Perforce Case Study - National Instruments


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Solution Summary
National Instruments not only uses Perforce for software and hardware engineering activities, but also relies on the flexible SCM solution for a variety of applications in diverse departments such as IT operations, web development, documentation, language localization, customer education, and the sales/marketing departments. NI uses Perforce to store source code and digital assets such as binary files and Word documents

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Perforce Case Study - National Instruments

  1. 1. www.perforce.comPERFORCE CUSTOMERCASE STUDY“We selected Perforce SCM based on four key factors: speed, ease ofuse, flexibility, and cost.” - Steve Lysohir, Perforce Administrator, National InstrumentsSteve Lysohir is a Perforce Administrator at NationalInstruments. Jeff Mery is the Systems Administrator at Development Environment at a GlanceNational Instruments. Headquarters Austin, TexasSolution Summary IndustryNational Instruments not only uses Perforce for Data acquisition and instrument controlsoftware and hardware engineering activities, butalso relies on the flexible SCM solution for a variety Type of applicationof applications in diverse departments such as Development of software and hardware productsIT operations, web development, documentation, Perforce customer sincelanguage localization, customer education, and the 1998sales/marketing departments. NI uses Perforce tostore source code and digital assets such as binary Client platformsfiles and Word documents. Windows, UNIX, Linux and Mac clients Server platforms Intel x86 servers running Windows NT, WindowsCustomer Profile 2000, Windows Server 2003, and LinuxHeadquartered in Austin, Texas, National Instruments NetApp storage products usedhas more than 3,400 employees and direct operations NetApp® FAS940c storage clusterin approximately 40 countries around the world.Leveraging the PC and its related technologies, Number of usersNational Instruments virtual instrumentation solutions Approximately 1,000increase productivity and lower costs through easy-to- Number of concurrent usersintegrate software, such as the NI LabVIEW graphical 500 to 600 on the largest server; up to 100,000development environment, and modular hardware, total commands per day on the largest serversuch as PXI modules for data acquisition, instrument Number of development sitescontrol, and machine vision. 6: Austin, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Mountain View, Calif.; India, China, and GermanyThe Challenge: Fragmented SCM and The Perforce ProxyStorage Infrastructure Used in India, Germany, and Dallas, Texas officesThe company was using a number of different SCM Languages usedplatforms, including Microsoft Visual SourceSafe(VSS), C/C++, Assembly, LabVIEW, and others (JAVA,ClearCase, and various open-source SCM solutions. PL/SQL, etc.)As the company’s development requirements grewwith six separate development facilities spread around Type of files stored in Perforcethe globe, the need to standardize on one cross- C/C++ and large binaries (JAVA, PL/SQL,platform SCM system became evident. Project Docs, etc.) Number of files under source controlAdditionally, National Instruments had been using a More than 5 millionvariety of direct-attached storage (DAS) devices. As Perforce repository sizethe organization’s data demands continued to grow, More than 500 GB of files, 18 GB databasehowever, a better, more strategic storage solution
  2. 2. was needed. “What we needed was a consolidated be expanded independently of the computerstorage solution that could keep up with our growing infrastructure. New hardware can be implementedSCM data requirements,” explained Jeff Mery, systems easily and quickly—and storage capacity can beadministrator for National Instruments. expanded without downtime. Equally important to the company are the power andThe Solution: Standardize on Perforce performance of the Perforce SCM solution. “We haveand Network Appliance Clustered been very impressed with how well Perforce has beenStorage Solutions able to handle our extensive distributed and concurrent“We selected Perforce SCM based on four key development environment,” continued Lysohir.factors: speed, ease of use, flexibility, and cost,” “We calculate that we’re averaging about 100,000explained Steve Lysohir, Perforce administrator at commands per 24-hour period on our main server.”National Instruments. “At first, we used Perforceprimarily for software development, but today we are In particular, National Instruments has been impressedusing it as an enterprise-wide solution in a number of by the product’s robust branching capabilities.different departments. We are also starting to deploy “With Perforce’s powerful branching features, wethe solution on the hardware side of our business.” can manage multiple software releases,” added Lysohir. “When we migrated to the high-performanceNational Instruments not only uses Perforce for NetApp FAS cluster, we decided to take anothersoftware and hardware engineering activities, but look at alternative storage solutions,” explained Mery.also relies on the flexible SCM solution for a variety “We conducted a series of benchmark tests andof applications in diverse departments such as were pleased to confirm that the NetApp systemsIT operations, web development, documentation, outperformed all the other solutions we were lookinglanguage localization, customer education, and the at.”sales/marketing departments. NI uses Perforce tostore source code and digital assets such as binary National Instruments decision to integrate NetApp intofiles and Word documents. its Perforce solutions has been very successful, not only from a performance standpoint, but also from a“Perforce is one of the most important software reliability standpoint. “The simple fact is, our NetAppapplications in use at National Instruments today,” systems rarely go down,” said Mery. “And that’semphasized Lysohir. This critical application required extremely important for a company such as ours. Fora highly flexible and robust storage platform. The example, the time right before a product release is acompany found that the flexibility and modularity of very critical time period. If we lose data at this crucialNetwork Appliance™ unified storage solutions offered juncture, we might miss out on our market windowthe high performance and large capacity options that altogether.”their geographically distributed product developmentenvironments required. National Instruments initially And when it comes to service and support, Lysohirdeployed clustered NetApp storage systems to had this to say: “Perforce support has simply beensupport its Perforce environment and later upgraded to excellent. They’ve been able to expertly handle anythinga NetApp fabric-attached storage (FAS) cluster. Today, and everything we’ve thrown at them.”90 percent of all file serving throughout the entirecompany is handled by NetApp storage. The Bottom Line Together, Perforce and NetApp are assistingBusiness Benefits: An Easy Yet National Instruments in increasing performance andPowerful Solution throughput, boosting development productivity, andFlexibility and ease of use are very important reducing administrative overhead to the point that theconsiderations for the company. “With so many company requires just a single SCM administrator.different groups relying daily on Perforce, we really The net result for National Instruments has been theappreciate the flexibility of the system,” continued lowering of overall development costs coupled withLysohir. “Each group typically has its own unique accelerated time-to-market for the company’s virtualrequirements and development methodologies. instrumentation solutions.Because Perforce is flexible and easily customizablewith scripts, it readily accommodates each group’s “With Perforce, our company has been able to improvedevelopment style. The system’s open architecture our development process across the board,” concludedhas turned out to be a value for us.” As performance Mery. “And thanks to NetApp, we’ve been able toand capacity needs continue to grow, the National increase data reliability, availability, and scalability.”Instruments NetApp storage infrastructure can Copyright © 2007 Perforce Software Inc. All rights reserved. All trademarks used herein are either trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Please visit our website for more information: