If you have followed our activities for a while you may have already heard of Ara2UML. It’s a project we started in late 2009. The first article I wrote about it was in october 2009 so 2 years and a few days ago. It was following some meeting I had at that time with Pascal Morenton, a French professor at Ecole Centrale de Paris, who provides training on PLM concepts. He also became last year the president of the association PLMLab. When we had these discussion, as he was discovering Aras Innovator, he wanted to know how the PLM model was made. So, he went through the admin interface, looking for each itemtype and relationship type to draw by hand the datamodel of the solution. It was taking him quite a lot of time, so I told him I would make a software that automatically provides him with the whole datamodel. Then a few weeks later I came back to him with this extraction tool.
Recently I’ve been notified by Martin James an IT consultant to a major car manufacturer about some issues on the Aras2UML tool. The tool wasn’t working anymore with the new version of Aras Innovator. Plus, after updating the IOM.dll there were still some issues which led us to have more control on the export process, creating a thread to handle this process and adding error catching features. Once again that’s a big part of a developper’s revenue => people using the software and submitting bug reports and reviews.
Then I took the opportunity to ask Martin what he was doing with Aras Innovator. And here are the answers I was allowed to publish:
(YM-Minerva) What are you using Aras Innovator for? What context?
(MJ-IT consultant to a major car manufacturer) We are trying to do something slightly different from the classic PLM implementation, and that is to apply PLM to the world of IT infrastructure — not the manufacture of it, but managing it, configuring it, installing it etc.. Where a car manufacturing application would have, say, a product decomposition that goes “car” – “chassis” – “axle assembly” – “wheel” – “bolt”, we have decompositions like “compute platform” – “virtualized server” – “X86 server instance” – “Windows 2008”. By adding extra Item Types we are trying to join together standard infrastructure solution assemblies (both logical and physical), requirements management, change management, problem management and technology strategies. Our ultimate goal is to integrate Aras with a Service Catalog tool and an automated provisioning service.
(YM-Minerva) How did you discover Aras Innovator?
(MJ-IT consultant to a major car manufacturer) I guess you could say “word of mouth”. We had been looking for a way to harmonize all the independently-managed provisioning processes. As a (car manufacturing) company we have always been aware of the application of PLM tools and processes to the manufacturing side of the business, and it only took a small leap to see the possibilities for the IT side. Having a strong preference for Open Source offerings, and personal contacts with people at Aras, that seemed an obvious place to start looking.
(YM-Minerva) Why did you started using it for?
(MJ-IT consultant to a major car manufacturer) We’re still only “evaluating”, but it is now very serious “evaluation”. We started experimenting with Aras because it was so easy to do so, being Open Source. That gave us the first insights into what might be possible. Then we sent a few members of the team to the spring “ACE 2011” event in Detroit to learn more, and we were hooked.
So, now, let’s see what we’ve changed in this Aras2UML utility tool
- Login Module included from a standard Minerva dll
- Extraction process is run through a thread
- Update to the latest IOM.dll
- Reporting has been added
- Fixed issue with relationship itemtypes without a source item