TFS in Cloud

Hosting of ALM in the cloud as software as a service is gradually becoming more and more popular.  The vision, of course, is ALM as a seamless service – making it really easy to get started, easy to scale, easy to operate, easy to access, …  You’ve seen from time to time about TFS team work with 3rd party hosting and consulting companies offering TFS services.  Was a lot of work in TFS 2010 on both the technical and licensing front to enable a new generation of cloud based TFS services.

Several months ago, Brian Harry wrote a post about our initial investigation into porting TFS to the Windows Azure platform.  Since then, MS continued to pursue it and  at this year’s PDC, was a demo of Team Foundation Server running on the Windows Azure platform.  MS announced that will deliver a CTP (basically an early preview) next year, but aren’t, by any means, done with the technical work, but, for now,  it’s a great case study to see what is involved in porting a large scale multi-tier enterprise application to Azure.

The demo represents an important step forward in getting TFS running on the Azure cloud platform.  The demo included not only that but also the remaining components of TFS running in the cloud – the ASP.NET application tier (running as a Web Role), the TFS Job Service (formerly a Windows service for periodic background tasks, now running as a worker role) and the TFS Build controller/agent (running in an Azure VM role).  The demo include also connecting from a web browser, Visual Studio and from Microsoft Test Manager.

One of the cool things is that, for the end user, TFS in the cloud looks pretty much like TFS on-premises.  Other than the fact that you can log in with an internet identity rather than a windows identity, you’ll find that the Visual Studio experience, for example, looks pretty much identical to a local TFS scenario.

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