Ciena Corporation

Perforce has been utilized successfully in a variety of project initiatives at Ciena. The flexibility, speed and ease with which it performs makes it a clear choice for the majority of Ciena users."

Shawn Jamison

Perforce Administrator, Ciena Corporation

Ciena logo


Shawn Jamison is the sole full-time Perforce Administrator at Ciena, in Atlanta, GA. He monitors and tracks changes submitted by more than 700 users on six Perforce servers and nine proxy servers at three remote sites. Jamison also manages two home-grown automated build tools that are completely integrated with Perforce.

Development Environment
at a Glance

Company name: Ciena Corporation

Headquarters: Linthicum, MD

Industry: Networking

Perforce customer since: 1998

Number of Perforce users: 750

Connectivity environment: LAN/WAN

Number of development sites: 5: Atlanta, GA; Acton, MA; Maryland; Canada; India

All servers: Atlanta, GA

Proxy servers: 9

Number of files under Perforce control: 13 million files across 6 different servers

Number of files under main Perforce server: 10 million

Number of changes: 504,000

Number of administrators: 1 full time administrator

Client hardware: Mainly Windows with some flavors of Linux

Server hardware: Compaq, Dell on Windows, Unix

Main server: Windows Server 2003 Standard

Customer Profile

Headquartered in Linthicum, Maryland, Ciena Corporation is a leader in communications network platforms, software, and professional services, employing more than 1,600 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Ciena specializes in transitioning networks from a technology platform cost center to a customer platform that creates maximum business, operational and end-user value. With industry-leading features, functionality, and performance, Ciena's offerings form the foundation for many of the largest, most reliable, and sophisticated service provider, cable/MSO, enterprise, and government networks across the globe.

Ciena uses Perforce for the majority of its document and source code management projects. The use of Perforce SCM by technical and non-technical groups at Ciena forms the crux of this study.

Ciena Adopts Perforce

Ciena has been a Perforce customer for more than eight years, after acquiring a company which was already using the system.

Following the acquisition, existing developers at Ciena were impressed with Perforce's ease of use and suggested migrating the majority of their document and source code management projects to Perforce. Today, more than 70 percent of relevant Ciena employees use Perforce for application and open source development, and both project and content management.

"Generally, developers don't like learning new SCM tools," explained Shawn Jamison, Perforce Administrator for Ciena. "But our developers were quickly won over by Perforce's high speeds, especially when submitting and tracking document changes, and began utilizing the tool in multiple projects."

"Additionally, Perforce's simplicity has enabled many non-technical users, who don't traditionally use an SCM system, to manage their projects more efficiently," added Jamison.

At Ciena, a standard method is used for development. Perforce SCM is used to manage and track code throughout the network application development cycle. Perforce SCM gives Ciena developers the ability to seamlessly control several projects simultaneously, even when up to 700 users are submitting files.

Perforce Manages Project and Training Documentation

Ciena produces a variety of product and engineering release documentation. In the past, employees were encountering issues when generating new release documents, because each new version would automatically reference indices from previous release versions. As individuals attempted to make modifications, changes would not translate and valuable time was wasted while teams went through countless administrative steps to ensure all references within the new releases were up-to-date. The continuous confusion, which resulted in the inability to meet scheduled deadlines, drove the need for a new documentation management solution.

"Modifications to documents were being made by various sources and original versions were getting lost in the shuffle," said Jamison. "Employees needed to continuously re-do document updates, causing unnecessary delays."

Some of the developers working on these projects suggested using Perforce as the new management system. While at first hesitant to adopt a completely new system, resistance among the project users quickly dissipated as they discovered Perforce's ease of use and ability to adapt to their specific needs.

"The documentation team decided to use Perforce for managing document revisions by forcing users to submit all changes through Perforce. The system made it very simple for the team to review direct changes to their comments, comparisons to the original document could be made easily, and the changes in each version were already saved."

Managers were able to save original project document versions and track modifications, resulting in an increase in productivity, consistency and reliability. In addition, with Perforce's new versioning capabilities, project managers were able to successfully manage changes and approvals across multiple projects without losing critical information.

Perforce for Content Management

Ciena has made several acquisitions during the years, resulting in numerous engineering intranet sites. The company needed to consolidate those individual sites into one common, global engineering intranet, which required the consolidation of hardware, source, digital assets, documentation, databases, software applications and more, spread out across several time zones.

"Perforce has been instrumental in consolidating the segmented engineering intranet sites into a single intranet presence, and has made the transition much simpler," explained Jamison. "Perforce is able to track and save all changes in our intranet as we re-architect, efficiently providing the document repository foundation for managing the numerous documents and versions that are currently driving the software development lifecycle."


Perforce is quickly becoming the tool of choice at Ciena for new development projects. Its flexibility and the speed with which it performs have made many employees ardent fans. "Last, and certainly not least, the technical support staff at Perforce is excellent and they are able to navigate us through any issue with amazing precision," concluded Jamison.


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