Configuration Version Control


Thread Starter

Robert Bronson

Is anyone using software development version control packages like Merant's
PVCS Version Manager or Microsoft's SourceSafe to manage configuration
files? I am aware of fxManager from Total-Control. Is this package useful
for multiple fie types. Here's some background.

I recently put together a company (oil & gas) spec requiring that all files
associated with configuration, i.e., configuration, procedures, and other
I&CS documentation be maintained in a "software vault" located on a
workgroup server. The vault would be used for PLC, RTU, compressor control
and any other PES that is at the plant or in the field. Read, write access
would be assigned at a folder level. During a workshop to roll out the new
spec there was a request for librarian like functions to help in the
administration of the vault.

Any feedback is appreciated.

Michael Griffin

We happen to be working on a similar project. There is software from several companies which is intended for keeping track of engineering drawings, programs, documents, etc. (any files). These programs were originally developed to help engineering departments keep track of their CAD drawings, and were expanded from there.
Features of these programs can include work flow management (basically automating the engineering change approval process), and special user programs which help you to find the files you are looking for. You really need to see a demo to understand what I am talking about, so I won’t go into any more details.
We have been seriously looking at Motiva from Autodesk (Autocad). There are other products available as well, although I don’t recall the names of them. The larger ones are intended to manage all the product design files (drawings, specs, bills of material, etc.) for a global company, so they can get quite complex. You might even be using one already somewhere in your company to keep track of product related (i.e. geological) data.
The systems all seem to consist of server software which stores the files, configuration software which sets the system up (lets you decide who can do what), and client software which lets you check the files in and out. The trend seems to be for the client systems to be web based so the users don’t need to have special software installed on their individual PCs.
The Motiva product we have been looking at seems to work rather well for the small scale we have been considering (several gigabytes of files). I should warn you though that I don’t think you are going to do very much for less than $50,000. I’ll also warn you to not under estimate the amount of work involved in properly evaluating and installing a system - although if you have a lot of files (drawings, programs, etc.) it should save you a lot of work in the long run.

Michael Griffin
London, Ont. Canada

Thomas Nguyen

I have used both PVCS and MS Visual SourceSafe. PVCS is OK except that its Windows version of the software is kind of flaky. I am currently using MS Visual SourceSafe and, so far, I am happy with it.
I believe any of the above packages can handle different file types just fine.

Lead Software Engineer
Orthodyne Electronics
Hello Robert,

There are two commercial software packages that I am familiar with that can provide the features you are looking for. As you suggested FxManager from Total-Control ( is one, the other is MASS from MDT (
For wide ranging platform and file support I would strongly reccomend the MASS product from MDT.
If you would like more info on either product please e-mail me directly.
Bradley G. Hite
Intertech Inc.

Albion Zeglin

If you are using a Windows platform for your development also check out StarTeam by Starbase Corp.

It is stabler than SourceSafe in my experience and easier to use. It also has a nicer interface and if you
go for the enterprise version you can use StarDisk which works within window explorer to allow you to
work on a virtual disk volume. You can also try it out free for 30 days first which is a real plus if you are
unsure. Oh, and it also has a web interface available. You will want to run it on a NT workstation or Server
to hold the database, but the clients can be either Win9x, NT or Java Browers (Web interface).

If you are using Unix or Linux check out CVS, you can get professional support from SourceGear Corporation.