Many businesses start with SVN because it’s free. But now that you’ve had it awhile, you’ve probably realized the real costs associated with using it. Although you don’t have to pay for licenses to use Subversion, you can still drain your company resources trying to make SVN work.

Code management issues. Suboptimal workflows. Poor scalability. Outdated functionality. Each of these challenges causes productivity to slow down. In many instances, the net loss in productivity is more expensive than licensing a proprietary version control system.

Perforce offers Helix Core — a compelling solution for teams who are looking to regain the productivity they’ve lost because of Subversion.

Keep reading to learn the nine reasons teams prefer Perforce Helix Core vs. Subversion.

Perforce vs. SVN: What SVN Lacks

SVN Doesn’t Have Built-In Code Review

SVN has no built-in code review. To do code reviews, you need to license a third-party product. Helix Core includes Helix Swarm — an enterprise-class code review and collaboration solution. Helix Swarm can easily integrate with your CI workflows.

SVN Only Has Basic Merging

SVN only has basic merging capabilities, and it has limited baseline selection. This leads to time-consuming merge conflicts. By comparison, Helix Core automatically tracks the merge history across all branches. It even tracks renames and moves.

Release Management Is Complex and Error-Prone With SVN

In SVN, users identify branches by naming conventions. If changes are discovered that need to be applied across several development branches, the task to merge back can be complex and error-prone. The weak branching capability is among the root causes of the widely discussed merging challenges people have with Subversion.

Helix Core uses a branching structure called “Streams.” Streams identifies branches as mainline, development, and release. This makes it simple to identify which changes should be propagated and to which Stream. When you compare SVN branches and Helix Core Steams, it’s easy to understand why teams prefer Perforce vs. Subversion.

SVN Has Limited Performance and Scalability

SVN is a single-server system. This limits performance and scalability. As a result, SVN struggles with large repositories and file sizes. It’s hard to find concrete benchmark data on SVN. But the conventional wisdom seems to be that it’s limited to about 250 users, and 1 TB of data.

Helix Core has customers with more than 10,000 users and petabytes of data.

SVN Can’t Manage Git Repos Natively

SVN has no Git management capabilities. For teams who want to store Git natively, Helix4Git is an add-on option from Perforce. It lets you store Git repos in the high-performance Helix Core server. With Helix4Git, teams can scale Git to achieve accelerated collaboration and up to 80 percent faster builds.

Working Offline With SVN Is Challenging

Working offline with SVN is possible, but it takes a lot of planning and coordination. You need to copy your entire repo and run an SVN server on your local machine. If anyone made changes to the paths you were working on, you can’t return the code to the original repo.

With Helix Core, you can work offline in workspaces on your local machine. Once you’re back online, you can reconcile the changes with one command. For teams who want to work offline, it’s easy to see why teams prefer Perforce vs. SVN.

Finding the File History With SVN Is Time-Consuming

With SVN, a simple report to find changes takes minutes. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for changes made by a particular user or locating a deleted file. It’s slow because it requires listing the whole history of a project and filtering the output.

Helix Core features a robust set of tools from the command line and the Helix Visual Client (P4V) to create a file history report. You have complete traceability to the source and history of all changes from the TimeLapse View, Revision Graph, or Folder Diff.

SVN Has No Out-of-the-Box Security

SVN offers basic full-repo and path-based access control. And once it’s in operation, it’s difficult to manage. Today, you need more.

Helix Core has powerful file-level access control and auditing facilities. It also supports SSO and 360-degree multi-factor authentication (or MFA) protection. It’s the most securable version control system on the market. For security, Helix Core seems like the clear winner in the Perforce vs. Subversion battle.

SVN Can’t Support Global Teams

SVN doesn’t have built-in caching or replication technology to support a global workforce. Teams are limited by the capabilities of their WAN.

By comparison, Helix Core offers an unparalleled set of technologies — including caching and an advanced replication technology called “federated architecture.” With federated architecture, global teams can access and manage files at LAN speed.

Get a full feature comparison of Helix Core vs. SVN.

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Why Perforce Beats SVN

Most open source products come with hidden costs — lost productivity, delayed releases, and increased maintenance. These hidden costs have the potential to be more expensive than the upfront license fee.

So who wins the battle of Perforce vs. SVN? Perforce offers a compelling solution for teams that are looking to regain the productivity they’ve lost to Subversion. Helix Core is a proven, integrated platform. It’s optimized for Agile and DevOps at scale.

And for teams that are concerned about cost? Helix Core is free for up to 5 users and 20 workspaces.

Try Helix Core


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