Update on TFS on Azure

Finally some news from an exciting upcoming product in the Azure portfolio:  TFS on Azure.

We first heard about it at the PDS 2010 keynotes, but since then, not much noise about it.

Well, in mid-may, Brian Harry, from the Visual Studio ALM team, blogged about this upcoming product.

Basically, TFS is already running in the cloud since mid-April, it’s just not available to the large public yet.  About 200 users would be using it at the moment.  The availability has been good, so the guy is optimist.

It did not divulge any product timeline, not even a CTP tentative date.

Nevertheless, this product could easily be a hit if they price it correctly.  Running TFS is a huge hassle.  You need to:

  • Install it (until TFS 2010 I could have stopped the list there so much it was difficult to install)
  • Provision servers for its Web Server, SharePoint Server & Database server
  • Maintain the SQL jobs to crunch cubes
  • Make sure the security in the portal (e.g. can’t see the reports anyone?) matches the one in TFS
  • Backup its several databases
  • etc.

Now in the cloud, you could, like everything else in Windows Azure, provision it in minutes and get going.  Of course, you’ll still have your TFS governance to do:  folder hierarchy, project boundaries, check-in policies, branching strategy, security, etc. .  But that’s it:  you’ll actually worry about ALM, not plumbing!

When I opened my first CodePlex project years ago, the first thing that impressed me was the TFS integration.  I basically had my own TFS, for free, fully featured (actually no, but for what I was doing I had the features I needed) and blazing fast!  Actually, it was faster than the on-site TFS I was using (thanks to the super complicated TFS 2005 installation at the time, it was pretty easy to get lame performance).  The next thought I had was:  why isn’t Microsoft selling a similar service?  It took them a while but they are on the road to do it.

Of course, as with the rest of the cloud, big corps won’t want to use it for their precious IP, but small shops will be able to loose the VSS, SubVersion or the like and enjoy a real ALM server tool integrated to Visual Studio like no others.

Until then…  let’s enjoy our local installations.

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