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Polarion Unveils ALM 3.0 Open Source App

Polarion has released a new version of its application lifecycle management (ALM) solution, which features the use of open source components and tools. The Polarion ALM 3.0 product is designed to help organizations track software development projects and collaborate better, regardless of location.

One of the benefits of using open source-based systems for companies is to avoid being locked into a single vendor's solution. Polarion pulled together several open source components into its ALM solution, including Subversion for version control, Apache server technology, Open API for Website interaction technologies, OpenSymphony as the workflow management engine and the Eclipse integrated development environment.

Version 3.0 of Polarion's ALM features a number of improvements, according to Frank Schröder, Polarion's CEO.

  • The solution can be implemented for Web 2.0-AJAX interactions.
  • Version 3.0 has a role-based interface for more focused interaction, depending on the user's role in a project.
  • The solution uses a fully integrated Wiki application to facilitate collaboration among teams around the world.
  • Process support for methodologies such as XP and Scrum has been added.
  • Integration of the solution is facilitated via the use of Open API for Web service support.

Polarion was founded in 2003 and the company released its first product at the end of 2005. About 12 months ago, Polarion started operations in the United States. The company also works with partners to extend its reach around the globe.

Polarion's core founders worked for more than 20 years in the software development industry, focusing on version control management, change management, and requirements management, so they "really know this engineering market," Schröder said.

The company's use of open source solutions helped Polarion deliver a better total cost of ownership to its customers, plus companies are already using many of the open source components incorporated in Polarion's solution, Schröder explained.

"Building an ALM solution is a pretty complex thing. And we just thought it doesn't make sense to reinvent the wheel and build something like Eclipse or an application server, or a version control system like Subversion when it's already there and has a broad community," he said.

One of Polarion's biggest customers in the United States is Northrop-Grumman. It was a key point for that company that its ALM solution be built on Subversion and have flexibility, Schröder said.

Polarion took the approach of avoiding "islands of automation" by developing an integrated ALM solution, according to Schröder.

"When you talk about ALM -- that's painful. It's complex, it has to deal with different interfaces, and different tools need to be integrated, and it's not working and you have to spend a lot on a consultancy to get it running or not," Schröder said. "Our approach is to really make this painless. So you have one interface, one view to the customer and you can have your requirements management as well as your tasks and you can do your change request using one tool and have one central repository where you can store everything."

Other important elements of Polarion's solution include support for distributed environments, enabling collaboration across continents. The role-based aspect to the solution "helps people so that they don't get overwhelmed by features that they don't need," Schröder said. The solution also provides real-time visibility of the project for those involved.

"We have it in the tool. You push a button and you know exactly what tasks are done, and what has to be done," he said.

There are two different Polarion ALM products. The ALM Team Edition is a basic solution covering version control, change management and issue tracking. You pay on a per-server basis ($4,800) but get unlimited users and projects.

The other product is the ALM Enterprise Edition, which enables requirements engineering, workflow and process support. The Enterprise Edition is priced at $3,500 for a main license or $7,200 for a concurrent license.

With the 3.0 release, the Team Edition ALM product will be available for free throughout the end of December.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.

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