May 14, 2015

Helix Q & A: Understanding the Platform

I recently delivered a series of live webinars in different time zones around the world. The webinars were called “Introducing Helix,” and, as you'd guess from the title, they were overviews of our recently launched SCM and collaboration platform. They were successful in that we had big audiences that stayed until the Q&A sessions and asked thoughtful questions. It was clear we'd piqued their interest!

If you missed the webinar, you can view the On-Demand version here.

The point of these events was to explain the details of the Helix Platform. We provided details on the DVCS features in P4 and P4D; GitSwarm, our new Git ecosystem; Helix Cloud; and Helix Threat Detection, our new behavioral analytics system for detecting data theft.

I thought to share some of the more commonly asked questions from the webinars, along with the answers that might benefit all. I've put them into the broad categories below.

General Questions

Is Helix an add-on to the Perforce we have now, does it replace it, or is it a new, different offering? Is this a replacement for our current Perforce server? Is Helix the only option going forward?

Helix is a new name for the platform of Perforce products. There are new products, like Helix Threat Detection, and new features like DVCS, but products you are familiar with such as P4D, P4, and P4V are still there and are referred to under the Helix brand.

Are existing Perforce licenses and Helix licenses the same license? If we already have P4 license, do we still need to buy Helix license?

They are the same license. You do not need to purchase a new license.

I work in a small company with only a small number of users. We currently use and are happy with Perforce, so why would I consider moving to Helix?

We're glad you are happy with our Versioning Engine and we hope you will continue to be happy with the new features and enhancements provided under the Helix brand.

How steep is the migration curve from pre-Helix versions?

It is pretty gentle. Simply download and install the new 2015.1 version.

DVCS Questions

Will the native DVCS support rebasing and multiparent merging?

The new commands unsubmit and resubmit are for rebasing changes and re-writing history. But there is no multiparent merging.

So is the "Native DVCS" just a re-brand of Git Fusion or is it something completely new?

It is completely new. We’ve introduced new commands to support DVCS workflows.

To clarify: P4D 2015.1 includes DVCS?

Yes.

DVCS - can a developer fetch/push to another developer workspace?

Yes.

Are streams fully supported with DVCS?

Yes.

Is there a Windows Explorer integration of DVCS features like TortoiseSVN? Will the DVCS features be usable with P4V? Are the DVCS components (push, fetch, etc.) ready for clients such as P4V?

You can use P4V with DVCS or Local P4D repositories, but it does not contain the new “push/fetch” commands. Those features will be available in P4V (and other GUIs) later this year.

An issue we've had is in the syncing from Git to P4 related to feature branches (on a large repo). Git takes moments to create a branch but the p4 sync takes much longer with greater overhead. Does Helix address this?

Yes. The new “switch” command will create an in-place branch.

Git/GitSwarm Questions

What is the difference between "Git Fusion" and "Git Connector?" Are they the same?

Yes, they are the same.

Within GitSwarm, can you map the depot paths for repo branches (in the tool) as you can now by editing config files in Git Fusion?

Yes.

Does GitSwarm replace Git Fusion for most environments?

No. Git Fusion is part of GitSwarm.

Will Helix allow us to integrate native Git repositories with our own P4D repositories?

Yes. Git Fusion provides that capability today and GitSwarm will provide it tomorrow.

Does GitSwarm work on Windows Server OS? Is Git Fusion available on the Windows platform?

Perhaps in the future, but today we are targeting Linux environments.

If users want to use Git, do they need to learn and understand P4D concepts and methodologies, or is it all hidden and completely transparent?

It's completely transparent.

Does GitSwarm integrate with Jira?

Yes.

Helix Threat Detection

Our organization would be most interested in the Helix Advanced Threat Detection feature. Is it possible to deploy only that feature in an existing Perforce environment?

Yes. Contact sales@perforce.com for details.

Can the security logs be presented via a Splunk dashboard?

Yes.

IP Detection costs extra, right?

Yes, it is an add-on to your Helix Version Engine (P4D) license. Contact sales@perforce.com for details.

We had many other questions; these were just the most popular ones. Please have a look at the On-Demand webinar and let us know if you have any questions I didn't address here.