What are the differences between an SCM and Rational Asset Manager?

July 19, 2008

Christina Lau recently wrote about how Source Configuration Management systems are very different than Asset management systems. I thought since this question comes up occasionally with our developer users I thought I would also write about it. An Asset can be Zero, One or more Artifacts are at a point that you want to make them available broadly in a community. Or you may simply want to store to keep track of metadata about the asset without ever reusing it. In cases where you want to share them you likely may want to broker them between an asset producer and consumer. In these situations it might be worth adding some governance to manage that interaction. Things like requiring an asset be reviewed, notifying consumers of changes and providing secure access to only certain activities associated with the asset. When publishing the asset you may consider modes for publishing versions of that asset. Will there only ever by a single version of that asset that you simply keep replacing with updated releases or will you add new versions to the asset versions that are already available. Rational Asset Manager allows you to share, find and govern assets. Part of the governance includes the ability to version assets. Versioning of assets is at a different level than versioning artifacts. For those that come from a SCM background you can think of asset versioning as a human readable version number that is simply a baseline of a set of artifact versions. Like RAM version v7.1 ear file asset is really made up of many artifacts each have their own versions. RAM provides Asset Versioning. SCM Systems provide artifact versioning. Here are some other differences between and SCM system and Rational Asset Manager.

Capability SCM (ClearCase, CVS, Subversion) Asset Repository
Primary roles Developers Business Analysts, Developers, Architects, Managers, Anyone in the enterprise
Content level Files Assets – an asset can contain multiple related artifacts (files) and associated metadata
Change rate Frequent – work in progress, parallel development Rare – hardened reusable components
Collaboration For creation of artifacts and parallel development For creation of assets. 2 Asset modes. Single published asset version that is replaced or multiple asset versions. Review and reuse of assets: discussion forums, emails, notification, RSS feeds
Taxonomy N/A BPM asset types and relationships. Customers can add additional classification
Search File based Metadata based search, custom metadata attributes
Metrics N/A Track asset usage, feedback and popularity
Review and approval Change management Review boards, customizable review process
Asset types, relationships and Impact Analysis None Recognize BPM asset types and relationship. Help with end-to-end traceability including production deployment
Versioning Done at source files level Done at asset level. An asset can contain multiple files
Client Access Eclipse Both Eclipse and Web

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