Some Things To Consider Before You Upgrade


Last month I told you not to upgrade your Team Foundation Server.  This month, I’m standing on the mountain tops proclaiming with a loud voice, “It’s time to upgrade your Team Foundation Server!”

TFS 2015 RTM has arrived.

If you’ve been paying attention to what’s been going on within Microsoft’s Developer Division, you’ll know that Visual Studio 2015 was launched on the 20th of July, and now the RTM version of the ALM tools are available for download and installation.  If you aren’t sure why you should upgrade, check out What’s New in Team Foundation Server 2015.

Upgrading to TFS 2015 isn’t trivial.  There are major revisions to the schema and the size of your database that will impact the duration of your migration.  In fact, when you do the upgrade, you will need to take TFS offline for a period of time relative to how large your TFS database is.  For larger repositories, this can mean hours, if not days, of TFS downtime.  To address this problem, Microsoft has created a pre-upgrade tool that can run while TFS is online.  It prepares the database for the update while TFS is online.  Running the pre-upgrade tool reduces the period of actual downtime when you are performing the upgrade.

The pre-upgrade tool was built for organizations with unusually large databases.  If you have a 9GB database, I wouldn’t bother running it.  If you are running a 9TB database, you will definitely benefit from it.

Before upgrading, make sure you backup TFS.  You should already be performing online backups, but it’s a good idea to do an offline backup of the App Tier as well as the Data Tier.  A backup of the App Tier allows for a quicker restore should something go wrong.  You should also ask your team to make sure everyone has checked in their code changes before backing up.  This just ensures that people will have a consistent experience.

A last thought about upgrading – compatibility.  You should be aware of hardware, OS, SQL Server, Project Server, and Visual Studio compatibility.  TFS 2015 has similar compatibility requirements as TFS 2013.  Read Requirements and Compatibility for more information.

As you can see, there is a lot to the TFS 2015 upgrade.  Before jumping into migrating, be sure to ask yourself, “Should I use experienced, outside resources to assist with my migration?”  Whether you have modified the process templates, workflow, or work items, you have a large database, you want to move to Build vNext, you have a complex TFS infrastructure, or your have a relatively simple migration, you will benefit from our knowledge and resources.  The team at Northwest Cadence has decades of combined experience to help you with your migration, and because Team Foundation Server 2015 can be a little more challenging than previous upgrades, you should not take this upgrade lightly.  There are three ways we can help you.

  1. Help you design your upgrade process and prepare the systems for the upgrade.
  2. Assist your team with the upgrade.
  3. Coach you and your team so you get the most out of TFS 2015.

If you have any questions about your TFS upgrade, or would like to know more about what we can do to help you upgrade, please contact us!  And if you want to know more about what TFS 2015 has to offer you, join us for one of our “A Lap Around TFS 2015” webcast events!

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