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Small Company Satisfied with PTC's PDM Solutions?


Small Company Satisfied with PTC's PDM Solutions?

Is any small business with a small Wildfire/CREO installation (2 to 6 seats) using and satisfied with any of the PTC data management offerings (Intralink 9.x, Windchill, PDMLink, etc..)?

I'd like to hear from anyone that is part of a small "Pro/E" installation and is happy with their PTC PDM solution, and could convey why they like it.

I and some of my clients have been stuck at Wildfire 4.0 and Intralink 3.4 for several years now because there doesn't seem to be a good PDM solution for anything beyond Wildfire 4.0. (Any chance PTC may decide to resurrect Intralink 3.4??)

Also, if anyone out there is using SolidWorks and their PDM or EPDM solution, I'd like to hear your comments, pro or con.


22-Sapphire I

As much as I hate Creo and Windchill, I'd say stick with the better WF4 and Intralink 3.4 and be glad you didn't migrate....

Hi Mark

I believe windchill is suitable for medium and big business.

The reason behind this-

You need a dedicated System Admin to do Sheduled Maintenance and monitor windchill activities

I have not used Intralink. But have read some very good feedback as compared to Windchill.

The reason I believe people face problem in Windchill is-Not Proper Customization as per customer requirement.

All because of too many complex options and setting.(It is my believe. Because manytimes the configuration persons does not knows about the available settings)

But if implemented properly and we work properly then Windchill is really easy and useful



The system is so overly complicated you need a full-time admin, which most small companies can't afford. The system itself is simply too complicated, with far too many menus and picks to go through, and far too many chances to mess things up. I'd stay on WF4 and Intralink 3.4. Trust me.

Hi Mark...

For awhile it looked like ProductPoint was going to be the way to go... but that product has been discontinued. I believe PTC wants smaller companies to look at solutions like Windchill-On-Demand which puts all the admin work into PTC's hands. Of course, this requires paying a fee for the service.

Although my "company" isn't small, we have scant resources for dedicated system administrators, Oracle admins, and the like. For a host of reasons, we've chosen to go with Pro/INTRALINK 9.x. Right now we're just interested in managing our CAD data and being able to move forward with newer releases of the Creo software. This addresses both issues. Our implementation of Pro/INTRALINK 9.1 has been running for over 18 months. We've had maybe an hour of unplanned downtime during that entire span when a vault got full and the system went into a sort of "lockdown" mode. Now that we've seen that error once, we haven't repeated it.

Once all the switches are set and the system is working, you can pretty much chug along without much admin intervention. In Pro/INTRALINK 3.4 there were times you had to lift the hood and get in there to resolve a problem, install a patch, or perform some type of backup/restore. For small companies with limited admin experience, those times are nail biters. You don't WANT to mess with it. You'd rather just get it running and leave it alone rather than tinker with it. This is the same with the new Pro/INTRALINK. Personally, *I* don't want to get in there and apply an Oracle patch or mess with trying to do a "rehost" or a huge restore from backup. To me, those are cringe-worthy times... but they were in the old system, too.

Now, if you have an admin who messes with this stuff all the time, it's no big deal. For small companies, there's usually no one like that. So my best feedback is that if you can get yourself running on the new Pro/INTRALINK, it's not so bad to maintain. You can pretty much set it and forget it for long stretches of time. When you do have to touch it... you may want to keep PTC on speed dial for the first few updates. But like anything else, it gets easier with practice and time.

I'd agree with some others that a full Windchill PDMLink implementation is better suited to medium to large companies. The only solution I'd consider for a smaller company is the new Pro/INTRALINK.

One of the main problems companies have with the new Windchill and Pro/INTRALINK is getting their legacy data into these systems. Often this involves a complicated and expensive migration process... but it doesn't HAVE to. The migration process is a nightmare, truly and it can put you in a financial hole. Some of the companies who perform these migrations are fly-by-night outfits who promise an awful lot for a little bit of money... then once you're on the hook "unforeseen difficulties" inevitably jack the price through the roof.

My advice... install Pro/INTRALINK 9 (or 10) out of the box... fresh. Don't perform an automated migration. Instead, perform what's called a MANUAL migration. This literally involves calling up all your drawings and saving them into the new system one by one. It takes awhile... but for a small company it works and it's easy to do. Leverage your team of designers to open models and save them into the new system as they need them. Work on the backlog of other legacy models as you have time. Once you've cleared out your Pro/INTRALINK 3.4 system, you can shut it down or keep it running incase you need to pull up historical data.

Anyway... sorry for the long post. There are some definite benefits to going to Pro/INTRALINK using a manual migration. The downside is that you're abandoning all but the latest revision data for all your items. But you can mitigate this risk by keeping the old server going for awhile until you're sure you won't need older revision data any longer. The minimizes the setup and installation headache, avoids the migration cost, gets you on the newest data management system, and allows you to roll forward to Creo... all without increasing your licensing and maintainence costs.

Just my $0.02!

Good luck!!


Thanks Brian for a great, useful response. I like your suggestion of doing a manual migration to Intralink 9 or 10. I am a one or two man consulting business and I once got a $30K quote to migrate my 3.4 database to some variation of Windchill. So that didn't happen. Do you find Intralink 9/10 as good and simple as Intralink 3.4? (Not that I consider Ilink 3.4 "simple" to administer, but at least its somewhat do-able for a tiny company. It took me many, many, many hours to go from Ilink 3.2 to 3.3 to 3.4, and lots of anxiety but, like you said, once it's set up you can pretty much forget it until PTC discontinues support, forcing you to make a change.)

Can you run a seat of Intralink 3.4 and Intralink 9/10 at the same time without incurring additional cost from PTC? Also, does Ilink 9/10 come with Oracle (or whatever database software it uses) or do you have to buy and install that separately?

Thanks, Mark

Hi Mark...

Yeah, $30K for a migration could cripple a small business. A manual migration is an easy solution- especially if you can keep your old Pro/INTRALINK 3.x running when you need it. To answer your questions:

  • You can run Pro/INTRALINK 3.4 and Pro/INTRALINK 9.x together. They will not conflict with each other. However, you need a license just like anything else. The licenses are different but you should be able to retain your old licenses and get the new ones on maintenance.
    • For example... lets' say you have 2 licenses of Pro/INTRALINK 3.4. As a maintenance paying customer, you'd be entitled to 2 new Pro/INTRALINK 8x licenses (that's what it seems to be called for running Pro/INTRALINK 8 on up). This sets up an issue because usually I'd say PTC wouldn'twant to give you two new licenses for 8+ while you retained your old ones, too. But in this case I think they assume you're migrating away from the old system and therefore, you'll naturally stop using the old licenses. I'd check with PTC customer support before making any assumptions. But because the licenses are different, you actually can run both old and new Pro/INTRALINK at the same time. They will not talk to each other... but you can do it.
  • Does Pro/INTRALINK 9/10 come with Oracle. YES!!! This is a huge benefit because you don't have to go out and get your own license of Oracle to run Pro/INTRALINK 9.x You need your own license to run Windchill PDMLink (along with a named user license for each user)... but not for Pro/INTRALINK.
  • Do I find the new Intralink as good and simple as the old one?
    • From an administration and setup standpoint,no, I don't find it easier than the old one. It's a beast. With assistance and some patience you can set it up yourself but it can be tough. You might find it helpful to seek a consultant who will help you with an OOB (out of box) install. This should be less than a week's worth of effort including a couple of days of planning. If you're lucky you can find one who will toss in a bit of rudimentary training, too.
    • From a usability standpoint, it's probably a tie. I actually prefer the new Pro/INTRALINK to the old one. I know some people here will cry "sacrilege" but I like the new tool. I was very experienced with the old one and I worked well with it. In many ways, the old tool was easier to work with. But the new one has it's benefits, too. People forget that the old tool had limitations. They look at the new tool and criticize some features, the web interface, etc... but they forget that the new tool is doing much more and it's doing it much faster with greatly reduced network traffic.

In general, you're going to need a good server for your installation of Pro/INTRALINK. Follow the guidelines PTC puts out for your server and memory requirements. Bump them up if you can afford to... more RAM seems to help quite a bit.

It seems to me that a good consultant who won't rake you over the coals is probably in order. The landscape is teeming with firms who claim to offer such services. In my experience, the ones who are too cheap fall into the "you get what you pay for" category. The ones who are too expensive are usually credible... but... they're TOO EXPENSIVE! I wish I could vouch for some great, reasonable Windchill consultants. Unfortunately, all I can do is give you some names of people you want to stay away from. And, obviously, I won't do that in this forum.

I'd always hoped that one day I could help small companies navigate the pitfalls of a migration for a reasonable rate. SO many people need such a service... but the rates must be reasonable. If you could get someone for $2000-$3000 for a week's effort to do an out of box install, a day of user training, a half day of admin training, and get you off the ground, I think that might be in the range a small company could afford. I'm not sure anyone out there is meeting that price point.

Maybe if anyone reading the thread has any experience with helpful consultants or ideas on how they performed their own installation and migration, they'd be kind enough to post them.

If there are any other questions that come to mind, I'll do my best to answer.

Thanks! Have a great weekend!


22-Sapphire I

Hey Mark, you should just pay Brian to do it for you, he RAWKS!

Hell, after having to use Windburn in 3 larger companies, I'd still recommend totally staying away from it and using Pro/INTRALINK. Better, faster, FAR less trouble and downtime (don't have to rely on any internet garbage or problems), and the interfaces are far better.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Frank! Although... I'm a couple of years away from being able to bill myself as a Windchill expert. I can perform the business administration stuff in my sleep. The SYSTEM admin part of it is still beyond my capabilities.

Maybe one day...

I have to agree with Frank, Brian. You sound like you have all the makings of that Intralink/Windchill consultant you were talking about a few posts back. Maybe you just need to hook up with a good IT person to round out the team.

I've always thought a great opportunity existed for a person or small company that could offer a Pro/E/Intralink/Windchill server properly pre-configured with Intralink or Windchill for companies needing that but feeling overwhelmed or confused about how to set it up. I'm amazed PTC hasn't done more here themselves.

Kind of bring an element of mass-production to the whole PTC PDM thing to get the cost down and develop some uniform standards.