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Windchill migration to Intralink

5-Regular Member

Windchill migration to Intralink


You have read properly. Windchill is more expensive than Intralink. Of course both systems are different.

I would say Windchill is a PDS/PLM while Intralink is a PDM or advanced vault.

When Windchill implementation is struggling and Windchill is used just to do what Intralink provide. would it make sense to you to migrate to Intralink in order to save on maintenance cost but also reduce cost of changes all the business processes for properly adopting Windchill.

Has any one of you experienced or know of a company who moved from Windchill to Intralink ?

I am interesting in know about the business case to such "downgrading" and does PTC provide as much support and tools for the migration and they do when migrating from Intralink to Windchill.

Thank you

Best regards



Please publish the responses as we are at a situation where our company
needs to adopt Windchill more widely or let us downgrade to an Intralink
type system for the Engineers and remove the overhead for them.

Best Regards

Chris Collinson
CAD Administrator

Let's get some terminology correct.

Windchill by itself is nothing but a giant programmer's toolbox. It does no vaulting, no PLM, no change management.

PTC has developed a number of applications that sit on the Windchill Technology framework. PDMLink does your full lifecycle for whatever, be it part usage or CAD files. Intralink (8.0 and higher) only does CAD vaulting.

If you have installed Windchill/PDMLink there is NO downgrade path to Windchill/Intralink. Just don't use the parts of PDMLink that sit on either side of the CAD vaulting portions of the code.

To answer your 4th line, no one has downgraded because it is not a supported path by PTC. Could you do it. Maybe, but if you have already set up Windchill/PDMLink, why would you want to start over with a new implementation of Windchill/Intralink and export and import all of your data. There is NO direct migration path than manually doing it.

Thank you,

Ben H. Loosli

There is no downgrade from PDMLink to Intralink supported by PTC.

Thank you,

Ben H. Loosli

And what about the people who would like to downgrade now to PDM Essentials.

Well said Ron,

And could this be another Productpoint that PTC gets bored with after a
couple of years, then discontinues so all the users that used ProductPoint
have to upgrade to Windchill?

And is PDMLink Essentials just Windchill Intralink rebadged????

Best Regards

Chris Collinson
CAD Administrator

Is PDM Essentials just a rebranding of Intralink? The UI still looks like Windchill to me.

Our VAR indicated when he gave the presentation to our user group that
there would NOT be a downgrade path from WC to PDM-Essentials.

The major difference is PDM Essentials is based on Windchill architecture (Productpoint was not) and the PTC channel has been pressing for this product for years. Finally our voice was heard. PTC did an excellent job with essentials. Concurrent licensing, built-in workgroup managers, visualization and easy deployment make this perfect for new or existing small and medium businesses. The only negative I see for an old Intralink customer is no data migration. This is due to the fact the essentials is SQL Server based while old Intralink was Oracle.

There is no downgrade from Essentials to WC, however you can upgrade from Essentials to WC.

PDM Essentials is identical to Windchill Intralink except as follows.

  • It is limitted to a single site (no replication).

  • It will support only Microsoft SQL Server, which is included/bundled.

Gerry Champoux
Williams International
Walled Lake, MI

In Reply to Chris Collinson:

Well said Ron,

And could this be another Productpoint that PTC gets bored with after a
couple of years, then discontinues so all the users that used ProductPoint
have to upgrade to Windchill?

And is PDMLink Essentials just Windchill Intralink rebadged????

Best Regards

Chris Collinson
CAD Administrator

The interesting thing about the direction of this thread now is not the
merits nor the quality of PDM Essentials. It is the fact that PTC soiled
its reputation so badly with ProductPoint and with PDM products so
complex that expensive consultants are required just to install/config
the software in order to even get off the ground. How many folks have
lost sleep, weekends, reputations, raises, and/or jobs because of PTC
PDM products? There is a basic lack of trust amongst the user base.

And though PDM Essentials is marketed as "right sized" solution, PTC's
existing customers apparently have no path to get that "right size".

And PTC wonders why so many of its customers are constantly seeking a
non-PTC CAD file management solution?

A path to Essentials for existing customers would be nice. And if
Essentials goes away after a couple years, all the
repackaging/rebranding in the world won't save PTC's reputation.

Let's hope for the best.

Scott Pearson
Senior Designer

CAD System Administrator

S O U T H W E S T R E S E A R C H I N S T I T U T E(r)
Space Science and Engineering Division
Department of Space Systems
6220 Culebra Road, San Antonio, TX 78238

The other difference appears to be the support of non-Creo CAD data, which, unless it's changed, is not supported in Intralink.

I thought Product Point had a Windchill back end and served through
SharePoint?? maybe mistaken 😉

As we have been battling with user adoption for anything more than PDM and
CAD Data management were very interested in PDMLink Essentials to the
point that we would start from scratch and move the data the we had
migrated from intralink 3.3ish across to PDMLink then several more
upgrades to Windchill 9.1.

We would only take latest data and leave the rest in a VM Windchill server
for reference

There is also the ORacle to SQL Migrator thats available

Best Regards

Chris Collinson
CAD Administrator

The UI would look similar. PDMLink, Intralink and PDMLink Essentials are built on top of Windchill.

Thank you,

Ben H. Loosli

ProductPoint was Windchill based, just integrated into the Sharepoint data structures instead of using SQL Server or Oracle.

You can downgrade, but it would require a manual export from the 'higher' system to a native filing structure before you could use an import tools to automate the populating of the 'lower' product.

Oracle to SQLserver Migrator from MS works for some, but PTC has their own modified version and it takes 2 passes to fully migrate the data. We looked at migrating during the Windchill 10 upgrade, but have since decided to stick with Oracle. The 10g to 11g upgrade is a simple export and import, change the server location in Windchill and done.

Thank you,

Ben H. Loosli
5-Regular Member
(in response to cc-2)

Thanks all

The discussion turned out to be very interesting even if it went a bit off scope.

I will keep from that discussion

People simply do not move from PDMLink to Intralink

PTC launches another lite version of a PDM which may end up being another distraction...

My view on that one is that too many businesses are trying to resist change and try to make software adopt their way of working rather than having an approach where business process and software deployment/configuration are developed together. In other words, they try to work the same old way into modern technology. Then yes PDMLink can be difficult to implement under those circumstancies.

As a consequence PTC is under pressure and develop tools which do not provide support for business processes and it is more used as a vault (or super vault thanks to lfe cycle state) but the hard work, ie the real processes, workflow etc.... is not available into those product.

Again thanks a lot for all your feedback.

PS: I really wonder why PTC stoped ProductPoint. Was it due to how sharepoint work ? A few weeks ago, I was discussing with a Managing Director who said PDMLink was too expensive and complex and he asked why we were not using sharepoint, it is free !!!!

Well no wonder, with such comments companies get into real mess with systems !!

I think that this is a great observation:

"My view on that one is that too many businesses are trying to resist
change and try to make software adopt their way of working rather than
having an approach where business process and software
deployment/configuration are developed together. In other words, they try
to work the same old way into modern technology. Then yes PDMLink can be
difficult to implement under those circumstancies.

Working for a company that has had PDM for a LONG time, I don't think that
we have as much of the mentality of making new technologies work like old
stuff, and for us, that's a good thing.

But I think that there is another part of the problem as well, that is
often overlooked, and I think that it's simpler than change or new
technology working like old. The fact of the matter is that PDM/PLM ain't
"easy" in most ways. While PDM/PLM will eventually make life better (or
should), I don't think that's the reason that you install PDM. You do it
to have control over your data, to make your data more readily available
to others, to have history on your data, and a whole host of other

Keeping all of that straight, at the end of the day, IS NOT EASY, and
under the covers, ANY PDM/PLM worth it's weight in salt is handling all of
this "stuff", and handling it quite well. And, quite frankly, users need
to have a little bit of understanding about what they are doing when they
are putting stuff in, and taking stuff out. PDM is NEVER going to be as
easy as File / Save. PDM IS NOT A DISK FILE STORAGE SYSTEM. If you think
that it is, you're going to be frustrated as an admin, and you're going to
have frustrated users. Admins and users MUST understand this, and this
distinction vs. simple file saving is paramount.

I remember back almost 20 years ago when we installed our first PDM
system. User hated it. It was complicated. It was complex. It took
more clicks. It took longer to do everything. And the list went on.
BUT, the first time that first time that we pulled someone out of the
fire, and we were able to retrieve an assembly from a prior time, EXACTLY
the way that it was prior in time, the griping succeeded. And when users
finally started to realize that MULTIPLE people could ALL be working on
the same thing all at the same time, without any risk of squashing each
other's changes, users began to see the vision.

We are kind of bagging on PTC for not having a "simple" solution, or a
"small" solution. I think that it's probably true that PTC needs a
"small" solution, but I think that we might be kidding ourselves to think
that we're ever going to get a "simple" solution, that does PDM, with PDM
being the magic words in the sentence.

PDM DOES work, BUT PDM is work.


If I remember correctly, PTC developed ProductPoint against SharePoint 1.x. There were changes by MS in SharePoint 2.x that made what PTC was doing very hard to upgrade into. MS kind of forced PTC to drop the product.

Thank you,

Ben H. Loosli

Since this thread brought up PDM Essentials, I feel the need to chime in on this.
At the same time, this forces me to finally give some feedback to some postings from last year regarding:
· Data Management for Small/Medium Business Deployments
· PDM - Windchill

Now that PDM Essentials is officially announced/released I can comment on this without breaking any confidentiality agreements.

First some background/update...Being part of the Technical Committees (TC) provided me the opportunity to voice my concerns regarding the PTC commitment to Small Businesses solutions for CAD Data Management tools when the ProductPoint solution was retired. At the time I commented that Windchill in all its glory is far too large and complex for Small Businesses. We do not have the resources required for installation and administration (and possibly never will), and there is no way that we can afford the cost and risk of hiring outside resources (such as a VAR) to do a implementation, migration, and possibly administration.

Additionally, it was/is unfair to ask/force customers into the PLM world of Windchill, when PLM is not what all customers need and/or want. It is also unfair for ANY vendor to assume they know what is best for my business (any business), and should be providing the right tools (multiple) for ALL of their customers, not just the large customer/corporations. We know what PLM is. We understand all the benefits (and downsides) of having a suite of applications, such as Windchill, that communicates with each other, and that comes from one vendor. However, we already have products and/or processes in place, and they work. PDM (CAD Data Management) is a Value Added Engineering TOOL, that is what we need/want. Nothing more!

Due to the "uproar" amongst the user community when ProductPoint was retired PTC decided that a new Windchill package would be introduced specifically focused on CAD Data Management for Small Business Customers (as well as small deployments (satellite locations) for the large customers) for 25 CAD users or less.
At that time, PTC/USER formed a TC Focus Group (along with PTC) to help PTC understand the need/requirements, and prioritize what this new package should focus on to benefit SMB customers.

Did we succeed?
I admit, as the lead of this Focus Group, no we did not, not completely.
I have been evaluating PDM Essentials since August of 2012, and even though PDM Essentials does take a big step over other Windchill modules with a simplified installation, a simplified installation is all that is different from PDMLink.

This TC Focus Group is continuing to meet with PTC to make strides in simplifying PDM Essentials beyond the installation, with the intent that continuing improvements will truly make this package a CAD Data Management TOOL that SMB customers can use easily and efficiently as previous PDM TOOLS (INTRALINK 3.X).

Comments/Opinions below are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the comments/opinions of PTC/USER and/or other Technical Committee Members.

PDM Essentials has the following capability:
Floating Licenses
Multi-CAD Data Management
Workgroup Managers for:
Document Management
Promotion Request (simple change)
Publishing and Visualization
CREO View Lite is included

Capabilities not included:
Closed-Loop Changes
Add Windchill Modules (ProjectLink, Quality, etc.)
Index Search
ECAD Support

What PTC did with PDM Essentials was make it easy to install, and put in a few "extra" incentives (Workgroup, Visualization, etc.) to make this look appealing.
Well I am sorry, but that is not enough to make Essentials appealing to me.

The simplified installation is nice, however, how many times does software get installed to make this worthwhile?
I think back over the times I have installed PRO/E and/or PRO/INTRALINK, and it is not like I am running around to multiple servers installing this software just because I can, and because it is simple. And, just because the installation of PDM Essentials is simplified does not mean I am going to do that either.

In my experience, whether with a large company or small, typically this is a once and done installation (excluding upgrades).
So, now I have to ask, why is Windchill (whatever module) so complicated to install in the first place?
Would it not make more sense for PTC to make ALL of Windchill installs simplified?

What comes after the installation, regardless of the software/product/vendor, is what typically is the most time consuming and/or complex, and that is the setup/customization. Setting up and/or testing the UI, permissions, roles, life cycle states, mapkeys, folder structure, custom XMLs, etc., etc., has always been the bulk of the work.

To be fair, PDM Essentials does come with some predefined settings in an attempt to also simplify the setup/customization. However, what is predefined is not going to fit all companies, and there are going to changes/additions that need to be made, and this is what people are not being shown in the marketing presentations/demos that are occurring.

SOME of the things that are not being shown in the presentations (and concerns to think about:




There is a Basic Lifecycle called CAD Data Management.
Carefully check the Transitions that are defined!
One example: If you allow your users (CAD users) to do things such as Promote to Release (instead of CM and/or ADMIN) then maybe this is not an issue for you.

Access Controls

Since the CAD Data Management Lifecycle is set to Basic, all Access Controls (privileges) need to be defined in the Policy Administration/Access Control area.

First you need to understand the differences between Site and ORG level admin, and where you should be making changes.
Then, once in the Policy Administration tool, understand the differences between the Domains that are established.
Then, once in the proper Domain, try to interpret/understand the UI before even attempting to change anything.
By the way, you also need to know/understand what these are as well: WTObject, EPMDocument, ADHOC settings, and WTMarkup


Thanks for this information and taking the time to write such a good
article, it certainly helps.

We have had Windchill in for some time now and I still get users saying
things like "Can't we go back to Intralink" or "Intralink was so much
easier". Like I say to my users no matter what Database system you put
in place there will always be an overhead to the user for data management,
but I do agree with them that with Intralink it did seem far easier, I'm
talking about Ilink 3.2 and 3.3 here.

For Installation, I could usually upgrade the ilink server over night
after doing a couple test upgrades which I could do during the day on a
dev box but now I need to spend a few weeks testing upgrades with
Windchill and at the end of all my testing I still have our VAR come in
and do the LIVE upgrade because I don't feel confident enough that if
something should go wrong how I could get out of it and as you say, there
are so many facets to Windchill, that just one bit going wrong could kill
the Live server or worse lay undiscovered and bite you in the backside at
a later date.

I think PTC are making moves in the right direction with the
installations, 10.1 is so much easier to install than say 7 or 8 but thats
where the changes for us end, we really only want to do Document
Management and CAD Data Management not PLM, unfortunately we have other
systems so ingrained that you would need a ton of tnt to blow them out of
the company. BUT they work for us so why change it.

PTC should look at what was so good about the later version or Intralink
and why CAD users liked it, notice I said later versions here, I remember
trying Ilink 1.1 up then 2.1 up and IMHO they were awful, but like most
software it got better and by later v2 and v3 PTC had a really good
product, which fitted well for us.

Thanks again Joel

Best Regards

Chris Collinson
CAD Administrator

Having used Pro/Intralink 3.3 and migrated that to Windchill 7 at one company, I have seen changes/improvements along the way.
I have also been at a company that went from Pro/PDM to PDMLink7 with no outside help.
I did an upgrade from PDMLink 9.0mo50 to 9.1m060 yesterday. It took all day, but is up and running.

Migration will always be an issue.
The changes we had to implement to the Pro/Program portion of our files to change parameters from Intralink to PDMLink meant that we had to export all files, run a batch ModelCheck program and then do an automated import into PDMLink. No direct migration tools from Intralink DB to PDMLink DB. If you plan on using the parameters provided by Windchill, you cannot do a direct import. The files must be massaged first or you will never get them updated. We also had to develop new formats to incorporate the proper parameters.
The site that did Pro/PDM to PDMLink did it all manually with no customization for the parameters being used in the drawings. My current site also does not use the parameters efficiently in the drawings.

Windchill is Windchill. It is what it is and it is nothing but a giant toolkit for developers to implement an application on top of a framework.
PDMLink, MPMLink, PartsLink, ProjectLink, PDM Essentials and Intralink (since 😎 are all built on the same core Windchill technology. How much would you expect to see in differences when they have the same core? Some pieces turned on, others turned off is about the extent of the customizations that tailor each product.

One thing that was mentioned was setup AFTER the system was installed. Is your implementation of Pro/Intralink 3.x so long ago that you forgot that OOTB it had no roles, folders, groups, lifecycle states or revision rules. These all had to be defined and setup by the company system admin. The Windchill products are no different. How much can you expect PTC to put into a 'canned' solution without knowing what your company wants to do with its product. I agree that there may be more that could be done, but the end user admin still needs to add users and assign them to groups for the roles. Essentials should be easier since you only have 1 small group of users to populate the system with. I have had 400 users in my Windchill Aphelion system.

Training is still required and is not an expense item. Training is an investment for you and your company. You needed training to set up Pro/Intralink 3.x, you need training to setup PDMLink or Essentials.

Hardware is 'cheap'. While most companies did not have a second mirrored Pro/Intralink system, it was recommended for testing upgrades, patches and customizations. Windchill is no different. You still need 2 servers, application and database. In my current setup, I am working on a migration to 10.0. That requires all new hardware since I must be running on a 64-bit OS. I am also in a secured environment, data and computers go in, nothing comes out. I have 4 32-bit servers and 4 64-bit servers to support my current and future requirements. I also have 7 virtual servers for initial testing on my unclassified network. Practice for an upgrade is essential. Even with what I had practiced and documented, I still had some minor glitches yesterday. I know what to do to resolve them, but they still cause a mild heart attack when they happen.

Enough rambling, take it all with a grain of salt. Each implementation is unique and there will never be a 'one size fits all' OOTB implementation.

Thank you,

Ben H. Loosli
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