Perforce Becomes ECI Telecom's Final Choice

Helix VCS has provided ECI Telecom with more automation, better control over traceability and audit trails, and ease of use and workspace management.

Why Perforce?

Customization and extensibility of Helix

Full ROI by the end of year two

Ease of use, flexibility, and simplicity

Dramatic performance improvements

Total control over the VM environment

About ECI Telecom

  • Global provider of network solutions servicing the telecommunications industry pioneer of optical packet networks and next generation telecommunications.
  • Headquartered in Israel with offices throughout EMEA, India, APAC, North America, and Latin America.
  • Customers include British Telecom, Bharti Airtel, China Power, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, Tata, Vimpelcom, and Vodafone.
  • ECI Telecom also supplies its solutions to energy, government, defense, and transportation companies.

 

Core Pain Points

  • Complex and diverse development environment: ALM department supports the varied needs of 300+ developers spread over three countries (Israel, India and China)
  • Programming in .Net, C++, C # and Java
  • Each product can contain 2 - 4GB and millions of source code files
  • Total repository exceeds 100GB

ECI Telecom decided to replace its version management system:

  • The previous system, installed in 2006, had reached end of life
  • Slow performance — it took on average 17 minutes for file synchronization
  • Complex, inflexible, and expensive to maintain
  • ‘Off-the-shelf’ strategy: looking to invest in products that don’t require internal code-writing and management to fit into ECI’s software environment

“We require a version management system that provides consistent high performance across multiple teams, platforms, and workflows. Helix meets that need,” Ravid Brown.

 

Why Perforce?

Before deciding on Perforce, ECI Telecom carried out a thorough market evaluation:

  • Other systems were dismissed because of cost, expected complexity, or inability to effectively support C++ and Java
  • Open source tools such as Subversion and Git were discounted because as Ravid Brown says, “Our work is mission-critical. Our products are used in national internet networks, so we need a reliable commercial system with robust support.”

Perforce was ECI’s final choice because it:

  • Dramatically improved performance: file synchronization takes 2-3 minutes, compared to 17 minutes with the previous system
  • Total control over the VM environment while enabling as much automation as possible
  • Less complexity than the previous system and more intuitive to use
  • Customization and extensibility options
  • Value for money – Helix is a fraction of the cost of the previous system

“While cost is important, it is the technical benefits that sold Helix to me. For instance, performance gains aren’t just about speed — they enabled us to improve productivity in lots of other ways,” says Ravid Brown.

 

Perforce in Action

Perforce Helix was installed in just six weeks with only three full-time ECI staff. 300+ developers and 100 non-technical staff at ECI now use Helix VCS, which has provided:

  • More automation across functions within the development environment
  • Better control over traceability and audit trials, without expecting developers to learn and apply complex guidelines. For example, the ‘triggers’ feature helps to ensure that any file checked in relates to the right job, is in the right place and has the right status.
  • The need to cache large amounts of data has been eliminated
  • Workspaces can be created on the fly whereas previously these would have taken up considerable amounts of the ALM team’s time to manage
  • Users experienced in version management can be up-and-running with Perforce within a couple of hours at the most
  • Reports can be run whenever needed, using P4DB to integrate with SQL. Reports used to be run only on weekends in order to prevent disruption to the system.

 

Business Impact

Since installation, ECI has observed tangible benefits across performance, cost and usability:

  • Full ROI by the end of year two, covering both initial investment and annual maintenance
  • All VM on one server — ECI had put aside budget to cover expenditure on servers to run Helix Versioning Engine
  • However, so far it is able to run its entire Perforce repository on just one server and is nowhere near the limit
  • With so much of the development environment now automated, both developers and the ALM team can divert their efforts into other priority work and spend less time managing version control.

“Feedback from users has been very positive. The only thing is that synching file versions takes just a couple of minutes compared to 17, so there is less reason to take a coffee break!”

 

Looking Forward

ECI Telecom is looking at moving to Jira for bug-tracking and Jenkins for continuous integration. This is part of the ALM team's strategy to use more off-the-shelf, enterprise-grade software tools that require less manual intervention or writing code in house.