Brian Keller

Director of ALM Evangelism for Microsoft

Register Now For Team Foundation Server 2013 Upgrade Weekend

Register Now For Team Foundation Server 2013 Upgrade Weekend

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In my job, I get talk to people every day who are excited about the new and improved capabilities of Team Foundation Server 2013. I have talked to several organizations who are already running Team Foundation Server 2013 Preview in production, which is great. But for some organizations, upgrading to pre-release software on their production servers can be a bit scary. If you are interested in upgrading to Team Foundation Server 2013 and you don’t want to wait until RTM, we are here to help.

Team Foundation Server 2013 Upgrade Weekend is happening September 13-15 (Friday – Sunday). During this weekend, Microsoft experts will be standing by after hours to provide no-charge assistance for Team Foundation Server 2013 installation, configuration, and upgrades. If you are interested in taking advantage of Upgrade Weekend, please visit http://aka.ms/TFSUpgradeWeekend. This brief survey will pre-register you to take advantage of the Upgrade Weekend offer and will help us to appropriately staff engineering and support resources. If you don’t yet have a profile on Microsoft Connect you will need to complete a brief Connect registration profile prior to accessing the survey. This survey will remain open until September 6th.

Here are just a few reasons to consider upgrading to Team Foundation Server 2013:

 

Of course, you don’t have to wait until Upgrade Weekend to try Team Foundation Server 2013 or any of the rest of the products in the Visual Studio 2013 family. You can download previews of these products today from http://aka.ms/GetVS2013. All of these products have “go live” licenses which means you can run them in production and perform your day-to-day development activities with them. You can also contact Microsoft Support if you need assistance.

  • So why are you guys having an upgrade weekend and upgrading folks to NON release versions of the software...last time I checked your previews have time outs that will cause the software to stop working....will you guys have someone of extending those timeouts indefinitely without upgrading and having system down time?

  • Hi Kevin,

    I appreciate your concerns.

    Microsoft Support already offers normal worldwide support for released (RTM) products. In fact, most installation / upgrade related incidents are no-charge for RTM products.

    For pre-release software such as the stage TFS 2013 is in currently, we typically only provide email support M-F 9-5 (Pacific Standard Time). For people who are interested in going live with the pre-release bits, Upgrade Weekend provides them with extended hours coverage when they can schedule their upgrades then call in and get support via the phone, Lync screen sharing, or email.

    Furthermore, our expectation is that once somebody upgrades to a TFS pre-release, moving to the RTM release of that version of TFS is going to be fairly straightforward. The number of steps required in such an upgrade are typically minimal and mostly automated.

    This is a pilot and thank your voicing your feedback. If Upgrade Weekend goes well this is something we may consider for RTM upgrades as well. Should I interpret your question to mean that you would be interested in such an offering if it were made available for TFS 2013 RTM?

    Brian

  • Brain - Yes I'd like it for RTM as well. When you say "mostly automated" for an upgrade to TFS 2013 RTM, will that final upgrade NOT require any server reboots or developer impact...ie. folks will be able to continue to check in, run team builds, execute lab managment codedui tests without interruption? Also I'm really concerned about the timeout and expiration of the pre-release software..if we do choose to go to 2013 before it ships will this weekend upgrade provide a version of the software that doesn't expire?

  • Thanks for the dialog, Kevin.

    When I say "mostly automated" what I'm referring to is that if you've already upgraded to a TFS 2013 pre-release and taken care of any manual steps identified during that process, then the TFS 2013 RTM installation wizard should just take care of the rest. One such example of this is upgrading custom process templates from an older TFS deployment. In most cases the TFS 2013 install wizard will now automatically add the new fields and workflow states to take advantage of new features and capabilities. Depending on the customizations you've made, you might have to manually adjust this XML. If you do it once for TFS 2013 preview, you shouldn't need to do this again when you move to TFS 2013 RTM. Another such example is upgrading to the requisite version of software dependencies such as SQL Server and Windows. Once you get on the supported versions during the pre-release (if you aren't already on the supported versions) then you won't have to do it again to move to RTM.

    The pre-release software will continue to have an expiration date built into it. The only software which won't have the expiration is RTM.

    Upgrading from a pre-release version to RTM will also have some downtime associated with it.

    Upgrading to pre-release software certainly isn't for everyone, and in your case it sounds like it may not be the best fit with your organization. I love that you are interested in the idea of running an Upgrade Weekend in the RTM timeframe, and assuming this pilot goes well that will help us justify future such offerings.

    Thanks again,

    Brian

  • Thanks Brain. Sounds like the usual upgrade mess....so I'll just tell our engineering groups we will have to wait till RTM to upgrade our Production TFS instance. Several of the groups have already setup 2013 TFS servers to test with, and they've heavily changed the 2013 OOB process template workflows/states/fields/forms and we now have several custom serverside event handlers to do rollup calculations and workflow transformations (we brough in 2 MVP consultants in July for two weeks). I know we've experimented quite a bit with the In Release preview as well. When you guys do RTM 2013 will the preview versions of In Release be upgraded to RTM in an automated process as well.

    The downtime part is killer and will mean we will need to more than likely have to upgrade at a later date....but I know we want to move to 2013 like yesterday. :-(

  • Hi Kevin,

    I know that unlike the rest of the 2013 preview bits, we don't license or support the current InRelease 2013 preview bits for production. So I don't know what the story will be for upgrading the InRelease preview to RTM, but I will ask and report back.

    Can you help me understand how you typically schedule TFS upgrades? Most of my customers are looking at TFS Upgrade Weekend as a way to upgrade without any downtime because they can do it on the weekend outside of normal business hours. But I think I hear you saying that any downtime for the server is going to impact your business. Is that because you are a 24x7 dev shop? Or because you don't have resources to support an after-hours upgrade? I'm just trying to understand the various customer profiles out there so that we can put together more helpful programs like this in the future.

    Brian

  • Thanks Brian, we kick off our builds and automated tests to start running at 8pm on Friday, our builds take between 21-26 hours to run, we kick off a series of buildA depends on buildB, BuildB depends on BuildC, etc etc for a list of about 71 builds. We also have our automated codedui tests, web tests, and load tests running over the weekend (from Satuday evening through Sunday) for another 18-19 hours, we have to date ~2900 automated tests. We have ~14 people in India that come in on Monday (our Sunday) and start work too. Our total dev group is 42 people.

    We schedule our maintainance windows to have downtime every quarter of less than 4 hours (4 server reboots thanks to patch tueday), so in scheduling an upgrade to TFS 2013 we need to find a way to do it and that minimizes impact to our build process and test processes (as waiting for them to kick off again means a week of destablization and possible missed test coverage \  regressions).

    We know we need to upgrade to TFS 2013...and we'll probably eat a weekend to do the upgrade...but it's a once a year / once every other year kind of event....and from what your saying we'd have to have another downtime if we installed in september.

    But if I can make the case that RTM (whenever that is going to be) is stable and we can have MS on the phone for their entire weekend for free....that'd help me get to TFS 2013 sooner as our engineering groups want it...like yesterday.

    I just know in testing TFS 2013 preview the engineering teams have found numerous issues with failed builds with custom activities and failed automated lab management builds as well...

  • Thanks Kevin, this is helpful context to have. Sounds like you guys run a very tight ship and I can understand now why you were asking all of the questions you were.

    This is good data for me to take into our discussions around possibly holding an Upgrade Weekend for RTM.

    On the upside, I'm very glad to hear that your devs want TFS 2013 "yesterday" - that's always good to hear.

  • You guys should have shipped the 2013 stuff in 2012. Honestly, you're a year late on the GIT stuff. But I'll take it as soon as I can get my hands on it. Now if only you guys would have Chef and Puppet integration. There's a long list of stuff we need in order to stay on TFS...so every bit you guys add helps! Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger...

  • Any idea on if / how VS 2005 clients like BIDs will be able to access TFS 2013 if we upgrade? Is there a new version of MSSCCI going to be available for Windows XP?

  • Scott,

    Sorry for the delay, I've been checking into this one. The MSSCCI provider is expected to be published "soon" but I don't know if it will make it before Upgrade Weekend. The link to that provider from the MSDN docs (msdn.microsoft.com/.../dd997788(v=vs.120).aspx) is actually pointing to an unpublished download at the moment (go.microsoft.com/fwlink), but I'm told that once it's available that link should start working. Sorry for the confusion.

    Brian

  • Oh, bummer. 2013 RC looks nice but we need the MSSCI provider for BIDS (SSIS/SSRS). Will it be available by friday so we can upgrade this weekend to TFS 2013?

  • Scott,

    Thanks for bringing this up again. I just talked to the team - they had a few hiccups on their release and unfortunately it's not expected to be available in time for this weekend's Upgrade Weekend. They are working hard on it and it's still expected "soon" but if you are blocked from upgrading to TFS 2013 until you have this then you should probably wait until after it's available.

    Sorry about that, Scott.

    Brian

  • So how's the upgrade weekend going? How many upgrades took place? How successful was the event? Will you be doing this again for when 2013 releases (RTM)?

  • Nigel, it's been pretty quiet. We helped resolve some issues yesterday but we have mostly felt like the Maytag Repairman. Could be a sign that the upgrades are going smoothly or that people decided not to migrate this weekend. We're hoping to learn more from a survey which will go out this week.

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