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These are a few of my favorite things, about TFS 2013 (Part 1)

by Angela 18. October 2013 13:31

Are you picturing a redhead dancing around a large bedroom singing about string and warm woolen mittens?

Yeah, it’s kinda like that. Only I’m no Julie Andrews, I don’t actually have a very good singing voice, and our house is not nearly that fancy :)  Also, instead of brown paper packages I am singing the praises of the MTM Test Hub, Work Item Charting, and awesome things like that.

As you’ve probably heard TFS 2013 released yesterday. A full day ahead of time, I know!  And like any passionate ALM consultant I’ve been using TFS 2013 for some time now. If you’re taking advantage of TFS Service, you have been too whether you knew it or not. So on to my first favorite thing about TFS 2013. Work item charting. The concept of work item charting is a pretty simple one, and frankly one customers have been clamoring for since TFS 2005. Business users do not want to have to learn SSRS to get quick, custom views that they can use to analyze work items.  And frankly, while Excel ad-hoc reporting is much easier than SSRS, it’s still not an “EASY button” solution for simple work item based charting/reporting. Thanks Staples for giving me that reference. 

So let’s divine in a bit shall we?  We will be working with one of my pet projects, a Scavenger Hunt application for the phone (if someone creates one soon, I’ll know where you got the idea now!) Assume we have some simple queries, for instance one which pulls back ALL tasks in a team project. This could be a lot to take in analyze, especially on large, established projects with multiple teams. So, below we have work items, tasks, bugs, etc.  All assigned to various people, planned for different sprints, and so on and so forth. 

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But what if I wanted a quick visualization of work item types, or work assigned to various team members across the entire project? Not a super easy way to do that in any of the previously available reporting methods.  Here is where Work Item Charting comes in.  You might notice a new menu item called “Charts” (circled above) in the web tools for TFS 2013.  When you switch your view to Charts it will show you any existing charts for that query, as well as the ability to create new charts.  So in my case, I already had a chart out there which breaks down all work items by type. Marginally useful, but maybe another chart TYPE would actually be a better way to visualize the data.  So the first thing I want to do is try different chart types, and see if something else strikes my fancy:

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I *love* that as you make choices in the edit box, it automatically gives you a preview of the resulting report. That will save SO many clicks.  So I changed the chart type to a stacked bar, changed the sort and saved the report.

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A bit more useful, but I’d like another view available, this time including assignment data.  But I’ll need to make some changes to my query, because if I try to simply show this in a new chart with the existing data, you’ll notice I do not even have an option to group by assigned to:

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Think of the query as your chart data source, meaning all rows returned will be displayed, and even more importantly, only the fields returned by the query will be available as well.  So if my query returns work item type, title, and state then those are the only fields that I can report on. AND only fields with a reportable type of “dimension” can be used for grouping. These little nuggets often trip people up, they assume all of the fields for the returned rows are available and available for grouping/sorting. So I need to go back to my original query, and add the assigned to field to add that data to my chart:

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Now when I go back into my charts, I have another field that I can use for pivoting my data!

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Well, I could certainly spend FAR more time on this topic, but I just wanted to give you a little taste of one of my favorite features of TFS 2013 – Work Item Charting.  Next up, the new web Test Hub!

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Collaboration | Process Methodology | Productivity | SDLC | Team Foundation Server | TFS 2013 | TFS Service | Visual Studio 2013 | Work Item Tracking

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October 30th, 2013 Edition of the Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group: More Visual Studio ALM 2013 Goodness

by Angela 16. October 2013 14:34

http://www.tfswhisperer.com/image.axd?picture=image_60.png

If you attended the September meeting, this is not *quite* a redux.  I’ll be talking about a variety of ALM features, some that I covered at the Downers Grove meeting last month.  BUT this time around I will also be joined by 2 of my smarty-pants colleagues from Polaris.  Landan Rotter will be talking about the new integrated deployment tool, InRelease, and will be doing a hands-on demo for your enjoyment.  Chris Taylor will also do a deep dive on data driven CodedUI testing as well as an awesome walk-through of setting up Lab Management to support automated test execution! 

Visual Studio ALM 2013 tools are going to release THIS FRIDAY, October 18th, ahem, THIS THURSDAY October 17th, and the big launch is November 13th. If you’re interested in participating in the virtual launch event on November 13th, be sure to check out the VS 2013 Launch Site and sign up soon!  And in the mean time, get ready for what coming by learning more about what's new and cool. And if you can’t wait until RTM, you can still get downloads of TFS and VS 2013 RC today.

Parking downtown is a bit costly, but Aon parking is pretty reasonable if you get there after 4:30pm and leave by 10pm. Check out www.SpotHero.com, they might just save you some serious cash.

 

Meeting Date:  Wednesday October 30th

Agenda:    6:30 - Dinner, 7:00 Presentation

Location: Microsoft-Chicago 200 E Randolph, 2nd Floor, Chicago

Registration:      http://chicagoalmug.org/

 

PLEASE NOTE: Security is strict at the Aon center.  You MUST register as building security will NOT allow individuals to access the building without being pre-registered.  Their rules, not mine.

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Say Hello to Chicago’s Newest ALM MVP

by Angela 3. October 2013 20:35

I’m totally stoked to be the latest Chicagoan to be named an ALM MVP. There are currently only 114 ALM MVPs worldwide (that I see on the site anyway), and I am proud to be counted amongst these awesome folks. Sadly, the site is not quite updated so you won’t see yours truly listed just yet.

Wait, “what the heck is an ALM MVP you say?” I know, that is a lot of acronyms there.  In case you’re not hip to Microsoft lingo, that’s an Application Lifecycle Management Most Valued Professional.  This essentially means that in the areas of ALM (TFS, Visual Studio, Microsoft Test Manager, SDLC, etc.), I’ve made significant enough contributions to the community at large to get some serious props. And it’s been a fun ride, and I certainly don’t plan to slow down :)

This is not to say I know EVERYTHING there is to know on the topic of ALM, oh how I wish there were enough hours in the day.  But on any given day you’re likely to find me Installing/upgrading/customizing TFS, scouring MSDN forums, leading a class through the ropes of agile development, or perhaps giving a talk at a local user group on adopting a new ALM strategy in the real world.  I’m definitely passionate about what I do.

Anyway, that’s it for now! Just a little update on the latest excitement in my professional life.  Hope to catch you at a conference or user group near you soon! And don’t forget to stop by the Chicago ALM User Group sometime.  We will be posting details on out October meeting soon!

 

And because I’m always striving to do thing my mom can brag about, here is a picture of me being all giddy about my award :)

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Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | VS 2013 | VS 2012 | VS 2010 | Visual Studio 2013 | Visual Studio 2012 | Visual Studio | TFS Upgrade | TFS 2013 | TFS 2012 | TFS Administration | TFS 2010 | TFS 2008 | TFS | SDLC | Process Methodology | MSDN

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September 25th, 2013 Edition of the Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group: Visual Studio ALM 2013

by Angela 17. September 2013 09:29

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Well, with all the excitement of ThatConference, I skipped having an August meeting but we’re back! 

With the upcoming release of Visual Studio ALM 2013 tools, it seemed necessary to spend some time digging in! Jim and I will be spending this meeting talking about what's new and cool. We are still arm wrestling over who gets to demo what features, so for now just know it will be awesome! :)

And don't forget to get your fresh downloads of TFS and VS 2013 RC today. MSDN subscribers will also find everything they need through their Subscription site.  If you’re interested in participating in the virtual launch event on November 13th, be sure to check out the VS 2013 Launch Site and sign up soon!

Meeting Date: Wednesday September 25th

Agenda:6:30 - Dinner, 7:00 Presentation

Location:Microsoft-Downers Grove 3025 Highland Pkwy, Ste 300, Downers Grove

Registration:      http://chicagoalmug.org/ 

PLEASE NOTE: Security has gotten tighter at the Downers Grove building.  You MUST register as building security will NOT allow individuals to access the building without being pre-registered.  Their rules, not mine.

 

 

Speaker Bio:

Angela Dugan is the Polaris Solutions ALM Practice Manager. She focuses on TFS implementation and customization in the real world, Visual Studio related training and mentoring, and helping organizations to adopt Agile/Scrum methodologies. Angela had spent the previous 14 years as a custom application developer with a small consulting firm in Chicago, as well as did 5 years at Microsoft as an ALM evangelist. Catch up with her adventures on her blog.

Outside of wrangling TFS, Angela is an avid board gamer, an aspiring runner (up to 2.3 miles without vomiting!), and a Twitter addict. She lives in a 102 year old house in Oak Park that she is constantly working on with her husband David.

Jim Szubryt manages the application architecture team for the Enterprise Workforce at Accenture in Chicago. This responsibility includes managing the TFS Team that supports 2,500 developers in the global development centers. He has worked with the global teams on implementing ALM practices and his team is in the process of piloting TFS 2013.

He is also a Microsoft ALM MVP and a Microsoft Visual Studio ALM Ranger. He was project lead on the disaster recovery planning guidance that was published in March. Currently he is the Project Lead on the Ranger’s guidance for reporting with TFS 2012. Prior to becoming a project Lead he has written parts of the TFS 2012 upgrade guidance and the TFS Server guidance that are found on CodePlex.  His blog can be found here.

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ALM Ruminations Part 2: TPS Reports and Writing Myself a New Pair of Fluevogs

by Angela 3. September 2013 17:58

Yes, Fluevogs. What? I don’t need a minivan!  My husband will find it amusing that I managed to get a plug in there for my favorite boots from the Fluevog fall lineup. It’s OK, I’ll stop talking about shoes now, read on...

If you’ve been following along with my ruminations about the process struggles and pop psychology required to survive software development, you may have already seen my first post. This is a follow-up, and I hope to have MANY more assuming I can find time between TFS installs Winking smile  So without further delay:

Favorite “Drive” quote #2: Goals that people [teams] set for themselves and that are devoted to attaining mastery are usually healthy. But goals imposed by others – sales targets, quarterly returns, standardized test scores, and so on – can sometimes have dangerous side effects.

So why do some managers cling to measuring their people by metrics like Lines of Code, # bugs fixed, and other archaic and easily gamed statistics? I can’t say for sure but I have some theories. One that I keep finding is that it’s often what they KNOW how to measure, and it makes them to feel like they have control over things. But sadly the accuracy of those metrics if often unreliable, at best. Add to that, their direct reports may have figured out how to work the system to meet artificially established goals, hiding issues, and masking discontent. Or perhaps software development management folks haven’t yet figured out what behavioral scientists have known for years - that creative work is actually HARMED by the use of extrinsic rewards systems.

Solving the first issue (bad metrics) is tough, how do you make someone see there is little value in many of the metrics that have traditionally been used since the beginning of IT? What SHOULD they be measuring instead? What are they themselves being measured on, and are those metrics effecting how they reward/punish the software team? I’m still working on perfecting how to address this one myself, and I often immediately point to the Dilbert where the software developer “codes himself a new minivan” as a wake-up call. Often times, it does not even occur to them that their cherished status reports might be at the root of the team’s problems.

The second point (hiding issues) is one I see even more often, where software teams themselves train managers that no matter how unreasonable a deadline, no matter how many times they change requirements, that the tem will double-down, work a lot of overtime and get it done. Even worse, most times the overtime goes unreported, and so any normal manager may conclude that any “small request” can be accommodated at the drop of a hat, and so will continue to do so. The team may be seen as a hero, but can also be seen as one that does not plan well, and is often scrambling to meet deadlines.  It is a double-edged sword. The team inevitably burns itself out trying to keep up, quality suffers in favor of getting features out the door quickly, and the manager often doesn’t get everything they wanted anyway. And no one is happy, not you, not the manager, and certainly not the customer. It’s lose-lose-lose situation and it doesn’t HAVE to be that way.

On the last point (squelching creativity), this is possibly the toughest of all to address, because again, most of us “IT folk” are not psychologists. Maybe your boss does not have an IT background, and simply does not understand that writing software is actually quite complex and difficult. You may have crafted hundreds of web pages, but that doesn’t mean that the 101st web page isn’t a totally different animal. God forbid the framework or tooling upon which you rely to build web pages has gone through a major upgrade recently!  I blame this on the inappropriate and overused comparison of software development to building a house. NO, NO, NO it is NOT just like building a house. And if you think the metaphor holds I doubt if you’ve ever actually written any software, or at least you haven’t in the last 10 years or so. Or maybe you want your software to turn out like just another plastic shoebox in a huge soulless fields of cheap Mc Mansions. Sure, in some cases the issue here is that IT management do not personally feel the pains or understand the challenges that the team is going through, or maybe they, in fact, are causing the pain… After all, the first step to recovery is realizing you have a problem in the first place…Seriously, we need an “agile intervention” offering complete with a 12-step program!

So if this sounds like where you work, buy your boss a copy of Drive and an anthology of Dilbert cartoons, and please stop training them to continue to give you unreasonable goals by working overtime and underreporting issues and bugs to make things look rosy. I promise you, that strategy may payoff in the short term, but in the long term nobody wins!

OK, I have a lot more spinning through my head but I think we’ve done enough navel gazing for this post. Stay tuned for more musings in the next week or so.

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | General | Process Methodology | SDLC | Scrum | development

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DTDPS, What It Is and Why You’ll LOVE it

by Angela 19. July 2013 19:18

It sounds like an STD, I know, but I promise it’s not. and after you’ve given your customers a DTDPS, they will thank you for it Smile  So hopefully I’ve intrigued you enough to read a bit more about this mysterious program. I’ve created a short FAQ to walk you through it:

Now what exactly IS DTDPS? Well first of all it’s a Microsoft offering, so expect MANY acronyms to follow. DTDPS stands for Developer Tools Deployment Planning Services. Specifically, the development tools that these services are meant to be used in conjunction with are the Microsoft Visual Studio ALM platform - Team Foundation Server, Visual Studio, and Microsoft Test Manager (TFS, VS, and MTM for good measure). 

So what does this really do for me? While most people are already very familiar with Visual Studio from a .NET development perspective, many people who own the other tools within the TFS platform are not taking full advantage of them. DTDPS is the solution to this problem, connecting customers with the right partners to make sure they are getting the full value of their ALM investment. Software that sits on the shelf is a huge waste of money.  And from Microsoft’s perspective is something you’re not likely to buy again, so it is of course in their interest to offer such a program.

What kinds of services are included in DTDPS? Currently there are 3 DTDPS offerings available: TFS deployment planning, Visual SourceSafe migration planning, and Microsoft Test Professional deployment planning. You’ll notice a theme here, the word “planning”. These engagements are not meant to be used to implement the tools. Instead, they are short, fixed-length (3 and 5 days) engagements for gathering data and analyzing a customer’s current environment in order to help them build a plan for implementation and adoption of TFS and/or MTM.

But what if I don’t need one of those services, but need other assistance with TFS? Well, it depends. I know, I know, typical consulting answer. These programs can be expanded upon to assist customers with other ALM related concerns, so drop me a line and I’ll be happy to discuss it with you in more detail. Also, the programs being offered may be changing soon so check the site occasionally to see if a program was added to fit your needs.  

Who delivers the engagement? DTDPS is a program delivered through certified and experienced ALM partners like Polaris Solutions to help customers with SA (Software Assurance) benefits to take full advantage of the tools they own.  This means customers benefit from a wealth of relevant experience and established best practices that only comes from having deployed and leveraged the tools in a large number of environments.

OK, I’m intrigued, but how expensive is it? It is FREE. Seriously, and absolutely.  This benefit is available to customers who purchase Microsoft products with SA, think of it as a rewards program. In fact, you may have DTDPS credits without knowing it!  Many of the customers I work with did not know they had DTDPS credits available until I turned them onto the program.

I want in! How do I sign up?  Start at the DTDPS site. Here you can peruse the various services available and see which ones are right for you and your organization.  Then check out the DTDPS QuickStart guide which walks you through the steps of accessing your benefits.  Then you just pick a partner to work with, like us, and you’re on your way to a better way of doing ALM!

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Going to ThatConference? You SHOULD be!

by Angela 12. July 2013 12:36

This year is the second ThatConference and it is going to ROCK. Not only can you spend 3 days in the Wisconsin Dells hanging out with your peers learning about .NET, Java, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Ruby, PHP, agile, Azute, TypeScript, JavaScript, Node JS, Angular JS - has your head exploded yet? And that’s not all that’s being covered, I just got tired of typing in technologies. It’s quite mind-blowing. So pretty much anyone interested in tech will get a lot out of this conference.  Why pay thousands to go to a conference focusing on just one specific language, vendor, or platform? ThatConference is for the community, by the community. And we mean that.

Best part, it’s only $349 and that includes all sessions, keynotes, food, and a heck of a pig roast at the waterpark. You even get s discounted rate for the Kalahari both during the conference and the weekend before in case you want to make a vacation out of it.  I know I am!  Also, did I mention it is at an amazing water park?  With go-karts, laser tag, a climbing wall, a ferris wheel, need I say more? AND, as if that was not awesome enough, for a very small amount (just $39 total) you can even add your family to the fun.  We now have a kids’ track. The Family schedule can be found here: http://www.thatconference.com/Schedule/FamilySchedule 

Check out the session list here: http://www.thatconference.com/sessions. Note: MY session is Monday morning, so hope to see you there! Smile

Here are the specifics (you need to go to registration to see this, so maybe I can save you some clicks):

Attendee $349

The 2013 attendee ticket. Full access to over 125 sessions, keynotes, food and one epic water park. But be careful, water and electronics don’t play together. Ziploc bags not included.

Family Ticket $39

That Conference is a family friendly conference and this year we continue to improve on our family experience. This year we have a dedicated family schedule that includes 2 family sessions each day. Your family will have the opportunity to meet a few animals from the local zoo, to learning how to build some awesome robots with Lego. But that isn’t all! This year families will get their own badges, join us at our daily happy hour, beat another geek during game night and of course join us for a spectacular dinner at our signature pig roast and more. All that fun does come at a very small cost. For just 39.00 per family, you’re helping That Conference bring such epic fun to all.

GiveCamp & The Humanitarian Toolbox (Sat & Sun)  $0 – Heck yeah, it is FREE

On August 10th and 11th, That Conference will host the 2013 Midwest GiveCamp. This year, Midwest GiveCamp and That Conference will team up with the Humanitarian Toolbox in a quest to help build software in support of disaster relief. This is a free event and food will be provided.

Coderetreat ( Sun ) $0 – Heck yeah, it is FREE

On ** Sunday August 11th from 11AM - 7PM** That Conference will host a free Coderetreat. Coderetreat is a day-long, intensive practice event, focusing on the fundamentals of software development and design. By providing developers the opportunity to take part in focused practice, away from the pressures of 'getting things done', the coderetreat format has proven itself to be a highly effective means of skill improvement. Practicing the basic principles of modular and object-oriented design, developers can improve their ability to write code that minimizes the cost of change over time. More information found here: http://coderetreat.org/

Tags:

.NET 4.5 | ALM | ASP.NET | Agile | Application Lifecycle Management | Azure | Cloud Computing | HTML5 | MSDN | Mobile development | SDLC | TFS 2012 | Team Foundation Server | U/X | User Experience | Visual Studio | Windows 8 | iOS | JavaScript

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Join the Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group on Wednesday, May 15 to talk ALM and DevOps

by Angela 6. May 2013 16:39

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Did you know that there was integration between System Center 2012 Operations Manager and Team Foundation Server 2012? This integration is designed to facilitate communication between operations teams and development teams, which is part of an industry movement known as DevOps. The goal is to accelerate Mean Time To Resolution (MTTR) by quickly providing development teams with as much relevant and useful information as possible about a production incident. Since System Center 2012 Operations Manager already has a deep understanding about your production systems and the applications which are running in those environments, this integration puts that information at the fingertips of the development team without requiring back-and-forth human interaction to solicit these details.  Brian will spend some time talking through how this works, the benefits of DevOps and some real world examples of this awesome partnership at work. Now there is even a great image available so you can kick the tires with minimal setup, thanks to Brian Keller: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/visualstudioalm/archive/2013/02/07/devops-virtual-machine-with-team-foundation-server-2012-and-system-center-2012-now-available.aspx. Please note the higher base system requirements to run this image, it's a bigun'.

 

Brian A. Randell is a partner with MCW Technologies, LLC. Brian spends his time between teaching Microsoft technologies to developers, working with new and emerging technologies like Visual Studio 2010 & Team Foundation Server, and consulting worldwide for clients that that range from large Fortune 100 business to state governments to small businesses. In 2010 and 2012, Brian and his team built samples and demonstration content for Microsoft to be used for their worldwide launch activities for Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server. Brian enjoys helping people get the most out of their software. He does this through training and speaking at events such as VSLive!, Tech•Ed, and Microsoft’s PDC. In addition, Brian shares through the written word. He is a co-author of Effective Visual Basic, has written articles for MSDN magazine, MSDN Online and other publications. Brian is a member of Pluralsight’s technical staff. In addition, Brian is currently an Microsoft ALM MVP. You can reach Brian via his blog at http://www.mcwtech.com//blogs/brianr/ or on twitter as @brianrandell.

Date:               Wednesday May 15th 2013

Location:         Microsoft-Chicago 200 E Randolph, 2nd Floor, Chicago

Agenda:          6:30PM Dinner followed by a presentation and demo at 7pm

Registration:      http://chicagoalmug.org/

As always, please be sure to register as Aon Center security will NOT allow individuals to access the building without being pre-registered.

Tags:

MSDN | Application Lifecycle Management | ALM | Visual Studio 2012 | Visual Studio | development | Team Foundation Server | TFS 2012 | TFS Administration | SDLC | SCOM | DevOps | System Center

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Are you managing your database along with your source code? Why not?

by Angela 23. April 2013 17:17

This is both a call to arms and a last notification of the awesome topic being covered at the Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group tomorrow night.

In my day to day dealings with companies I often find that they are not managing their database in any way  ::commence slow head shake:: And in my head I am screaming while I politely smile and calmly ask how they keep track of database changes, how they test updates to the schema, and what their rollback process is. Some companies do actually have some solid processes around those types of things, but many have nothing but a rosary and a case of Redbull. They just backup their servers nightly, and rolling back changes is a nuclear option. There is a better way people!

Ideally, you have you database schema, and any executable database code checked into SOME source control management system. By which I mean you have the SCRIPTS necessary to create those things in source code (see screenshot below). Without a good tool, establishing that can be tedious, daunting, and usually isn’t done, period. One of the things I love about Visual Studio  is its slick handling of database asset management (which has been around since VS 2008). In no time at all you can reverse engineer a database schema and all dependent objects into a database project in Visual Studio and check it in. Yes, just like that. That’s of course just the beginning but I’ll keep this soapbox rant short and expand in future musings.

The tools get better and better with each new version and the SDET tools that plug-in to VS 2012 are the best yet. Here is a quick preview of what that experience looks like in Visual Studio 2012.  I am running Ultimate but you would have the same look and feel in just plain old Professional as well.

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Now if you are still a hard core SSMS user, fear not. You can still get some of the awesomeness of TFS working for you in SSMS, but finding out where to set that up can be tricky. Quick tip, if you already have TFS installed at your company, really you just need the TFS connector and to flip the switch

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And now for the info on the user group, there’s still a little time left to sign up. Do it, DO IT NOW!!

Visual Studio and TFS 2012 for managing your SQL Server Database Assets

Do you have SQL Server database assets you should be managing? If you have a SQL Server database you certainly do! Do you use TFS to manage your other software assets like architectural diagrams, source code and build scripts? Are you using that same great toolset to manage your SQL scripts?  If not, you SHOULD be.

Did you that know some of the same great ALM features that you love about TFS for your source code can be applied to SQL 2005/2008/2012 stored procedures, table definitions, functions and other schema objects? And that's not all, there are also tools for doing schema comparisons, static analysis, unit testing and deployment of your database assets.  Jim will be giving an overview of the database tools available with VS and TFS 2012.

This is a meeting NOT to be missed.

Join Us Wednesday, April 24, 2013 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Location:Microsoft-Downers Grove 3025 Highland Pkwy, Ste 300, Downers Grove

Speaker Bio: Jim Szubryt is the TFS Product Manager for the Enterprise Workforce at Accenture in Chicago and is a Microsoft ALM MVP. His TFS Team supports 2,500 developers in the global development centers and works with teams on implementing ALM processes. His blog can be found here.

Agenda:6:30PM Dinner followed by a presentation and demo at 7pm

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Installing TFS 2012 on SQL 2012? You might run into some problems

by Angela 9. January 2013 05:27

So, like all TFS upgrade projects I work on, I got a last minute request that added a major wrinkle to our neat little TFS upgrade plan. “Can we just use SQL 2012 SP1 instead of SQL 2008 R2 SP1 for TFS 2012? It shouldn’t change anything right?”  FAMOUS. LAST. WORDS. Notice they were not MY words. I had the foresight to say that no, it absolutely WOULD change things because I hadn’t based any of my estimates or my plan of attack on upgrading the DT software to a new major release. And I also stated that while it was a supported configuration for TFS 2012, since no one here had validated that SQL Server 2012 SP1 would work on their custom VMWare implementation, anything could happen and so my estimate and plan was out the window. It was supposed to be a quick, neat, in-place upgrade that required almost no patching or updating OTHER than TFS itself. And then they decided they wanted to be on the latest and greatest everything all at once. Awesome. That always goes well.

So as I expected, everything went smoothly UNTIL we got to the part where I upgraded SQL Server 2012. So let me back up in case you are wondering how I got to that point… I pinged some colleagues on the TFS product team to verify that I could more or less follow my original plan, but work in an upgrade of the SQL Backend to SQL 2012 along the way. We came to the conclusion that to minimize risk and isolate sources of potential issues, that I should follow my original plan and upgrade to TFS 2012 on SQL 2008 R2 *first*.  Then after I verified that configuration was working properly, I would upgrade the database to SQL Server 2012.  I had a plan, and lots of caffeine. I also had this awesome blog post to reference from Martin Hinshewood with some helpful nuggets in it too.  This might even work…

The upgrade to TFS 2012 on SQL Server 2008 R2 went without a hitch. In case you are curious, they are on SQL Standard x64. I was able to hit the server, fire up the collections, connect to Team projects, SharePoint and reporting.  I followed the advice of many blog posts and started with the SQL 2012 Upgrade Advisor.  The only issue I ran into there was that I had to install .NET 4.0 and a specific prerequisite. I love, LOVE when error dialogs give you links that you cannot click on or copy and paste into a browser too. So helpful SQL dudes! So here you go:

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http://go.microsoft.com/Fwlink/?LinkID=216742

Once I thought I had all my prerequisites in order (wait for it), I ran the upgrade advisor tool, counted my green check marks, and started the upgrade to SQL Server 2012. Somehow the Upgrade Advisor DIDN’T make sure that SQL 2008 R2 SP1 was installed before it let me waste 30 minutes walking through dialogs

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Once I got past that installation, the SQL Upgrade finished without another hitch.You will need to restart the server again, but since TFS has been down the whole time anyway it’s not like it matters at this point. Then I started the SQL 2012 SP1 install and it got 99% of the way through the install and ::insert sad trombone:: “The NT service ‘MsDtsServer110’ could not be started”. Who did what again? I searched on it exactly as stated, and SHOCKINGLY got nothing useful back. Again, AWESOME.

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After a bit more digging I found some telling information in the event log under System Events:

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The service account does not have the required user right “Log on as a service.” So the NT Service\MsDtsServer110, which I have no knowledge of through past experiences, is missing a permission and so SSIS keeps failing. I was unfamiliar with the Service account “NT Service\MsDtsServer110” so did some digging around to see what popped up in regards to SQL 2012 installs.  Finally hit a TechNet post that described my exact issue.  For whatever reason, most of the SQL Services run as Network Service, (or some other known service account), but the SSIS service runs as this new guy in SQL 2012, and due to local domain security policy here at this client (just like the article warned), my Setup account was not allowed to provision that account properly.  So we followed the article’s advice for a workaround, reset the logon account to a known service account, started up all the services for SQL Server, and was able to complete the TFS 2012 DT upgrade. WHEW!

So, lots of potential gotchas, none of which were TFS or SQL’s fault, but since most of my friends work for large corporations with complicated rules about access and domain policies coming out of their ears, I thought this might be helpful. Hope it was!

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | MSDN | SDLC | SQL Server 2012 | Team Foundation Server | TFS 2010 | TFS 2012 | TFS Administration | TFS Upgrade | Visual Studio 2012 | VMWare

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