View Expiration

Our client requires that we standardize on using IBM Rational Clearcase for source code control. This product seems to have more power than our previous source code control software (PVCS Version Manager). But with great power sometimes comes great complexity. In other words, some things that were easy before have become more complicated. Some of these complications are caused by the Clearcase system administrators. Unfortunately the administrators are not the local configuration management guys on our project. They are enterprise wide. That adds all kinds of difficulty when things go wrong.

I will give you a concrete example. We create views to access different version of source control we keep in Clearcase. Some views I use every day. Many views are accessed infrequently. The administrators have put in a policy where views not accessed in the last 30 days get disabled, and then get deleted after 60 days. This is a reasonable policy. If you do not use a view, there is no real need to waste disk space. However the implementation of the disabling and deleting is broken. When I do not access my view frequently, the view gets corrupted by an automated expiration program.

So I find myself unable to recreate views I need infrequently. I then have to submit a trouble ticket. For some reason I have found that my trouble tickets remain unserviced for weeks unless I start making calls and escalating the bad service. This is no way to live as a developer. So the last time this happened, I hit up the administrator as to how he fixed the problem. He showed me that the viewed were stored in a certain directory on the network. When the view gets corrupted, he just renames the directory that corresponds to my view name. Then I am able to recreate the view through the normal process.

I have already used this trick to "fix" views that had been corrupted by the administrator policy. We had it good in the PVCS Version Manager days. I never had to deal with nonsense like this. At times I wish we could go back to simpler days. The fault does not lie with the IBM Rational Product itself. It is the organization that has erroneously implemented an enterprise policy that has created problem for me and my team. Their poor customer service only adds to the problem. It would be great if I could act like a normal consumer and fire this organization, replacing them with someone better. Too bad I do not have the clout at this time to do this for my entire customer organization. But if I had my way, we would be showing some teams the door.