May 4, 2012

Version Everything Road Trip, Day 2 - sunny San Diego

Version Control

perforce road trip san diego

We wrapped up the second stop on the Perforce Road Trip yesterday in beautiful San Diego. If you've never been there, you're missing one of the most scenic downtowns in the world. Just standing at the foot of Broadway you can see cruise ships, aircraft carriers, a naval air station, Coronado, and Point Loma. And that's without turning your head.

Mark Harrison gave a great talk on the interesting things that Pixar does with Perforce. Mark's a very funny speaker, and he had some great lines. Paraphrasing a personal favorite: "We reached back to high school math and realized that downloading a terabyte would take about 1,000 times longer than a gigabyte."

I think the custom application that Pixar built to support their artists is a great illustration of why Perforce is building Commons. As Mark said, their artists need version management: Pixar is on a 50-year planning horizon for keeping their data safe. But of course an artist isn't going to use the same tools as a software developer. (Another great line: "It's hard to find a common language with someone who doesn't realize that files have names.") So Pixar built a drag'n'drop Perforce front-end... starting to sound familiar? 

And of course Pixar also deals with some of the challenges that we're trying to address in our 2012.1 release. They're moving around huge amounts of data and supporting a diverse set of end users. Of course, Pixar is at the extreme end of the scale (their biggest-ever submit was almost a terabyte) and they've built a lot of their own infrastructure. But tools like P4Sandbox and replication will help anyone dealing with a challenging environment.