May 2, 2016

Mind Wobbling Numbers at MERGE 2016

MERGE User Conference


The most important thing I always get from our periodic MERGE conferences is surely all the great time spent with customers, whether listening to their presentations or just chatting between events. They’re literally at the heart of everything we do, because without them Perforce wouldn’t, nay couldn’t, exist.

At MERGE 2014 Pixar blew my mind with their big data asset management, but this year the numbers I have to share from industry-defining giants NVIDIA and EA Games are even crazier. I remember NVIDIA was a standout at the last conference as well because they use Perforce for so much of their storage and versioning needs. This year, they shared numbers that are hard even to imagine— well, anywhere outside of discussions of U.S. federal debt.

For example, despite having a “mere” 8,000+ users of Perforce Helix, and “only” just shy of a billion files managed therein, they do a total of 88.5 million transactions per day. Seriously. Think about that number for a moment. That works out to 3,867,500 transactions per hour, 61,458 transactions per minute, or 1,024 transactions per second. Yes, fellow nerds, that’s ten bits worth of transactions per second. Excuse me while I recover my jaw from the floor where it lies.

To put that into perspective, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Perforce uses our own Helix software internally across the company, and if I peek at the submitted change list count today I find it’s just over 1.3 million for the entire two-decade history of Perforce. NVIDIA does roughly 97,900 submit operations a day, so they crank out that much change in less than two weeks. That’s astonishing.

EA Games presented similarly heavyweight numbers in terms of pure content. It probably shouldn’t have surprised me given the volume of digital assets EA and its studios have to produce to make hit games like Star Wars: Battlefront, the much-beloved Battlefield franchise, and so forth. However, it surprised me nevertheless when they revealed that their total data storage in Perforce Helix is just over 350 TB at present and growing every day.

To put that into perspective, try to remember that the average Git repository starts to get unwieldy around the 1 GB mark. The content EA Games stores in Helix would truly redefine “Git sprawl” by spanning no less than 350,000+ repos to stay performant. I pity the poor DevOps crew who would have to stitch all that together for builds.

These aren’t the only companies sharing such surreal numbers either. NVIDIA and EA Games are two well-known customers in the digital landscape doing amazing things, but they have a surprising number of contemporaries as well. Those who attended MERGE 2016 know what I’m talking about. For other users of Perforce Helix, consider that an incentive to attend our next conference.

And to those who aren’t yet using Perforce Helix, I think it’s pretty safe to say it will scale to handle what you’re already doing. It’s free and easier than ever to try too, so why not download a free trial and see just how far you can push it? Who knows, maybe I’ll be writing about your mind-wobbling numbers someday soon.