Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Advice to a new Perforce administrator

I was mouthing off about Perforce administration the other day, and thought this might be worth sharing with others.

  • Write to Perforce support directly. They're very helpful, even when you haven't yet bought the software. They will be willing to arrange an evaluation license so that you can install and try out the software on your own machines ahead of time.

  • Make sure you use a Linux or Solaris server; do NOT use a Windows server! Perforce handles Windows clients just fine, but the server does vastly better on Linux.

  • Perforce loves physical memory. We have 32 GB of memory on our Perforce server, and when we upgraded it from 16 GB a few years back it made a BIG difference. I have read that large sites routinely run Perforce on machines with 256 GB of memory, even more. But you can increase the memory over time; when we started out we had just 4 GB of memory and for the first 18 months that was fine. But memory is cheap.

  • Perforce doesn't need much special disk or CPU hardware. You'll need enough disk to hold all the data that you want to store in Perforce, plus some extra to take backups, etc. You can add disk space over time without any special procedures needed. Use a RAID configuration if you can to add an extra level of protection. Perforce is VERY CPU efficient. Give the machine a good network hookup if you can as it spends a lot of time transmitting data to the clients. I think we have about 100 GB of disk on our machine.

  • I'm very attentive to the backups. Currently we back up once a week, although for years we backed up daily. Have a good close look at http://perforce.com/perforce/doc.091/manuals/p4sag/02_backup.html#1043336. All I did was to implement that procedure. The duration of the backup basically depends on the amount of data you have, so it tends to grow over time; when you start the backup won't take much time at all so you can run it routinely. Oh, and test your backup (do a test restore) before you go live! You can also find a bunch of other contributed backup scripts in the Perforce public depot.

  • Browse through the user papers from the Perforce user conferences at http://www.perforce.com/perforce/conferences/. There are lots of good 'real world experience' presentations there about what various Perforce sites have experienced.

Good luck, and let me know how Perforce worked for you!

1 comment:

  1. If you have so much material that performing a backup is negatively affecting your uptime, you can implement offline checkpoints: