3 April 2024

Perforce to Git migration



Perforce and Git are two different types of source control systems that help developers track and manage changes to software code. Perforce is a centralized system that requires a connection to a server to access the code history, while Git is a distributed system that allows each developer to have a copy of the code base on their local machine.

Migrating from Perforce to Git can offer several benefits, such as faster performance, more flexible workflows, and better collaboration. However, migrating from Perforce to Git also involves some challenges, such as preserving the history of the code, mapping users and permissions, handling large binary files, and managing complex dependencies. In this article, we will explore some of the reasons, methods, and best practices for migrating from Perforce to Git.


GitHub vs Perforce

There are several challenges working with Perforce which are addressed with GitHub.

  • Syncing: Perforce requires a connection to a server for most operations, which can be slow and unreliable. GitHub is distributed and works locally, which makes it faster and more scalable.
  • Branching and Merging: Perforce has a rigid workflow and permission system, which can limit the creativity and autonomy of developers. GitHub allows developers to create and manage branches and merges without server approval, which enables more flexible and agile workflows.
  • History and Conflict Resolution: Perforce tracks files, not content, which can lead to an inaccurate and incomplete history of code changes. GitHub tracks the content of the files, which provides a more granular and precise history of code changes. GitHub also has better tools for resolving conflicts and keeping track of merges.
  • Collaboration and Integration: Perforce makes it hard to work offline, share code, and integrate with other tools and platforms. GitHub supports better collaboration and team onboarding, as it enables developers to work offline, share code easily, and integrate with various tools and platforms. GitHub also has features such as pull requests, code reviews, issues, and actions that enhance the development process.
  • Cost and Maintenance: Perforce is expensive and requires licensing fees and maintenance costs. GitHub is open-source, free for public repositories, and paid for private repositories. GitHub also has a cloud-based service that reduces the need for server administration.


Business Need

The business need of migrating from Perforce to Git is to improve the developer productivity, collaboration, and performance of software development.

Steps to migrate from Perforce to GitHub

1. Choose a migration tool:

There are several migration tools available for migrating from Perforce to GitHub. One commonly used tool is git-p4. This tool is provided by Git and can be used to clone a Perforce repository and convert it to a Git repository.

git p4 clone //depot/project@all

Another option is to use dedicated third-party tools like p42git or subgit. These tools provide more advanced features and support.

2. Install and configure the migration tool:

Install the chosen tool and configure it to connect to your Perforce server. Configure the target Git repository as well.

3. Clone Perforce repository:

Use the migration tool to clone the Perforce repository. This will create a Git repository with the complete commit history.

4. Push to GitHub:

Once you have cloned the Perforce repository, push it to your GitHub repository. Ensure that you have the necessary permissions to push to the GitHub repository.

git remote add origin 

git remote add origin <GitHub Repository URL>
git push -u origin master

5. Verify migration:

Check the GitHub repository to ensure that all branches, commit history, and files have been migrated correctly.

6. Update workflow and CI/CD:

If your development workflow, CI/CD pipelines, or any other integrations depend on the version control system, update them to use the new Git repository.

7. Notify Team and Stakeholders:

Inform your development team and stakeholders about the migration to GitHub. Provide them with the new repository URL and any necessary instructions.

8. Decommission Perforce:

Once you have verified the successful migration and ensured that the team has transitioned to GitHub, you can decommission the Perforce server.

Benefits Derived

Some of the benefits derived from this migration are:

  • Speed: Git is faster and more scalable than Perforce, as it does not require a connection to a server to access the code history or perform operations
  • Workflow Flexibility: Git offers more flexible workflows and permissions than Perforce, as it allows developers to create and manage branches and merges without requiring branch mapping or server approval
  • Branching: Git tracks the content of the files, not just the files themselves, which provides a more accurate and granular history of code changes
  • Collaboration: Git supports better collaboration and team onboarding than Perforce, as it enables developers to work offline, share code easily, and integrate with various tools and platforms
  • Cost: Git is more cost-effective than Perforce.

For 50 users perforce costs $13,228/year whereas GitHub charges $10,700/year (Appro. Savings $2500/year)


Migrating from Perforce to Git can help developers achieve faster, more flexible, and more collaborative software development while reducing costs and complexity.

Contact our team today for expert assistance with your Perforce to Git migration, ensuring a seamless transition and maximizing the benefits of faster performance, enhanced collaboration, and cost savings.

Get in touch with our team

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