A ClearCase migration can be a daunting task. Will the migration disrupt development? What about the years of history?

Luckily, you can migrate from ClearCase to Helix Core — version control from Perforce — without disruption and without losing years of history.

In fact, with proper planning and testing, you can make your ClearCase migration easy. And the benefits will be immediately evident: better workflow flexibility, scale, and performance.

Let’s explore some of the things you should include in your ClearCase migration toolkit:



Why Migrate From ClearCase to Helix Core

There was a time when ClearCase was on the cutting edge of technology. Today, ClearCase just doesn't cut it.

Still Using ClearCase? Consider...

How many admins do you need to manage ClearCase?

Does UCM make ClearCase easier to use or more restrictive?

Does ClearCase scale enough for your team?

Do you have the budget and tolerance to keep managing MultiSite?

Teams That Migrate From ClearCase to Helix Core Find…

  • Admin work is easier.
  • Development is faster.
  • Licenses are less expensive.
  • Security needs are met.

Why 3 Teams Migrated...

“Perforce is the best all-round solution for us. We estimate that Rational ClearCase currently costs us around $500,000 per annum to run, whereas we predict that Perforce will be nearer $150,000.”

From a Fortune 100 global investment bank

“Perforce is one of the most important software applications in use at National Instruments today. With so many different groups relying on Perforce, we really appreciate the flexibility of the system."

From National Instruments

"From a developer productivity perspective, there is absolutely no comparison. Merge or integration tasks that would take days to complete in ClearCase — and often involve multiple people — are now done in hours.”

From Amdocs




How to Plan a ClearCase Migration

Migration projects from ClearCase to Helix Core vary greatly in scale and complexity.

Small, simple environments with basic migration requirements are typically migrated in about 8 business days. This includes setting up Helix Core, migrating, and training users and administrators.

Large, complex ClearCase environments may perform a series of migrations over the course of several months (or more), as teams migrate at times convenient for them.

Here's how to plan your ClearCase migration.

1. Identify Your Stakeholders

Include IT and your version control system admin. And don’t forget daily users, like developers, managers, and product architects.

2. Assess the Current State of Your System

Document the version, server location, and any customizations. Run any data verification utilities. If you have corrupt data, it’s better to know about it upfront.

3. Plan Your New Helix Core Deployment

Is your hardware sized appropriately? Do you have a good backup solution in place? If Helix Core will be on a new platform, how will you handle Unicode data?

4. Document Your Current ClearCase Configuration 

Is your branching strategy a mess? Migration is a good time to fix that. Do you have in-house tools to support your users? Those may have to be ported to work with Helix Core.

5. Consider Key Milestones

Is there a big release coming up that can’t be disrupted?

6. Identify How Much History to Import

Will the latest file versions suffice or do you need detailed history?

7. Evaluate Integrations

What tools and automation interact with ClearCase? Do you use a defect tracker or build runner integration?

8. Plan Your Cutover Strategy

Will your users transition to Helix Core at the same time or will you plan a phased approach?

9. Determine Training Required

Determine what level of training your users and admins will need — online or classroom-based Helix Core training.

10. Consider Retaining ClearCase

How long will ClearCase be available after the migration? Should licenses be renewed? If so, for how long?

11. Decide on Success Metrics

Possibilities include verification of imported data, reproducibility of important builds, and a measure of impact on productivity.


Helix Core for Subversion Users

IBM ClearCase to Helix Core Migration Guide

This technical guide is based on years of field experience helping ClearCase customers transition to Helix Core. You’ll learn the main differences between Helix Core and ClearCase. And you'll learn how to adapt your development processes to leverage Helix Core’s full potential.

Get Migration Guide


3 ClearCase Migration Approaches

Determining what and how much history to import requires careful consideration. You may have different approaches for different products. This may depend on where they are in their lifecycle and importance to your organization.

There are 3 migration approaches you can consider: Tips Only, Detailed History Import (DHI), or Baseline and Branch Import (BBI).

Here, we give a quick overview of the approaches. You can get a more comprehensive overview in our migration guide.

Start Over (Tips Only)

This approach involves getting the latest file versions, or “tips,” from ClearCase and adding them to Helix Core. No history is preserved. This approach is sometimes appropriate for documentation but is rarely ideal for source code, except for prototype and demo code. This is, in essence, a “start over” approach.

Starting over offers some benefits. First, it can be easy. You define target directories in Helix Core, and then add the files. Because there is less to migrate, it is also faster.

Do a Detailed History Import (DHI)

This is the most comprehensive conversion approach. It captures as much detailed branch/merge information as possible. This allows you to conduct historical research in the new system without requiring the old one. A DHI captures elements such as properties, user descriptions, and check-in comments.

Perforce has a sophisticated tool and process that enables conversion of very detailed historical data from ClearCase to Helix Core. The tool has been successfully used for performing detailed history conversions from fairly large ClearCase data sets (about 100 GB) to Helix Core.

With this approach, you can see your old history in a new light with Helix Core’s powerful visualization tools. Depending on your plans, you may or may not need all information. Many customers will do a BBI first, and if needed, proceed with a DHI.

Use a Baseline and Branch Import (BBI)

The BBI approach offers a lightweight migration alternative to the DHI. It’s more sophisticated than the Tips Only approach and avoids the technical complexity of a DHI.

The BBI approach uses a branch diagram to select the history to import. The diagram shows the baselines, which are snapshots of a directory structure at a specified time, and major branching operations. It imports branching operations at a high level, capturing the sum of merge operations. A BBI lets you get started quickly and is very reliable.



Your ClearCase Migration Checklist

Even though ClearCase migrations vary in complexity, all share similar milestones that must be met. Use the ClearCase migration checklist to make sure you don’t miss key tasks during the migration.

1. Evaluate ClearCase

  • Assess ClearCase usage.
  • Check out tools, processes, and infrastructure.
  • Consider user interactions.
  • Define your migration requirements.

2. Determine a Branching Strategy

3. Map Your New System

  • Plan your directory structure.
  • Define release processes and standards.
  • Select a data conversation strategy.

4. Secure Your Property

  • Address intellectual property concerns.

5. Build Your Adopters

  • Establish a transition team.
  • Contact professionals.
  • Schedule training.

6. Cut Over to Helix Core

  • Select your first project.
  • Review the first project.

The Professional Services team at Perforce has extensive experience migrating complex ClearCare environments to Helix Core. They can ensure your migration goes smoothly. Get more information >>

ClearCase Migration Checklist

Get the Checklist

Want to download a complete copy of the checklist for later —
including extra tips?

Get the PDF



Kick Off Your ClearCase Migration

Ready to make the switch from ClearCase to Helix Core? You can try Helix Core out for up to 5 users and 20 workspaces for free. And once you decide Helix Core is right for you, we can help you roll it out to the rest of your team — and kick off your migration. 

Switch to Helix Core