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Database Installation: Cloud Data vs. Local Data

While installing one of our plugins, you might have noticed a step in the installer titled Database Installation, where you're instructed to Please select a setup type.



You might be wondering which of these options you should choose. You might also be wondering what "Cloud" and "Local" – and "Data," for that matter – actually mean in this context.

We highly recommend Cloud Data for most users. Find out why >

Are you a student or faculty member at a college or university who has an academic license? Definitely select Local Data.  

What is "Data"?

In this context, "data" refers specifically to content that you configure and save using our software. This content is saved in two different ways: as projects and Preference Sets.

What are Projects and Preference Sets?

Projects and Preference Sets will be the core of your interaction with our software. When creating and saving either of these items, you'll be adding and configuring a large amount of information. Some of this information is saved within a project, and some is saved within a Preference Set. In either case, you're creating a record of all the information you've painstakingly compiled (as described below). As a result, you don't have to, for example, create a new plant palette from scratch or set your preferred font styles each time you start a new job.



Think of a "project" as your planting and site design palette and, if applicable, irrigation equipment inventory. One of the first things you'll do when you start using our software is to start a project. You'll add plants, site amenities, hardscape items, and irrigation equipment to your project. When you add each of these items, you'll also assign them with symbols that will represent them in your drawings. You'll also configure each item with all necessary information such as rootball size, per-unit cost, pressure and flow statistics (for irrigation equipment), and a wide variety of other details. All this information (or data) will be stored within your project, which you'll then access whenever you, for example, need to place a plant in your drawing. More information on Land F/X projects and how they relate to your drawings >


Preference Sets

Our software is highly customizable, allowing you to configure a wide range of preferences ranging from fonts and layer colors to the appearance of your callouts, the contents of your schedules, and many, many more options. Once you configure all these preferences, you'll save your settings as a Preference Set. Whether you choose to save one office-wide Preference Set or several – for example, one for each client – your preferences will be saved in much the same way as a project. When you start a new job, you'll select the Preference Set of your choice, and all of those preferences will automatically be applied to your drawing. More information on Preference Sets >

The Two Types of Database Installations

In our installer, your "database installation" refers to the way in which you'll choose to store your data (that is, your projects and Preference Sets). The installer offers two possible data storage methods: local and cloud.

We do not recommend mixing cloud and local data setups in the same office. To avoid potential problems, choose one or the other for your entire office.


Local Data


If you select the Local Data option when installing, your projects and Preference Sets will be stored on your computer, or on your office server.



If you're installing on a single computer (a "standalone" installation), your data will be stored on that computer if you select the Local Data option. If you are installing on multiple workstations in an office with a computer functioning on a central server, your data will likely be stored on that server.


Our software uses a component called MySQL to access your data. (Think of MySQL as a librarian who, upon your request, retrieves your data from a file system.) With a Local Data installation, MySQL will be installed on your computer, as well as on your office's central server (if you have one), when you complete our installation steps. 


Cloud Data


If you select the Cloud Data option, your projects and Preference Sets will not be stored on your computer or server.


Instead, they'll be stored online (on "the cloud") and hosted by us.




If you select Cloud Data, you won't need MySQL, and therefore won't have it installed on your computer or server. Instead, your installation will access your data directly from the cloud.

Keep in mind that "Cloud Data" doesn't mean "Cloud Everything." Even if you choose Cloud Data, your office will still need a LandFX folder (often on a server) that stores all the auxiliary files included in your installation, such as plant symbol blocks, hatches, and fonts. For further information on this type of setup, please see our Using Land F/X on a Shared Online Folder article.

Keep in mind also that your DWG files won't be stored on the cloud or copied automatically from location to location. You'll still need to store those files as you would any other file. When designing using our software, you'll need to be working within the appropriate DWG file for the job you're working on. If you plan to move between computers, we recommend using a shared online folder to store and transport your files.

Which One Should You Choose?

Your office's particular needs and equipment setup will determine your best option for database storage.

Don't know which option to choose? Ask your system administrator.


Why Choose Cloud?

There's a reason (several, actually) that the cloud is the future of data storage. For detailed information on why Cloud is a great option, see our article on Why you Should Choose Cloud Data.


Hosting your data online means you'll be able to access it even if your computer breaks down or your office experiences server downtime or, worse, a server crash. In this case, your projects, templates, and customized office settings will still be readily available online.


Aside from sole practitioners, offices with local data storage rely on a server or, in some cases, multiple standalone installations to store these items. If your office has multiple remote locations or remote users, this setup can quickly become overly complex and lead to mismatched data. Cloud data storage all but eliminates this issue while making it infinitely easier to share content with your colleagues. To do so, you can follow our steps for Using Land F/X from a Shared Folder.


Finally, cloud data storage makes your installation even simpler by eliminating the need for MySQL – a database management system that can be accidentally deleted, become corrupt, or simply stop working. Although these situations are fully repairable, they certainly are not ideal. By rendering MySQL unnecessary, cloud data storage results in a streamlined, efficient installation with fewer moving parts.


Why Cloud Data Can be a Great Option for Trial Users:

Using cloud data for the purposes of trying out our software will make it much easier to: 

  • Install the software
  • Make the software available to multiple people at your company to try at the same time
  • Reinstall the software as a purchase if you decide to activate your trial


Bottom line: If you have robust Internet with a great connection to the Silicon Valley, California, area, you will be best served by cloud data.



Why Choose Local?  

Of course, cloud data storage isn't for every office. For example, storing your data online requires a constant and quality Internet connection. If your region or office lacks reliable Internet, cloud storage may not be your best option. If your office is outside the United States, you may want to consider the local option. If you are a student or faculty member at an academic institution, and therefore using an academic license, we highly recommend selecting the local option. (Details about both these situations follow.) 

International (Non-U.S.) Offices
Many international users have 4G Internet, where they pay per gigabyte of data. The bandwidth will actually not be that much, but the ping time from locations such as Australia to our server in San Jose, CA, is going to be slow. In this case, it’s worth the additional overhead to select local data.
Academic Licenses (Student or Faculty)

If you have an academic license (that is, you're a student or faculty member at an academic institution and you received your software license through your school), you should definitely select Local Data. If you select Cloud Data, you run the risk of other users changing your projects and/or Preference Sets. To move your drawing and project data from one computer to another, follow our steps to transfer drawings and project data between computers for academic installations. 

Backing Up Your Data

It's always a good idea to back up your data. If you choose the local (non-cloud) option when installing you database, it's extremely important back up all your Land F/X data often and then make a backup copy of the LandFX folder, to a safe offline location. We recommend completing these backup steps monthly and copying your data and LandFX folder to the USB drive we provide. For more information on proper backup procedures, see our Back Up Your Land F/X Data page.

Choosing One Now and Switching to the Other Later

It's entirely possible to choose one type of data installation. In order to switch to cloud data, or switch back to local data, just contact our technical support team and we'll guide you through the conversion. It's a quick process, but it requires a few settings to be changed on our end.


Switching to Cloud Data

For information and instructions on changing from local to cloud data, see our Switch to Cloud Data page.

Cloud Licensing

We also offer an option to store your Planting F/X, Irrigation F/X, or Design F/X licenses online. Known as cloud licensing, this setup provides much more flexibility and ease when checking out licenses. It also allows more freedom when working remotely.



For more information, see our Cloud Licensing page.

Cloud licensing and cloud data are a great combination, allowing you to work whenever, whenever, and have full access to all your Land F/X data.

Last modified on Tuesday, 05 December 2017


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Our software tailors AutoCAD to the needs of landscape architects, irrigation designers, and other professionals. We automate your most tedious tasks and ensure accuracy, giving you more time to design.