September 25, 2012

Setting up 7 Replicas in 30 Minutes: Why Technical Marketing is Fun at Perforce


I work in technical marketing at Perforce. Not a lot of folks know what technical marketing is all about, so I have three job descriptions I use depending on who I'm speaking with.

  • Technical marketing: An antonym pair used on the SAT, in the same phrase group as 'ethical lawyer'.
  • Technical marketing: The job with no clearly defined responsibilities. Grab it and keep it forever.
  • Technical marketing: The group that helps marketing understand engineering and vice versa.

That last one isn't quite accurate, but it's pretty close. I work pretty closely with engineering, product management, and product marketing. One of the fun parts of this job is keeping up to date with all the new technology coming out of product development. I try to get hands-on time with each major new product feature, so I understand how it's used and who might find it interesting.

Yesterday I was experimenting with some new replication features slated to appear next year.  I had to set up a handful of Perforce replicas in various configurations.  Now, I've worked with a lot of products in the SCM and ALM areas over the years, and with many of them setting up a complex deployment with a lot of moving parts would take hours or days. But I was able to stand up a Perforce repository plus 7 replicas in about 45 minutes - while I was talking to my boss about something else.  (Sorry boss.  You'll get my full undivided attention next time.  Promise.)  

I think it's very cool that a mature product like Perforce is so simple and easy to install. Sure, a realistic deployment would take more time, but at least I didn't have to spend hours installing database servers or monitoring tools.

A lot of products start simple and quickly become unwieldy. So here's a little shout out to the Perforce server developers: you've kept the core part of Perforce pretty lean and mean over the years.

PS Moving from an engineering role to technical marketing is a difficult transition. I started off my career as an electrical engineer, ended up moving to software as a result of a research project I worked on, found my way into consulting, and then marketing. If anyone is making a similar switch and wants to swap stories, feel free to contact me on LinkedIn or twitter.