Monday, 03 August 2015 17:22

Perforce Helix going multi-tenant

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The Perforce Helix version control system will soon be available as a multi-tenanted SaaS product, making it accessible to a wider variety of users.

Perforce Helix is a version control system designed to manage more than just code. Rather, it is intended to handle a wide variety of digital assets including code, explained community support director Matt Attaway.

"It can work for just about anyone," he said, as it takes material from diverse sources including Microsoft Office and the Unity game development system, which can then be combined by other tools to build something for consumers.

"We can store any type of file" from a 5K configuration files to a petabyte video, Attaway told iTWire. These files can then be replicated around the world for groups of users in different locations, but they are protected using encrypted connections and user authentication and access control.

Earlier this year, Helix gained native P4D DVCS workflows. The original idea with version control systems (VCS) was to have a single store, with users locking the items while they were working on them.

Then Git and Mercurial came along, allowing users to detach from the server, he said. This involved the use of 'shallow clones' which contained just the most recent version of each file. Helix takes this further with 'narrow clones' that only contain the files that the user actually needs.

For example, a game studio may have teams in different locations, each working on their own projects. So Helix can automatically keep shared items such as the game engine synchronised, while resources for individual game projects remain local.

Git integrates with Helix via GitSwarm (similar to GitHub), said Attaway. Synchronisation with the Helix Versioning Engine is configurable, so individual users can use whichever environment suits them best, he said.

Helix also has new security capabilities. Director for Asia Pacific and Latin America Michael Alessio told iTWire, giving the example of a company that spent a year and $1 million to no avail after its intellectual property turned up in another company's product.

But by using Perforce's threat detection capability the company was able to easily identify the two culprits, and then went on to find another three people at its headquarters were stealing data, with a further eight doing the same at overseas locations.

The capability is similar to that used by banks to detect credit card fraud, he said, as it looks at individual users' patterns and the patterns of similar users to identify high-risk individuals who need further scrutiny.

For example, file synchronisation being performed at 2am local time might be considered OK if it is a one-off for that user, but it might be suspicious if it keeps happening.

Helix is available for on-premises use, and as Helix OnDemand (single tenant SaaS with the full capabilities of Helix Enterprise, provided by Perforce). Next year the range will be expanded with the arrival of Helix Cloud (multi tenant SaaS with free and premium tiers, and including support for very large files plus simple social sharing of content).

Big-name Helix users include Samsung, Disney, Boeing, Salesforce, Intuit and TomTom. Locally, the roster includes Cochlear, Halfbrick, MYOB, Transurban and Tatts Group.

Perforce is seeing rapid growth in Asia Pacific. There are now around 100,000 users in the region, and Australian revenue grew 54% from 2013 to 2014. "This is where we're investing," said Alessio.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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