card, such as NVIDIA GRID K2
  • 8 GB to16 GB of main memory for each user, depending on the usage
  • Good CPUs, such as Intel Xeon E5-2680
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 OS
9 Local, enterprise or cloud license server. Each TeklaStructures.exe running on the virtual machine needs a valid license.
10 Network bandwidth, 1 Mbps or more
11 Accessing files from the client's local file system may be very slow and should be avoided.
12 Never use the local disk of the virtual server for saving model folders.
13 Citrix XenDesktop 7.6
14 VMware vSphere 6.0 hypervisor
15 File server
16 Normal Windows file system permission handling on the file server
17 Project data including environments should be stored on another (server) machine in the data center or file system inside the company network.
18 Desktop application: Tekla Structures
19 Virtual machine instance
20 Hypervisor
21 Windows server machine hosting the virtual machines
22 Network-attached storage (NAS)
23 Data center
24 License server (on premises or hosted outside the data center)
25 Get license
26 Read/write project files. Fast disk access is needed.

Set up the virtual environment for Tekla Structures

You need to set up the server, define delivery groups, install the Tekla Structures software and environments on the server, and Tekla Structures users need to install the Citrix Receiver on their computers.

  1. Set up the server.

    High-end computer with a fast graphics card, such as NVIDIA GRIDmodeling aid that represents a three-dimensional complex of horizontal and vertical planes

    In Tekla Structures, grids are used as an aid in locating objects in a model. The grid is shown on the view plane by dash-and-dot lines. It is also possible to show grids and grid line labels in drawings, and to modify grid properties in the drawings.

    It is possible to have more than one grid in a model. For example, a large-scale grid for the entire structure, and smaller grids for some detailed sections.

    K2 for serving multiple concurrent users. There needs to be enough main memory for each user depending on the size and level of detail of the projects they are working on. The server computer needs to have a good CPU and it should be running the Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system.

    For detailed instructions on installing and setting up XenApp and XenDesktop, see the Citrix documentation.

  2. Install Tekla Structures software and the needed environments on the server.
    Note:

    Storing models on the virtual computer local disk may cause access problems. Use a dedicated file server for models, and remember to select the correct network location for the model folderfolder that is used for storing files associated with a model

    Tekla Structures stores all files associated with a model in a folder it creates with the same name as the model database (.db1).

    In multi-user mode all users access the same model folder.

    during the Tekla Structures installation.

    Tekla Structures environment settings are the same for all users that use the same virtual computer. In the same manner as with normal desktop installations, you still have to make sure that the environments on different virtual machines are the same or matching.

    We strongly recommend that you use standard Tekla Structures environments and amend them with company or project-specific settings (on the network file server).

  3. Install the Citrix Receiver on the Tekla Structures client computer:

    We recommend that you use the Citrix Receiver web user interface.

    1. Open the Citrix Receiver web user interface in your web browser.

      Use the https address provided by your company's administrators.

    2. Install the Citrix Receiver client software by following the steps in the installation wizard. Do not create an account, or login in the installation wizard, but finish the installation and return to the web user interface.
    3. After the installation, return to the Citrix Receiver web user interface and log in with the credentials provided by your company's administrators.
    4. Select the desired virtual desktop. If the virtual desktop does not start automatically, run the downloaded Citrix ( .ica ) file.

    You can now start using Tekla Structures on the virtual desktop, in the same manner as if it was installed on your own computer.

    • When you use the virtual desktop for the first time, you can give read and write access to your local files in the file access dialog box.
    • Note that referencing local files from your computer directly in Tekla Structures is not recommended. If you need to access those files in Tekla Structures , you should copy them to a shared network location first.
    • Note that model folders are not copied to the client computers.

    The Citrix Receiver client is updated frequently. Always install the latest client when the web user interface suggests you to do so.

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