Comments on Hatteras
Most people in blogspace already know that today Microsoft announced a full
suite of lifecycle development tools called the Visual Studio
Team System. One piece of this system is a new enterprise-class source
control system which is code-named "Hatteras". These announcements are
causing lots of people to ask questions
about SourceGear Vault. This blog posting is intended to start answering
those questions. We appreciate Microsoft for putting us under NDA and
sharing the news about Hatteras in advance. We've known about this
for over nine months, and we are glad to finally be able to
publicly talk about what this news means for SourceGear and Vault.
Is Hatteras based on technology from Vault?
No. Just like Vault, Hatteras is built on SQL Server as the underlying
repository store. Because of this, I have already heard a number of
people asking if perhaps Microsoft might have licensed some technology from
SourceGear. Alas, this is not the case. Microsoft's new
enterprise-class source control tool was written from scratch by a team in the
Raleigh-Durham area. The team is being led by Brian Harry, the guy
who originally developed SourceSafe at OneTree before it was acquired by
Does this mean SourceGear Vault is dead?
We certainly don't think so. Obviously we do not consider this to be
good news. Over time, every source control vendor will be
impacted by Microsoft's decision to finally take source control seriously.
We would all certainly prefer that Microsoft stay out of this market
segment. But we don't get everything we want.
Hatteras is not the end of SourceGear Vault. There is plenty of room
for SourceGear and other vendors to differentiate and continue to have a healthy
of Hatteras is simply different from Vault. Hatteras appears to be
designed to kill Rational ClearCase, not Vault. In fact, it seems clear to
me that the entire new suite of lifecycle tools is Microsoft's reaction to IBM's
acquisition of Rational. I admit that SourceGear will be impacted, but the
damage is basically incidental. If you think Microsoft is out to beat
SourceGear, you don't understand Microsoft. We are quite successful for a
small company, but we are not even close to being on Microsoft's radar
screen. Microsoft is firing its weapons at Rational, and SourceGear is
simply a little too close to the battlefield to remain completely unharmed.
Most of the damage will happen in terms of very large customers. I'm
talking about teams with several hundred developers or more. Those kinds
of companies aren't really looking seriously at Vault anyway. Vault is
currently selling very well with teams of 10, 25 and 50 developers.
We don't see that changing anytime soon. That kind of small team doesn't
need the sheer size of something like ClearCase or Hatteras.
And they probably can't afford it either. Pricing for Hatteras has not
yet been announced, but folks are getting the impression that it will be very
expensive. I don't think this tool is going to be "basically free" like
SourceSafe. If you're thinking about Hatteras, you should probably look at
the pricing for ClearCase and assume it may end up in a similar ballpark.
The source control market has always been highly fragmented. No player
dominates this arena, and Hatteras is not going to change that. If you can
afford it, Hatteras will eventually be the preferred tool for teams which
develop only on Windows using only Visual Studio. But despite all of
Microsoft's efforts, there are plenty of teams which don't fit neatly inside
Do you need clients on Unix or MacOS? Do you want integration with
other development environments besides Visual Studio? Do you have a
limited budget? Microsoft is not likely to meet these needs, and that will
leave opportunities open for other vendors. Granted, these are niche
opportunities. I'm not saying that the source control market will spawn a
bunch of high-flying IPOs. I am merely pointing out just a couple of
examples why there will be plenty of vendors who continue to exist and thrive in
this space. Unless we screw something up badly, SourceGear will be one of
SourceGear has been in business for over seven years. We have learned
how to put plywood over our windows when the storm is approaching. This
storm will not be fatal for us.
Microsoft was kind enough to give us nine months advance notice before
today's announcement. We probably have at least another nine months before
Hatteras 1.0 is shipping. Vault 2.0 is available now. It's
selling extremely well and our customers love it. We plan to stay focused
on our product and our customers. Our plans did not change today.
Still, Hatteras has probably ruined my chances of becoming a billionaire by
age 40. I definitely blame Brian Harry for that.
But SourceGear and Vault are going to be okay.