Everything you want to know about Visual Studio ALM and Farming
Brian Harry is a Microsoft Technical Fellow working as the Product Unit Manager for Team Foundation Server. Learn more about Brian.
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With Orcas Beta 2 now available, I'm starting to see questions about the upgrade process and the availability and interoperability of other components (that don't ship in the box with Orcas). Let me try to clear some of this up.
VSTS Web Access - This is the new web UI (formerly TeamPlain) that we acquired a few months ago. Our work to run it through the Microsoft release process for a Power Tool release is nearly complete. I'm expecting it to be available for download for licensed TFS users in the next day or two - watch for my announcement and list of improvements, etc. This version will work with either Orcas or TFS 2005. However, it is still compiled with the TFS 2005 object model (it has not been rebuilt with the Orcas one yet). The reason for this is that we don't want to require everyone who wants to use it to install the Beta. Because we maintained a very high level of compatibility between Orcas and TFS 2005, the updated Web Access tool can still work fine with an Orcas server even though it uses the TFS2005 object model. The implication of this, though, is that you will need to install the TFS 2005 Team Explorer on any machine on which you install VSTS Web Access.
TFS Power Tools, MSSCCI provider, etc - Like VSTS Web Access, these have not yet been recompiled for Orcas, but they will work fine against an Orcas server as long as you install the TFS 2005 Team Explorer on any machine on which you want to use them. For most of the Power Tools this will be relatively transparent. For the ones that are integrated into the VS shell, you will find that they only appear in the VS2005 shell and won't load in the Orcas VS shell. Since we integrated most of them into the Orcas product, this won't matter much to you. However, one will stand out - the Process Template Editor. You will need to continue to use the Process Template Editor from inside a VS 2005 shell (one comes with the Team Explorer 2005 install). Over the next couple of months, we will be recompiling and adjusting all of our Power Tools for the Orcas release. I'm roughly thinking we'll get this done in Sept and that all TFS Power Tool releases from there forward will be based on the Orcas (TFS/VS/VSTS 2008) components.
Side by side - So you might ask, what if I need to keep using VS/Team Explorer 2005 on the same machine as Orcas? That's fine. They can be installed side by side on the same machine. This includes the fact that you can install the Team Explorer 2005 on the Orcas TFS server itself if you choose to install the VSTS Web Access Power Tool there.
TFS Proxy - I've had a few people ask what to do if you have a TFS Proxy server and you have a mix of TFS 2005 and Orcas servers. You can use either the TFS 2005 or the Orcas Proxy server and either one will work with both TFS 2005 and Orcas TFS servers.
TFS Build machines - TFS build machines are coupled to the version of the TFS server they work with. You must use a TFS 2005 build server with a TFS 2005 server and an Orcas build server with an Orcas server. However, you can install both TFS 2005 and Orcas build servers on the same machine if you choose.
Team Explorer & TFS - I've said this many times, but I'll say it again for completeness. The Orcas Team Explorer client will work with a TFS 2005 server and the Team Explorer 2005 client will work with an Orcas TFS server. We kept a very high bar on compatibility to make migration easy.
Upgrading your server - Upgrading your TFS 2005 server to Orcas should be a seamless process. Orcas will perform an in place upgrade of your TFS data and work perfectly when it is done. Check out the install guide for details and make sure to take backups of your databases first - just in case something goes wrong. Better safe than sorry.
We've tried hard to make this transition as easy and painless as possible. If you have questions about additional components and their interoperability with Orcas, let me know and I'll track down the answers for you.
A couple of days ago I blogged about the imminent release of Rosario CTP 8. I got the naming wrong. It's going to be called "Microsoft® Visual Studio® Team System Code Name “Rosario” August 2007 CTP". Don't get me started on naming, I'll call it the Rosario August CTP :). It looks like we're going to hold that until early next week to finish off a few release mechanics and let people have the weekend, undisturbed, to play with the new Orcas Beta. Remember that while Orcas Beta 2 is a "go-live" release, the Rosario CTPs are nothing of the sort - they are just an early preview of where we are headed with Rosario.
I'm going to try really hard to stop calling it "Orcas". Now that the product has an official name, I'm going to try to call it TFS 2008, VSTS 2008, VS 2008, etc. I'm sure I'll slip up some but remember they are the same thing.
Thanks. We're looking forward to your feedback,