Deploying Team Foundation Server 2008 (TFS) – part 1

Tips and Checks for Deploying TFS; Step by Step

While you are deploying Team Foundation Server within your organization or business for one of the first times you kind off face challenges and difficulties in terms of different Microsoft Products not going well together and your scenario fails and asks you to re-work.

So first we need to prepare a list of what products do we need while deploying Team Foundation Server successfully and what is their role.

For this ideal scenario specifically we shall be using Windows Server 2003 R2, SQL Server 2005 SP2, Windows SharePoint Server 3.0, VSTS, TFS 2008

1) SQL Server – Components used (Full DB Engine to host TFS, SharePoint and Reporting Services Databases; Reporting Services and Analysis Services, Integration Services is not a must to install)

2) Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Install it in advance way that it’s Databases are Host within your SQL Server instance which is holding DBs for Reporting Services and TFS. Don’t go with the default installation using Windows Internal Database.

3) TFS 2008 which will be installed on top of SharePoint (Acting as a web front end for it) and SQL Server (hosting its databases)

Taking the step by step approach

First Install SQL Server 2005 SP2 with Database Services, Analysis Services and Reporting Services. Please please please, don’t configure the Reporting Services at this point and leave them un-configured

Then Install SharePoint Services 3.0 and please use the Database Server which you have installed in the previous step.

So Now You need to be sure on Two things:-

1) You can run SharePoint default website and Central Administration website

2) And You can see the DBs of SharePoint and Reporting Services under the DB Server which You have just installed.

Now Run the setup of TFS, it will also be using the same DB Server for it’s databases and its Root team site will be deployed under SharePoint default website (not the central administration one). During its installation it will automatically configure the Reporting Services website and will also place it under SharePoint default website.

So All the sites will run under the default SharePoint website and all the DBs (around 12) will be placed under one singles DB Server.

During the installation of TFS you come across Health Check issues and there you waste a lot of your time. We will discuss the Health Check Activity in the upcoming post within a couple of days…..

to be continued…

Visual Studio Team System 2008

This often becomes a little difficult to convenience users to migrate from VSS to TFS as VSS is probably there with us since far more long time and is pretty handy to use, but the problem arises in the following areas:

1) Scalability
2) Operations & Management
3) Recovery
4) Extensions
5) Performance

Many more areas can be added to the above list to prove that TFS is far more ahead then VSS, but how? Firstly if you see it doesn’t talks about only Source Control but it talks about Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) which covers the process straight from writing the very first development document what so ever it may be. VSS was all used to be a code repository and giving one many features to manage code libraries, users, rights, backup, recovery and etc etc. But TFS is certainly a broader picture of the game since it introduces a concept of ALM let’s see what it provides:

1) Source Control (what VSS was doing)
2) Management of Work Items, Bugs, Scenarios etc
3) A SharePoint site for every Team Project which focuses on Team Collaboration
4) Fast SQL Reporting of Bugs, Remaining Work, Resource Allocation etc
5) Proper Management of Development Documents
6) Team Build and Release Automation
7) And many a more which are there to be explored

The point 1 covered what VSS was doing even the source control in TFS is far more advanced and mature as compared to the one we use in VSS with the improved productivity of features like locking, change sets, comparisons and branching.

VSS was for small – mid size teams but TFS is scalable, VSS Security was Application specific but TFS relies on Windows based security hence the security becomes easy to manage task if you have the AD & proper policies in place, the data stored in VSS was in file system but in TFS it’s in SQL Server which makes reporting, recovery and readability much more enhanced.

TFS is such a strong product was it follows a proper process template, understands different Application Lifecycle roles (PM, Analyst, DBA, Dev etc) and helps everyone to be the part of process further uses the key technologies like SharePoint & SQL Server which are already running in many Data Centers and are not new to IT guys and they can extend & scale the existing functionality of TFS by using its strong API and having in depth understanding of the technologies running at the backend so at the end of the day to me it’s just a scalable tool with front end on SharePoint, VS and backend on SQL Server..

There is a lot which is unwritten like its interop behavior where this multipurpose tool has the power to interact with non MS products and heterogeneous platforms.