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Serena Updates Its Dimensions

With a nod to regulatory compliance and integration, officials at Serena Software launched an update to its development platform.

Dimensions is one application within the San Mateo, Calif., company's Serena Application Framework for Enterprises (SAFE) software suite, the platform from which developers track and manage enterprise applications.

The suite is one of several competing versions in the marketplace for application lifecycle management (ALM) software: competitors include IBM , Borland and Microsoft .

Dimensions 9 has added several components to improve change management within the enterprise application, whether it's on the Microsoft or Java platform. The improvements include tighter integration with Visual Studio .NET and Eclipse-based tools to let developers work on their preferred IDE ; electronic signatures; and managing code changes across multiple sites.

"Organizations today are faced with multiple tools and technologies -- whether they are .NET , J2EE , legacy or all three -- and coordinating and managing application development across such a diverse portfolio of technologies can be quite complex," said Ash Owen, a director of product marketing at Serena.

On the compliance front, Dimensions' addition of electronic signature support means software changes will only be executed by authorized people, one that leaves an audit trail on the software's Traceability Matrix summary.

Serena developers built up an existing add-on feature called Replicator to boost Dimensions' outsourcing support component. Very similar to IBM's ClearCase MultiSite, Replicator synchronizes and replicates software configurations and assets to distributed work sites. That kind of management is important, especially in the case of offshore outsourced projects.

"As IT environments increasingly incorporate development teams split across different geographies or even outsource development to third-party organizations, there is tremendous pressure on IT to maintain the speed and quality of its application development process," said Clive Burrows, principal analyst at research firm Ovum, in a statement. "Dimensions 9 brings significant enhancements that alleviate this pressure and will provide major benefits to any organization with a distributed development environment."

Serena has spent a busy year building up its SAFE application suite. In March, the company spent $380 million to buy competitor Merant, expanding its business beyond the mainframe customers it catered and into distributed computing operating systems.

In June Serena Software bought the technology and assets of Integrated Chipware's Rights and Traceability Management (RTM) technology to fill out its ALM software suite.