In the product lifecycle management software market, AutoDesk’s Vault solution styles itself as data management software that helps organize, manage, and track data creation, simulation, and documentation processes for design, engineering, and construction teams. It facilitates greater control over design data with revision management capabilities and allows users to quickly find and reuse data to more easily manage their design and engineering information. It empowers design teams to track work-in-progress and maintain version control in multi-user environments. Users can store and search both CAD data (such as Autodesk Inventor, DWG, and DWF files) and non-CAD documents (such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel files). The Vault environment acts as a client server application with the central SQL database and Autodesk Data Management Server (ADMS) applications installed on a Windows-based server with client access granted through such clients as Thick Client (Vault Explorer) and Application Integrations. ADMS acts as the middleware that handles client transactions with the SQL database. The Vault Explorer UI (User Interface) aims to have an Outlook-like appearance and can display the Vault folder structure, file metadata in the form of a grid, and a preview pane for more detailed information.
Users who most appreciate Vault are those for whom data was previously scattered and disorganized, wherein a last-save-wins can often result in less than ideal outcomes. Vault brings all engineering data under one umbrella in a controlled environment, making it is easier to find documents and files, prevent their loss, and revert to a previous version when needed. In essence, users greatly appreciate how Vault allows them to produce fewer mistakes along the product lifecycle process through iterative version control and file-conflict avoidance that increases productivity across simultaneous projects. Other users noted how the appreciate how Vault allows you to work from your local machine instead of the network by establishing your own personal “workspace.” Another advantage mentioned by several users was the ease of implementation and configuration, which meant they were up and running in significantly less time that it would take when working with some of the other solutions available.
Several users note that while web access is a must for those who travel a lot, the web interface still leaves a lot to be desired, and proper mobile app has yet to be rolled out as of this writing. A number of other users noted that email notification are not configurable, which means you’re stuck with the company’s provided templates, which has been described as poor, crude, and difficult to understand. In addition, some users have experienced difficulties in integrating shared content from other AutoDesk programs, despite the fact that it should be compatible with all of them.
Users who were previously in “data hell” are the ones who find Vault’s results nearly miraculous in terms of what it can do around iterative version control and avoiding file conflicts. Once users get over the “honeymoon” period, however, there are some needed improvements, especially in terms of web and mobile access, as well as email notifications.