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Bitbucket upgrade goes toe to toe with GitHub

Giving GitHub a run for its money, Atlassian is upgrading its Bitbucket project hosting platform with improvements covering distributed teams, large files, and repository organization.

Supporting both the Git and Mercurial revision control systems, Bitbucket offers code collaboration and Git that "massively scales," according to Atlassian. The company is adding Smart Mirroring, Git LFS (Large File System), and a Projects capability, for organizing multiple repositories, to Bitbucket.

"Git gives you by default whatever you want, and we help apply a consistent workflow," Roger Barnes, Atlassian senior product manager, said in an interview. With Bitbucket, Atlassian sees "a huge opportunity for software teams to work faster," he said. Bitbucket also integrates with the company's Jira project management tool.

Smart Mirroring, which is being added to the Data Center version of Bitbucket, improves performance for distributed teams. "Many software teams using Git can build up large repositories over time due to a large amount of historical information, use of monolithic repositories, storage of large files, or a combination of the three," Barnes said in a blog post. "Developers working from remote locations need to wait hours when cloning, which is a big drain on productivity." Smart Mirroring can drastically improve read performance for distributed teams using large repositories by making them available from a nearby server. 


Git LFS, for Bitbucket's Server and Data Center versions, enables software teams to track all assets they produce together in a single place. "Large files are kept in parallel storage, and lightweight references are stored in your Git repository, making your repositories smaller and faster," Barnes said.

Projects, which makes it easier for teams to organize repositories, moves to Bitbucket Cloud, having already been available in the Server and Data Center versions. "As organizations grow, team sizes get bigger, and more and more repositories get added. It gets progressively harder to find the repository you are looking for," said Barnes.

Bitbucket currently supports more than 600,000 development teams and 3.7 million developers worldwide, according to Atlassian. The better-known GitHub recently had a group of its own users venting frustrations, saying GitHub needed to fix issues with custom fields, voting and issues, and pull requests.

Bitbucket, analyst Jeffrey Hammond of Forrester said, is “more of a competitor to GitHub enterprise -- for companies that would like private hosted Git repositories. Given the popularity of other Atlassian tools with enterprises, I don’t see any reason why Bitbucket can’t do well as enterprises get more interested in using Git for SCM."

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