Sharing is best when you can

As with many people using FCP with a SAN, we stored our projects on the SAN moving them local to work on them and putting them back when we'd finished with them. This worked fine. But the idea of having project sharing was a great plus point to having FCServer.

I didn't start using the project check out/in straight away as when we installed Svr, we were already in production and were used to the workflow we had in place. However, for some reason, I was keen to get it working so I could work from home a bit easier - quite why I'd want to do that, I'm not entirely sure ;)
I also wanted the ability for any user to have an easier time of knowing who was using what, when. I had a vision of being able to know when someone was working on a particular project and also to have shared sound effects, music and voice takes libraries open at the same time but with only one user having write access to the project. I (now) know this was a pipe dream as when a project is checked out, another user can not do something sensible like have the option of opening a read only version of this project, the only option is to make a copy and open that. You then have the same problem as any workflow without FCServer in that you have multiple projects and you have to manually figure out which on is the latest/one you should use.

All of these quibbles could (at a push!) be overlooked if project check out/in was actually useable. Its not!

The first problem noticed was the ridiculous amount of time it took us to check projects out and in of FCServer.
I wasn't particularly bothered about the duration it originally took to check a project in to the system for the first time but as soon as I'd checked a project in, I tried doing a quick(!) check out and back in. For reference, I didn't have version tracking switched on as I had no intention of using this feature as I was used to manually creating my versions within the FCP project.

Take a look at these times after clicking "Check Out" in FCServer
3 mins: FCServer was unresponsive and the progress wheel didn't even spin round.
1 min: Check out occurred. A minute is really longer than I would have liked in total but at a massive push, I would have been able to deal with it.
Next up, open the project in FCP (don't get me started on how long that takes but that's something we all have to deal with!) and move a clip on the timeline (no adding of media, no creation of any new sequences etc - just moving an existing clip on the timeline.)
Save and close the project and check it back in to FCServer.
2 mins: Progress wheel spins.
Far too long a time: Apparently it was recreating proxies, after which the project didn't unlock, clear the checkout icon or stop spinning the progress wheel so after about 5 minutes I manually unlocked it and all was fine. Not ideal.

Here's some times for another test I did:

Check Out took 2:05 with 25 seconds of that resulting in FCserver being totally unresponsive.
Check In: 10 seconds and the job popped up in the "Jobs in Progress" window. After 55 seconds in there, it disappeared but took a further 9 minutes to check back in to FCSever.

During both of these "Check In" processes, FCServer would look like it was recreating all the asset proxies in the project. A look at the create date on them reveals that this wasn't the case, but it still took the time to go through these motions.

So after getting these results with my testing, I decided to not bother with the check out/in of projects and stick to the manual way of doing things. At least it works and doesn't take 10-15 minutes to get a project from me to my assistant.
Its a big shame as this is one feature I would have loved to have got working - I'll take another look after I rebuild this server and upgrade FCSvr. Fingers crossed it'll work better then!