IBM Rational ClearCase Review

I appreciate the MultiSite feature.


What is most valuable?

I really appreciate the MultiSite feature. It is important to us due to the global nature of our company. My team supports developers using ClearCase in at least ten locations world-wide.

How has it helped my organization?

For years, it was the only solution for a global organization.

What needs improvement?

Platform support could be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for 16 years as a tools administrator and as an SCM in-house consultant.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

From time to time, we have some stability pains. In general, it works fine for what it does.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Given enough horsepower and the infrastructure, due to how it works, we have not encountered any scalability issues as such.

However, performance seems to have slipped somewhat, as features are added between versions. This is typical application bloat, I suppose.

How is customer service and technical support?

IBM's support of ClearCase is slipping. As they move to newer solutions, they are often stretched thin. However, they have some really good people.

Which solutions did we use previously?

My team, at the time, used TrueChange.

Other teams used other tools, like SVN and Perforce.

ClearCase was the global tool in Motorola when they bought our company, so multi-sited teams switched over, for the most part.

How was the initial setup?

  • Setting up and supporting a ClearCase installation requires experience. Since it works so closely with the O/S, system administration knowledge is needed.
  • I would insist on IBM training or close coaching for a new tool admin.
  • ClearCase should be a site based solution, and not a project based solution.
  • It should have one team to support the backend (servers and backups). In this way, the development teams can focus on how they use it, instead of how it works.

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

ClearCase is not cheap. However, it has global support behind it. Generally, once you have "enough" floating licenses, you can support far more developers than you have licenses for, especially if you set up global license servers.

At my site, at the time, 60 licenses were more than enough for over 200 users.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Our usage goes back almost twenty years, so this question is probably not relevant anymore. The company that bought us was heavily vested in ClearCase, so that is what we did.

What other advice do I have?

Examine your needs. Once you decide to go with it, get training before setting up the infrastructure (servers, storage).

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