"We estimate AccuRev has increased our productivity by 30%. Updates which would take 10-15 minutes in ClearCase are taking just seconds with AccuRev."
Technical Project Manager
Microlistics is a global provider of warehouse management systems, configured by supply chain experts. It takes pride in being considered an industry leader of supply chain execution, ensuring distribution environments are robust yet responsive to market demands.
Microlistics supports 60 leading international clients, based across the globe. The release schedule for its flagship warehouse management solution is completely customer-led and as a result different customers run different versions and are in different stages of a development lifecycle.
To manage this complex development process individually for its customers, Microlistics is heavily dependent on a software configuration solution to help accelerate the development process. It used IBM Rational ClearCase for this, but as the business grew, and requirements became more complex, this had its limitations, as Ed Kovalev, Technical Project Manager for Microlistics, explains: “It was difficult for us to manage parallel releases because they were deployed at different times and ClearCase struggled with the management of this. It was also very time consuming to make fixes on older releases because of ClearCase’s poor capability to trace previous builds. We couldn’t easily roll back and find historical information and so often ended up starting again and creating new integration streams which caused significant duplication of effort and wasted time.
In a bid to move to a more modern technology platform, we wanted to upgrade our environment from Windows XP to Windows 7, but we found our ClearCase version was not compatible with Windows 7. Facing upgrade costs anyway, we decided to broaden our search and evaluate other solutions as well.”
The new ClearCase version was found to be too cumbersome and expensive. Microlistics also looked at Git, an open source option in this area. However, that was ruled out as the functionality didn’t match the preferred way of working.
After a technical evaluation of Micro Focus AccuRev, Microlistics found it to have the functionality it needed, but with much more added capability, wrapped in a leaner, more modern look-and-feel. Kovalev on why AccuRev fit the bill: “We like to work in streams and we found the AccuRev stream capability to be superior to anything else we saw on the market."
Streams provide the basic ability for isolation and parallel development like branches, but eliminate the headaches associated with today’s branching and merging. Streams understand relationships, which enables code to be naturally inherited and as a result, eliminates the overhead of manually merging. The Microlistics development team has the ability to visually model and manage its entire software development process using streams.
Kovalev on how AccuRev works in practice: “AccuRev’s ability to use an unlimited number of streams and files in a parallel development environment is really paying dividends for us. Full version roll-back gives us the security net we hope we won’t need, and the flexible project management provides us with full visibility. We plan to use JIRA as our defect tracking solution, so having the built-in JIRA integration in AccuRev is a big bonus for us.”
Having implemented AccuRev, the release management process has been streamlined with better visibility for build managers, and ultimately more confidence in the resulting releases.
The move from ClearCase to AccuRev meant Microlistics could retire its XP machines and upgrade to a more cost-effective and modern environment, reducing overall risk to the business.
Being able to easily and quickly track fixes in historical releases with AccuRev improves the efficiency of the development cycle, according to Kovalev: “We estimate AccuRev has increased our productivity by 30%. Updates which would take 10-15 minutes in ClearCase are taking just seconds with AccuRev. We also find it easier and faster to compare baselines with AccuRev. The nature of agile software development is such that we need to do emergency fixes a couple of times a month. This could take half a day with ClearCase. It now only takes an hour with AccuRev."
He concludes: “Our clients are key to our success. We needed a solution to help us maintain and develop software on our client’s behalf. Being able to maintain parallel development and merge historical projects or keep them isolated depending on the client’s wishes, is a big benefit for us. AccuRev gives us full control over our release schedule and enables our team to be more responsive to business requirements, while saving costs and increasing productivity.”