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CollabNet Bolsters ALM Platform, Teams with VMware

CollabNet, one of the leading independent distributed application lifecycle management (ALM) suppliers, today released a new version of its ALM platform, adding support for cloud provisioning and upgraded Subversion and lab management.

Emphasizing its focus on collaborative application development over dispersed teams, the company has renamed the SourceForge Enterprise offering to TeamForge. Officials at CollabNet said the new TeamForge 5.2 also comes with the Hudson continuous integration engine via an agile-ready plug-in.

CollabNet is the sponsor of the open source Subversion project, a version control platform for software configuration management (SCM). The company has become a leading alternative supplier of SCM tools to the likes of Microsoft's Visual SourceSafe (VSS) and Team Foundation Server (TFS) and IBM Rational's ClearCase. But there are also numerous other SCM suppliers, including Serena PVCS, Borland StarTeam, CA Harvest, MKS Integrity, and namesake solutions from Perforce and AccuRev.

Officials at CollabNet say 700 enterprises now use TeamForge for SCM, including Deutsche Bank, Oracle and Reuters. The U.S. Department of Defense also announced a large contract with CollabNet last fall.

According to Forrester Research, a growing number of organizations are using tools based on CollabNet's Subversion. Its survey last quarter of 479 application developers in the Americas found 23 percent use Subversion as one of their SCM tools. By comparison, 39 percent said they use VSS, 23 percent use TFS and 29 percent use ClearCase. Subversion is even more popular in Europe, according to Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond.

"Technically, I think CollabNet's offerings are very strong and they are in a great position to capitalize on Subversion's increasing adoption in IT shops," Hammond said. "CollabNet's key challenge is building awareness among developers and development managers about how they help teams that have already made the leap to Subversion be even more productive."

The upgraded Subversion management in TeamForge 5.2 includes more granular central controls. With improved application space permissions, project administrators can drill into specific branches of code and allow access based on rules. For example, internal developers may be able to see all of the code while an outsourcing contractor may only be able to see code they are working on, said Richard Murray, CollabNet's vice president of engineering.

With the rise of agile development, CollabNet has also added a virtual lab management feature to TeamForge that lets developers provision system servers on their own, allowing them to designate and change profiles which they can provision on physical or virtual infrastructure. Developers can provision them onto CollabNet's OnDemand cloud, Amazon's EC2 or their own private clouds.

"What we see with agile development is the demand for continuous build and test, which in turn is generating demand for servers," Murray said. "Our cloud provisioning and our lab management solution is all about provisioning and building test servers."

The addition of Hudson, an open source continuous integration engine popular among development teams that use agile methodologies, will allow developers to provision and access software builds from the various cloud infrastructures, Murray added.

The company also announced a pact with virtualization vendor VMware to provide a compatible development environment for building applications in both public and private clouds. Under that agreement, the two will ensure that VMware Studio, a platform for building custom virtual appliances based on the Open Virtualization Format, works with the newly released TeamForge, according to Murray.

"Part of the vision here is we provide an on-ramp to cloud services where VMware Studio Console takes an application that's been developed and makes an appliance that goes into a cloud," Murray said.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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