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ClearCase

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The largest group meeting so far! The 20th of January we gathered 48 people to listen to three presentations about ClearCase implementations. The interest for ClearCase seems more intense than ever and RAIN has never had so many visitors to a group meeting before. Three speakers were on the program:

ClearCase/MultiSite case study

 

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Morgan Eriksson

Email: Morgan.Eriksson@ehpt.com

Morgan said that he would rather have a dialog with the audience instead of a regular presentation. He started with a SHORT presentation of Ericsson Hewlett Packard (EHPT) before describing the environment they work in. We got a good view of how you can use MultiSite to connect different sites in a star formed network. The environment included 3 sites running ClearCase on HP-UX with 30 developers. They tried to set up a MultiSite link to the Hewlett Packard site in India, but the firewalls at Ericsson put an end to those plans.

Initially they tried to design a common ClearCase environment, but the design work differs too much to make that possible. The part that Morgan works in migrated from RCS to ClearCase about 1 year ago. The introduction was not without problems. It took about 8 months to get the environment they wanted implemented in all projects. Other problems at EHPT has been how to handle 3rd party products. Now, some of them are handled in ClearCase, others are handled by the IS/IT department.

The support responsibility is often a big issue when introducing ClearCase. Who should be responsible for what? At EHPT, the IS/IT department does the ClearCase administration. Each project then has an appointed CM that handles the VOB administration in the project and act as an interface to the IS/IT department. Morgan estimated the time for supporting developers in ClearCase related issues to about 8 hours per week.

Morgan wants to improve the environment by adding routines for handling documents in ClearCase, add one site to the MultiSite network, adding build support for different platforms and to spread out the CM competence to more people in the organisation.

Branching philosophy

 

 

 

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Lennart Larsson

Email: Lennart.Larsson@emw.ericsson.se

Lennart Larsson is a true ClearCase guru with hands on experiences since 1994. He works as the application support responsible for Ericsson Microwave (EMW) in Mölndal. Lennart has an interesting presentation technique with a lot of hand moving involved. He is very intense and engaged in his work and it is obvious that he is proud of what he is doing. With all rights of course.

With large products, parallel development and long product life cycles, release handling and version tree handling is not an easy task, but Lennart has really been digging deep into this subject. To be able to handle these large version trees, EMW is using a function in ClearCase called "Obsolete branches" to get rid of branches that are not used/valid any more. Development takes place on a development branch and is then merged into the valid maintenance branch. Take a close look at Lennarts slides to get a graphical view of how it works.

When working with MultiSite, branching must be handled slightly different. The reason is that you can only work in a branch that is created at your own site. This means that only one site has access to the main branch. So to make all sites work in the same way, the main branch should be used very rarely. EMW is also working with incremental development processes. To give each increment its own branch is not a revolutionary idea, but to make the method of obsolete branches work, all increment branches should origin from the main branch (again, take a look at Lennarts slides).

 

Lennarts main advises for branching in ClearCase are:

  • Create a branching strategy
  • Consider R-state (release versions) handling
  • Consider the release philosophy
  • Create templates for configuration specifications
  • Use obsolete branches

Common usage model

 

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Ulf Andersson

Email: uanderss@rational.com

Subtitle of Ulfs presentation was "Using ClearCase and a change process". Common usage model is a set of routines and role descriptions to use in a ClearCase environment. The model suits well with the new version of RUP (former know as ROP) and has shown to useful for small and mid sized organisations that lacks of formalised routines around configuration management.

I know I was not the only one smiling when Ulf said that "RUP is a CM standard next to IEEE and SEI... Well, soon it is". We were also reminded that CM is a rather new discipline when Ulf asked "How many of you have been working as configuration managers................ for 7 years or more?". The need for routines should not be underestimated, especially when introducing a new tool like ClearCase. Check out Ulfs presentation as well to get more information about the Common usage model.

 

The end

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With this big interest for ClearCase and configuration management, I hope we can arrange a new group meeting with a similar theme again soon. CU then! 

/Christian Pendleton

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