Helix Core Review

We moved all our collaborative storage into the solution’s servers.

What is most valuable?

  • We moved all our collaborative storage into Perforce servers. It fits our types of assets (big size, mostly binaries).
  • Perforce is very fast, even for very huge assets.

What needs improvement?

  • The branching strategy of helix is still too technical to handle for a non-technical user, like a graphic artist.
  • The concept of workspace is hard to acquire at first. Users naturally would like it to be more transparent to configure.
  • Desynchronization was one of our most frequent issues.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have not been many stability issues. Many of the instabilities came from our own infrastructure.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are scalability issues when there is too much traffic, such as when there are extremely huge amount of calls by APIs.

In these cases, the server responds slowly. This happens for particularly old servers.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support was almost perfect, both for user support and for system administrators.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Like most of the companies of my industry, we used Microsoft SourceSafe before this solution. We are still using DVCS solutions, but we didn't switch to Perforce DVCS yet.

How was the initial setup?

Server-side and user-side, there was an inevitable learning curve, particularly in terms of workspace handling.

You have to ask these questions:

  • How do I create it?
  • Why are the files read-only?
  • How can I avoid the desynchronization?

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

For small companies and students, the free limited user version can work. (It used to be for 20 users, and now it is for five users).

Otherwise, it's still possible to keep using an older version of the server with no support. In this way, you can avoid the high cost of the per-user, per-year licensing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The Hg-Git DVCS solution was an alternative. Alienbrain Asset Management for Artists was also a serious concurrent.

What other advice do I have?

Use a Linux server and get good training at the beginning to minimize newbie mistakes.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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