September 12, 2011

Perforce admins, the 2011.1 release is for you too


I was talking to a Perforce administrator recently, and he asked if there was anything in the 2011.1 release that he should care about. I did a double take, because there's actually a lot in this release that will make his job a bit easier. But fair point: the 2011.1 release includes streams and the revamped integration engine, which tend to get most of the attention.

So here's a quick run-down of some parts of the 2011.1 release that all Perforce admins should know about:

  • Ever have one of your Perforce server file systems fill up? Reaching 100% capacity on the P4ROOT file system causes all sorts of pain. There are a lot of monitoring tools that keep an eye on disk capacity, but the new p4 diskspace command lets you quickly check the capacity of any file systems used by the server.
    > p4 diskspace
    P4ROOT (type NTFS) : 98GB free, 364GB used, 462GB total (78% full)
    P4JOURNAL (type NTFS) : 98GB free, 364GB used, 462GB total (78% full)
    P4LOG (type NTFS) : 98GB free, 364GB used, 462GB total (78% full)
    TEMP (type NTFS) : 98GB free, 364GB used, 462GB total (78% full)
    depot (type NTFS) : 98GB free, 364GB used, 462GB total (78% full)
  • If you have a large Perforce installation, you may have noticed that commands like p4 verify can take a long time to complete if you're scanning big chunks of the repository. p4 monitor now allows you to pause and resume long running tasks. (Of course, normal verification can take place on a warm spare or replica, but being able to pause tasks is nice for ad-hoc situations.)
  • Even after introducing dynamic configuration, some settings, like the server's temp directory, can only be modified by restarting the server. The new p4 admin restart command will gracefully shut down the server, reload all of the configuration settings, and start the server again.
  • Worried about possible data corruption after a power outage? The p4 dbstat command will now report on some cases of database corruption.
  • Server logging is turned on by default, making it easier to keep an eye on the Perforce server. You'll probably want to specify where that log file goes, and keep an eye on the disk space (and rotate the log periodically).
  • Running a Perforce server without a license for personal use? p4 license -u will report how close you are to bumping up against the licensing limits.
    > p4 license -u
    ... isLicensed no
    ... userCount >2
    ... userLimit unlimited
    ... clientCount >5
    ... clientLimit unlimited
    ... fileCount 483
    ... fileLimit 1000

As always, the 2011.1 release notes have full details on these improvements.

If you're a Perforce admin, keep your requests coming! A lot of the improvements noted here are the direct result of somebody saying, "Wouldn't it be nice if..." Many of us have done daily Perforce administration before, so we're always looking for ways to make that job easier.