Global Investment Bank 'Reaping the Rewards' After Migrating from ClearCase

Financial services leader migrates its version control system from ClearCase to Helix Core for big gains.

Why They Switched to Helix Core

Faster Performance


Visibility Into Audit Trails

10% Increase in Productivity

Helix Core is the best all-round solution for us,

We estimate that ClearCase currently costs us around $500K per annum to run, whereas we predict that Helix Core will be nearer $150K. Plus, we can sustain scalability without growing the hardware footprint because Helix Core supports a cloud-based server infrastructure."


Quantitative analysts, or "quants," play a vital role in the bank’s ability to deliver cutting-edge products to its clients. The 100-person team writes complex code that is based on 1,000+ components. The interrelation of software components calls for tools and processes that support close team collaboration in a distributed environment.

At a Glance

  • Industry: Global Investment Banking
  • Users: Quantitative Analysts
  • Development Environment: Microsoft Visual Studio
  • Number of Helix Core users: 100+
  • Locations: Globally distributed
  • Application: More than 1,000 components, 20GB repository, 1M+ files
  • Estimated savings: Annual costs reduced from $500K to $150K USD

Why They Needed to Migrate

The group used Rational ClearCase for years. But in 2011, the team put its version control requirements under review.

The group’s spokesperson, a VP within the organization, explained:

"As we evolve, we need the ability to scale and support different development models. The version management system needs to be adaptable enough to do that without hindering us or dictating working practices."

For instance, some teams are adopting agile development practices, while others work with more traditional models. A flexible version management tool was a must.They wanted a version control system that is simple to use with minimal effort.

Migrating Delivered Big Gains

An analytics group for one of the world’s leading investment banks found itself facing a dual challenge that’s common to organizations today. They wanted to move to a modern version control system. But they need to maintain development history.

Working closely with Perforce Software, the organization migrated 10+ years' worth of source code history from IBM Rational ClearCase to Helix Core — and modernized version control.

In doing so, they:

  • Reduced operating costs.
  • Increased performance.
  • Gained the flexibility to support different development models without dictating working practices.
  • Achieved the scalability it needs to meet both its current and future needs.

Helix Core Was the Best All-Around Solution

Even though they decided to migrate away from ClearCase, they still needed access to historical data. This includes clear audit trails of source code changes to demonstrate appropriate control and to satisfy the requirements of the internal IT risk and audit department. Financial models can be long lived, so having a clear revision history of the code is vital.

While the business case decision can be argued on the cost savings alone, equally important is the impact on developer productivity. Helix Core supports different development models and working practices, meaning we will not be constrained by Helix Core. Our users will not have to adjust to or be constrained by the tool.

Their repository is around 20GB at the head and contains 1M+ files. They need a high-performance version management system. Any productivity lost by our quants is a big deal for us. While it is powerful, Helix Core is also easy to use, with a short learning curve.

Helix Core meets the enterprise features that their IT Risk & Audit Department look for. Unlike some of the other version management systems we investigated, Helix Core is truly enterprise ready. So, they can be confident that it will provide them with the audit trail we require both for historical and future data.

Helix Core vs. Other Version Control Systems

The group put Helix Core through a rigorous evaluation process, along with other leading products including AccuRev, Microsoft Visual Studio TFS, and Subversion. They rejected Mercurial and Git because at the time those products were unable to meet the group’s requirements for enterprise control.

The product evaluation involved testing functionality, such as branching scenarios, handling of merging, changelists, version histories, integration with third-party tools, and WAN performance.

"The conclusion was that Helix Core is the best solution for us, both technically and commercially," says the group’s spokesperson. "TFS is a great ALM product, but our view was that the versioning element is not as strong as Helix Core, while Subversion was not the best fit for our chosen work methodologies."

Helix Core was the fastest and easiest version control tool to set up. Its impact on their infrastructure is negligible compared to the other tools, and with a 2.5MB server executable, it’s the smallest of them all.

"Perforce’s consulting services have supported us all the way through. We are also impressed with how Perforce’s technical support team has responded to our questions during our evaluation and beta testing."

The Result? 10% Increase in Productivity

By moving to Helix Core, they're experiencing significant benefits.

For example, checking in a large collection of changes with Helix Core takes minutes rather than hours. They estimate that their productivity will improve by at least 10%.

Performance of the Helix Core proxy servers in the overseas offices is also impressive.

Activities that take up to 20 minutes with Rational ClearCase are reduced to just 2 minutes or less with Helix Core, while utilizing a less expensive infrastructure.

Since moving to Helix Core, the group has been extremely impressed by the company’s technical support.

"I cannot think of another software development product where the support organization is so responsive, helpful, and diligent in following up on requests. With a tool that is so vital to the day-to-day work of the group, it is very comforting to know there is always someone there to help."

What's Next?

The group expects to extend its use of Helix Core innovations.

"Helix Core features we look forward to using include Perforce Streams, to make managing workflows even easier. Ease of use is critical for our quants, so they can focus on delivering business solutions. At the same time, the new sandbox feature will give the more hardcore developers in the team a greater level of local check-out functionality that they prefer."

Switch From ClearCase to Helix Core

See for yourself how switching from ClearCase to Helix Core will benefit you.

Try Helix Core