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One area of research we're very focused on at Methodics is optimizing the creation of user workspaces, both in terms of speed and disk space. Some of our customers have upwards of 80GB in their workspaces and this can take a very long time to sync using Subversion, Perforce, Git and the other DM tools we've integrated into our IP and Data Management platform. We've gone some way to addressing this using our fast workspace manager "BuildIC", which manages a central IP cache (actually any kind of block but lets assume an IP for the purposes of this discussion) that is shared by users at a particular site and can be referenced for read only blocks in the workspace. This means that only the subset of data you actually need to edit is carried in the user workspace and visible by DM sync operations, a big improvement in most situations.. This feature is discussed in our Correct by Construction Workspaces white paper.

We've recently started working with Netapp on a slightly different technique for creating user workspaces. This uses Netapp's FlexClone data provisioning technology and we've seen some really excellent results in creating large workspaces. we've found that 100GB workspaces can be created in under a minute on NFS based network infrastructure compared with perhaps hours using standard Subversion/Perforce operations. Perforce have started using this technique themselves and have been recommending it to their hardware design, games development customers and others. Anyone that has large workspace requirements can really benefit from this.

Here at Methodics, we've taken this one step further and are building this technology directly into ProjectIC (our DM and IP management platform). Now from ProjectIC we can build workspaces that leverage Netapp's technology seamlessly and give users massive performance improvements, cool stuff!

We'll have a Netapp machine in our suite and DAC next week and will be demoing all of the above. I hope you can join us.

Some reference materials: