Wondering why you keep hearing the phrase “Cloud Data”? Watch this webinar, and wonder no more. With Cloud Data, your projects, plants, equipment, and preferences (collectively known as your Land F/X data) are all stored online. It’s our way of providing security and convenience by giving you the freedom to access to your data no matter where you are – and you’ve been using it for years without even knowing it. Find out why you should be excited to move to the cloud.
Note: The following catalog of content covered in this webinar is time stamped to allow you to follow along or skip to sections of the video that are relevant to your questions. You can also search for content on this page using the FIND command in your browser (CTRL + F in Windows, Command + F in Mac OS.)
- Intro / TOC
What is Cloud Data?
- What About the LandFX Folder?
How Does Cloud Data Work?
- Why Be Dependent on the Cloud?
- Backups and Recovery
Transitioning to Cloud
- Things to Note for Multi-User Offices
- Cloud Data in action
0:00 – 1:50: Intro / TOC
1:51 – 6:21: What is Cloud Data?
Data is anything presented in a Land F/X dialog box – projects, as well as all the plants, equipment, and other stuff in them. Essentially, all that text you enter in a dialog box is stored in a database (not in your DWG files).
Local Data stores this data on your computer or a server in your office. A program called MySQL runs quietly in the background, saving all this data to a file (usually located in your LandFX/Data folder).
Cloud Data simply relocates the data, to now be located across a number of servers in several locations.
Important: Cloud Data does not include your DWG files. Those will still be saved locally – not on the cloud.
What About the LandFX Folder? (4:38)
Blocks, hatch patterns, details, etc. that you have saved into your LandFX folder are not uploaded to the cloud.
So: We recommend that you locate your LandFX folder on a shared online folder (Dropbox, etc.)
- It gives you a real-time off-site backup of your details, hatches, blocks, etc. to go along with the Cloud Data.
- It allows you to easily work remotely.
6:22 – 22:02: How Does Cloud Data Work?
Why Be Dependent on the Cloud? (6:22)
Land F/X has always been dependent on the cloud since launching in 2004.
- Activating the installation
- Running updates
- Downloading new/updated blocks
- 2007: Migrated the irrigation database to the cloud
- 2010: Migrated the plant database to the cloud
- 2014: Moved the entire block library to the cloud
- 2016: Implemented Cloud Data
- 2017: Migrated to Amazon Web Services (AWS)
What is AWS? (9:40)
- Amazon Web Services
- Created in 2006 to effect the Web presence that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos envisioned
- Ease of administration
- Fault tolerance
- Worldwide presence
Land F/X vs. AWS (10:40)
- landfx.com is on one dedicated server in Fremont, California.
- AWS.landfx.com automatically load balances to the best available hub, where any number of servers are dynamically allocated.
As long as we’re talking about dependence … (13:45)
- Connection over your network (Port 3306) through your router, to your server, with MySQL running.
- Multiple fail points that must be addressed by professional IT talent.
- All data is instantly duplicated across all worldwide servers.
- All you need is normal SSL Internet access (the same as online banking and shopping).
But my Internet goes down sometimes! (16:11)
What is the cost of maintaining and backing up your “always up” server, against the benefit of being cloud based?
***Even when your Internet goes down, you can tether to your cell phone and use that as your Internet access.***
We also recommend a dual Internet connection router as a backup.
As an added safeguard, you can set up satellite Internet.
How do we back up your Cloud Data? (19:45)
- All data backed up in real time to multiple sites worldwide.
- Additional offline data snapshots.
- (In addition to your local Land F/X backups.)
- What do we do with your data? We don’t sell it or give it away. We analyze data to make sure our database is as efficient as possible, but we’re not spying on anyone’s data.
22:03 – 25:29: Security
How secure is Cloud Data? (22:03)
- All data transmitted via SSL.
- Access to AWS controlled via digital key files (CA).
- Our employees sign non-disclosure agreements.
- Standardized and automated employee shutdown procedures.
- Routine security audits, annual password changes.
- Log access and intrusions, required to notify of any breach.
- Identifying key is your Support ID.
- Any new installation requires us to unlock your account.
- All computers, users, and IPs are visible via your License Management screen.
25:30 – 29:10: Latency
("Latency" is a technical term for speed.)
Isn’t Cloud Data slower? Actually, no. And if you want to get technical about milliseconds:
- less than 10ms ping
(other slowdowns of data traffic, server issues, etc.)
Full stack TCP/IP optimization
- DNS caching
- GET caching
- Server-side caching
27:48 – 29:11: Backups and Recovery
- Full database backup?
- Restoring individual LFX files for each project
- 1–2 day server rebuild
- Instant access to entire project database and every bit of data, up to the very last second before the asteroid hit.
29:12 – end: Transitioning to Cloud
How do I get Cloud Data? (29:20)
1. Back up all projects
2. Type ENTERPRISE in the AutoCAD Command line
3. Upload all projects
*** And it’s free! ***
Cloud resources increase in value over time. Companies like Amazon add more servers, and Internet speed becomes faster. Meanwhile, local servers lose value over time, becoming slower and eventually breaking down.
Things to Note for Multi-User Offices (30:50)
- A single pool of licenses for multiple offices also means a single pool of projects.
- Project number and naming is critical.
- Preferences should be standardized.
- A single renewal account.
- We recommend putting your LandFX folder on a shared online folder.
- Multiple users in different locations accessing the same project in real time.
Cloud Data in Action (33:08)
Backing up your projects manually (33:30)
Simulation of a server rebuild and reinstallation of Land F/X with a Local Data setup (34:30)
All the project data is gone!
Using the ENTERPRISE command to switch to Cloud (36:40)
Restoring and importing your backed-up projects into the cloud (37:40)
Optimizing the speed of Land F/X when on the cloud (38:13)
Amazon Web Services Network Test demonstration (40:00)
Question: Does Land F/X monitor instances of AWS outages? (42:20)
Answer: Absolutely. We look at any outage events and adjust our processes accordingly to continue building additional fault tolerance into the system.
Question: My projects were all created using Local Data. Will I be able to get them onto the cloud once I move over? (45:10)
Answer: Yes, of course. Make sure you’ve backed up your projects, then import them using our Restore tool. We have some automatic backup capabilities in place, but it’s best to follow a regular regimen of backups.
Question: Is it possible to try a Cloud setup and change back to Local Data if I don’t like it? (46:40)
Answer: Yes, of course. However, if you do want to switch back to Local let us know before you do so. The issue you’re facing with Cloud may very well be one we can fix.
Question: Will Cloud Data have any effect on my Land F/X connection to SketchUp? (47:30)
Answer: No. The data in SketchUp is exclusively cloud based. We’re only able to reference data in SketchUp via Cloud Data.
Cloud also allows you and other users in your network to access the same data in real time between CAD and SketchUp. So if you add a plant in CAD, your co-worker will see it in the same project in SketchUp.
Question: If my DWG file was not backed up, will I only have Land F/X projects with the blocks, etc. if I go on Cloud? (49:29)
Answer: The blocks and data are both cloud based, but they’re separate entities. Our blocks are downloaded on the fly, but if you have data assigned to any of our symbol blocks, it will still be assigned to that symbol block in your Land F/X project and will download on demand. Your own custom blocks will need to be available in your LandFX folder in order for you to be able to use them.
Question: Is the data tied to the DWG file where I use it? (52:10)
Answer: No, the data is not tied to the DWG file. It's embedded in the blocks and other "smart" objects you place in your DWG drawing and assign with data, but the data itself is saved in your Land F/X project. You'll need to save and back up your DWG files separately from your Land F/X data.
Lost your DWG? If you've used our SketchUp Connection tool to export it to SketchUp, you may be able to recover a substantial portion of your design by exporting it back into CAD. (53:30)
Question: What's the benefit of using AWS or Cloud Data when my projects are already stored locally on one server drive? (54:00)
Answer: For one, if that server fails, you'll lose all those projects (if they're not backed up somewhere else). With Cloud, your data is all stored online, and you can share it in real time with other users. Plus, you'll still have access to your most up-to-the-minute data even if your computer dies, gets lost, etc.
Question: What if I travel to places with bad Internet and want to work? (56:40)
Answer: That's a usage case where Cloud may not be the best option. However, you can set up MySQL as a backup and work on Local Data when you travel. You'd have to back up and restore your project(s) before traveling so you have access to your data, being careful to avoid overwriting the latest version of your project. However, keep in mind that the technology will only get better in the future.