Subversion might have worked in the beginning. But as your teams and projects grow, it could be increasingly unmanageable.

Are your developers losing time merging code or searching for who is working on a file? Are they losing version history, wishing for better tool integrations, or struggling without support?

Many companies have overcome these challenges by migrating from SVN to Perforce Helix Core. Perforce’s solution offers streamlined branching capabilities, lightning-fast performance for ever-growing teams, enhanced integrations, and granular security options to keep your code safe.

In this guide you’ll discover how companies like yours made the switch to Helix Core to optimize their development pipeline and unlock productivity.


Flexibility and Flow for Branching and Merging

Ease of branching and merging is critical for Agile development. This ushers in innovation. It gives developers room to experiment without impacting the mainline. SVN’s branching model might work in theory. But in practice, integrating codelines ends up costing developers time.

When it comes to making changes and managing workflows, Helix Core offers a flexible branching technology called Streams. Streams simplifies merges with automatic tracking and naming. Developer exploration branches can be merged with ease. Now they can cherry pick and commit only the code that matters, not the entire repo.

Tarsier Studios

Tarsier Studios Steps Up Their Game

Tarsier Studios, an indie game studio in Sweden, was being dragged down by SVN’s slow performance and file checkout confusion. They needed a version control system that could improve visibility into their projects. Teams needed to know what files were checked out and where they were located. With SVN, non-source code binary assets were spread across developer workstations.

With so many large and varied files, Tasier Studio was looking for a reliable tool. With Helix Core, they established one source of truth for all file types. Streams allow developers to work without stepping on each other toes. Now they could work on different versions of the game in parallel without merge concerns.

Gaining visibility into branches helped control the evolution of code, even for large projects. Teams could track changes across code lines. Plus, accessing everything from one system streamlined workflows. Less time spent on code management meant productivity gains and less risk for missing a production deadline.

Helix Core Wins:

  • Ability to manage all developer and designer assets in one place.
  • Increased visibility into a full change history across multiple projects.
  • Streams facilitated parallel development and code collaboration.

“We have invested heavily in establishing the right infrastructure so that our time can be devoted to development work. Using Helix Core is an excellent example of this – we don’t need to think about it; it just works."
Andreas Johnsson, Technical Director, Tarsier Studios
Drake Software

Envisioning a New Way to Develop at Drake Software

As a top-tier tax preparation software for industry tax professionals, Drake Software needed a version control system that could support innovation. Branching and merging with SVN was costing developers time. They needed to manually sift through name changes.

As projects grew, this meant trying to stitch together code with multiple tools. According to Jay Eager, Senior Programmer, “Most companies have flimsy change management policies, but that doesn’t cut it for Drake. We needed something a little more living and breathing.”

With Streams, Drake Software could impose regulations to help manage branches.  Change could be controlled and regulated to a specific development pipeline. With P4Merge, Helix Core’s merge tool, errors were handled quickly. Helix Core did the work to stabilize the code. Teams could keep track of endless changes all with superior performance.

Helix Core Wins:

  • Streams revolutionized development workflows and isolated production releases.
  • Integrations handled merge conflicts and recorded change history, instead of developers.
  • Ease of use eliminated the need for multiple third-party tools.

“Commits, merges, force gets, you name it — in SVN, operations took 15 minutes instead of three with Helix Core.”
Jay Eager, Senior Programmer Drake Software

Speed and Performance Where It Counts

One of the most common complaints with SVN is speed. If developers are waiting to check out their branch or commit changes, they are losing valuable hours. The main culprit for tortoise like performance – SVN’s architecture.

Because SVN branches are just a copy of the directory, developers cannot just download what they need. Instead, they need to copy the entire repo. Syncing and merging are then weighed down as teams and file sizes increase.

Helix Core allows you to select only the essential files. Performance scales to meet the needs of your team and project. Storing metadata in a high-performance database, rather than a million small files, lightens your team’s download.

Hidden Path Entertainment

Hidden Path Boosts Their Game

Hidden Path Entertainment, an independent video game company, needed a system upgrade when they partnered with Valve Software. Integrating their 20 million files into Hidden Path’s current SVN solution slowed down performance. This created a lot of work for IT.

Dealing with so many of files also caused tree scanning to lock up developers’ machines. Valve Software, another Perforce customer, recommended Helix Core. After the switch, teams no longer needed to wait around.

Michael Austin, CTO and co-founder explains, “The performance improvement was palpable. When we had a big project, for somebody to do a checkout about 120 GB and five to six million files, it would take about two hours. When we switched to Helix Core, that get took less than five minutes."

Helix Core Wins:

  • Immediate performance improvements across the enterprise.
  • Scalable solution that handled millions of files with ease.
  • Enhanced automation that lightened the workload for the IT administrator.

“Helix Core was written to be as lightweight as possible, so it puts everything it needs in one directory. There are no hidden files scattered around my computer."
Michael Austin, Hidden Path
ECI Telecom

Power Behind ECI Telecom

ECI Telecom, an optical packet network pioneer, delivers solutions for the telecommunications industry. Handling over 300 developers working in several programming languages meant they needed a high-performance system.

The main requirement – version control that could withstand the stresses of a global development environment.

Open source tools like SVN did not support the demands of an international company. Ravid Brown from ECI Telecom describes, “While cost is important, it is the technical benefits that sold Helix Core to me. For instance, performance gains aren’t just about speed — they enabled us to improve productivity in lots of other ways.”

Along with a boost in performance, ECI Telecom was able to customize and automate parts of version control. This helped dramatically reduce overall cost.

Helix Core Wins:

  • Superior performance with file synchronization taking just 2 - 3 minutes.
  • Enhanced automation with less complexity and more customization options.
  • Return-on-investment in just two years.

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

Auditing Your Data For Compliance

One of the most valuable assets for your company is your Intellectual Property. SVN’s security grants broad permissions across your organization. This makes it difficult to control what users and groups can see and do. Simple access controls leave your organization’s information vulnerable.

Helix Core heightens security by limiting user and group access down to individual files, not just your repos. Support for SSO and multi-factor authentication (MFA) give you ultimate control to secure users and your data.

Online Resources

Online Resources Secures Billions

Online Resources (ORCC), acquired by ACI Worldwide, was developing a bill payment solution. This would serve over 10 million end-users and process $100 billion in annual payments. Working with major financial and credit providers, security was a top priority. They started looking for a version control system that could comply.

SVN wasn’t able to provide the data needed for Online Resources to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC). It also was not able to integrate with the tools they already used.

What set Perforce apart was the ability to surpass security standards and integrate with their existing toolset. Helix Core provided data that allowed managers to discover and highlight irregularities and track changes across development. It was easy to use the data to comply with complex banking regulations.

Helix Core Wins:

  • Strong traceability, reproducibility, and audit capabilities.
  • Integration with tools, including Jira to ensure requirements are met.
  • Responsive and knowledgeable technical support teams.

“We have never had an error, failure, or loss of data on Helix Core.”
Bob Vandehey, Managing Director of Development Online Resources
Multinational Energy Company

Secure Standards at Fortune 100 Multinational Energy Company

When a multinational energy company started customizing their new e-procurement application, they had massive challenges. To create a global solution with dispersed teams, they needed a version control system that could maintain Maintaining Sarabanes-Oxley compliance and promote code collaboration.

SVN wasn’t able to manage all the custom configurations. Without a full audit history and security controls in SVN, the company struggled meet regulations. This was causing delays and outages. Developers were overwriting code and there was no way to enforce access control or track changes.

With Helix Core, the company refined permissions. They could now perform extensive audits and review a comprehensive change history. Placing restrictions on branches resulted in better cooperation and improved workflow. Development was able to adapt quickly to regulation changes and update requirements in real-time.

Helix Core Benefit Summary:

  • Visibility into changes across the organization.
  • Ability to manage everything in one depot, removing silos and promoting collaboration.
  • Enforcing access controls kept development on task and in compliance.

“Coming from where this group was with our previous technology, we’ve improved ten-fold by adopting Perforce.”
Software Engineer, Multinational Energy Company


Companies are under constant pressure to develop better software, faster. For development teams, this means version control that can scale to meet the demands of your expanding teams and projects.

SVN left customers wanting more – faster performance, easier merges, better branching, enhanced security, support for global teams, and more.

This eBook documents our customer’s challenges with SVN and their journey to Helix Core. You might be able to see your own organization in some of these real-life obstacles.

In the words of Jay Eager, Senior Programmer at Drake Software, “Perforce nails rock-solid version control right out of the box with hands down the best performance I’ve seen from any version control product. We pretty much walked out of the Stone Age and into the light.”

Have questions? We can walk you through upgrading your system to Helix Core. It’s easier than you think.

This is part of a
10-post series on SVN.

Learn why SVN users are migrating to Helix Core