Tips for Managing an SVN or Git to Perforce Migration

Jonathan Lowe Global Account Executive at Assembla
Jonathan Lowe
Last updated on November 9, 2023

Migrating from one version control system (VCS) to another can be a challenge. Before diving into the process, it’s helpful to understand why dev teams consider switching from popular VCSs like Git or SVN to Perforce. We’ll provide valuable tips and insights for a successful migration, along with the advantages of using Assembla for managed cloud hosting of Perforce. Let’s make this transition a breeze!

Why Migrate Your Version Control System?

Migrating your VCS can bring numerous benefits and address specific needs within your software development workflow. Here are a few reasons why companies may consider migrating:

Perforce vs Git

Perforce offers unique features and capabilities that may entice organizations to migrate from Git. Some common reasons include:

  • Scalability: Unlike Git, Perforce handles large codebases efficiently and provides version control for binary files, making it an ideal choice for game development, virtual production, semiconductor design and other dev teams dealing with large file sizes. 
  • Security and compliance: It additionally provides powerful access controls and encryption options, ensuring the protection of valuable intellectual property.
  • Fine-grained versioning: Perforce also has powerful versioning capabilities, allowing developers to track and manage changes at the file level.
  • File locking: If your team frequently encounters issues with Git’s unreliable file locking feature (accessible through the LFS module), Perforce’s built-in file locking system will provide significant improvements.
  • Ease of use: Artists and non-engineers on the team generally find Perforce easier to use for versioning and submitting assets compared to Git.

Perforce vs SVN

Migrating from SVN to Perforce can be driven by various factors, such as:

  • Advanced branching and merging: Perforce excels in managing branching and merging operations, enabling teams to work on multiple code streams simultaneously with ease.
  • Performance and speed: Perforce’s architecture is designed for high performance, allowing for faster checkouts and commits compared to SVN.
  • Flexible workflows: It also grants teams customizable workflows to fit their specific development procedures and enable efficient collaboration.

Tips for Moving to Perforce Helix Core

To ensure a smooth transition to Perforce Helix Core, it’s important to follow these tips and best practices for a successful migration. 

  1. Conduct an audit: First, thoroughly analyze your existing version control system (VCS) to understand the dependencies, branches, and historical data that will need to be migrated. This analysis will help you develop a clear grasp of the scope and complexity of the migration project.
  2. Plan the migration: Once you have a comprehensive insight into your VCS, create a detailed migration plan that includes timelines, resource allocation, and communication strategies. A well-defined plan will help you stay organized and make sure that all necessary steps are taken during the migration. 
  3. Test your plan: Before executing the migration, it’s highly recommended to test the steps in a controlled environment. This allows you to identify any potential issues or conflicts and address them proactively. 
  4. Train the team: Lastly, provide adequate training on Perforce Helix Core to all team members involved in the migration. Proper training will familiarize them with the new VCS and its features, helping them adapt quickly and minimizing disruptions to their workflows.

Git to Perforce Migration

Performing a migration from Git to Perforce requires meticulous planning and a systematic approach to make certain you have a successful transition. Here are some steps that will help guide you through the process:

  1. Map the structures: First, map the Git repository structure to Perforce’s depot structure by analyzing the Git repository’s branches and tags, and determining the corresponding structure in Perforce’s depot. 
  2. Determine configuration: Next, determine the desired Perforce workspace configuration, specifying the mapping of Perforce depots to local directories on developers’ machines. 
  3. Export history: Once the structure is specified, export the Git repository history while preserving commit messages, authors, and timestamps using migration tools like ‘git2p4’ or ‘git-p4’. 
  4. Convert formats: Convert the exported history into a compatible format for Perforce and import it, ensuring the integrity and accuracy of the commit history. 
  5. Determine access: Set up appropriate access controls and branch structures in Perforce to match your desired workflow, including defining access permissions and configuring branch policies. 
  6. Conduct tests: Test and validate the migration by thoroughly testing the migrated data and verifying the accuracy of commit messages and branch structures. 
  7. Train the team: Finally, provide training and support to the development team, helping them familiarize themselves with Perforce’s Helix Core and the new version control workflow. By following these steps, you can make a smooth and successful migration from Git to Perforce.

SVN to Perforce Migration

For a successful SVN to Perforce migration, a careful and systematic approach is essential. Here is a general guide to help you and your team:

  1. Audit your repository: First, conduct a thorough analysis of your SVN repository to identify the existing branch, tag, and trunk structures that need to be migrated to Perforce. Understanding the repository’s structure is crucial for mapping it effectively to Perforce’s depot structure. 
  2. Convert formats: Next, utilize migration tools such as ‘p4convert’ to convert the SVN repository to a Perforce-compatible format. These tools help preserve the version history, metadata, and other relevant information during the migration process. 
  3. Test the migration: Finally, it is important to validate the migrated data by performing test migrations and verifying the integrity of the codebase. This ensures that all files and their associated histories have been accurately transferred to Perforce. 

Complex migrations require experienced engineers. Customers on the Assembla Perforce Enterprise plan have the option to enlist our DevOps engineers to perform migrations from Subversion or Git to Helix Core.

Managed Perforce Cloud Hosting with Assembla

We offer managed cloud hosting solutions for Perforce, empowering teams to focus on their core development activities while leaving the infrastructure management to the experts. Benefits of Assembla’s managed Perforce hosting include:

  • Scalable and secure hosting environments tailored to your project’s requirements.
  • Global accessibility with low-latency connections for distributed teams.
  • Enhanced collaboration and project management features to streamline workflows.
  • Integration capabilities with popular development tools and services.

Perforce Cloud

Our Perforce Cloud plan is a managed cloud hosting service that provides a secure and scalable environment for your Perforce repositories. With features like advanced access controls, enterprise-grade security, and expert support, Perforce Cloud Pro provides the highest reliability and performance for your version control needs.

Perforce Cloud Enterprise 

Our Perforce Cloud Enterprise plan is a comprehensive managed hosting solution for enterprise-level organizations. It provides additional customization options, dedicated resources, and enhanced security features to meet the specific requirements of large-scale projects.

Start a Free Trial Today

If you want to experience the benefits of managed Perforce cloud hosting for your version control needs, contact us to start a free trial with Assembla today and streamline your development processes. Explore the efficiency, scalability, and security offered by Assembla’s managed Perforce hosting solutions, and take your software development to the next level.

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Jonathan Lowe Global Account Executive at Assembla
Jonathan Lowe
Jonathan is the Global Account Executive at Assembla.

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