Nov 06, 2013

Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) with Visual Studio 2012: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012 in the Cloud

Raghav Pullela

Raghav Pullela

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This is part two of a ten part series on Application Life Cycle Management (ALM) using Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012.  If you missed the series overview or part one, you may want to read those before continuing.

Today we’re going to talk about running Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012 in the cloud. The greatest joy of running it in the cloud is that you don’t have to install, configure or manage it. Scaling up hosting, disaster recovery and ongoing maintenance are not your problem.

Letting someone else handle your infrastructure and using the cloud is the fastest way you can speed up development. With Team Foundation Service, you get an end-to-end, cloud-based ALM solution that can handle everything from version control and code reviews to Agile planning and automated build. Best of all, you can access it from just about anywhere.

Easy Sign-Up and Web Access

Visual Studio Team Foundation Service has a hassle free signup experience that enables teams to create and set up a complete Agile Application Lifecycle Management system in a matter of seconds. It’s that simple and quick. With the help of a web browser and an email address, you can get your team up and running quickly.


You will need to provide a URL for your instance of Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012, provide a Windows Live ID, accept Terms of Service and Privacy Statement, and click Create Account. Within seconds your account is created, and the Agile Application Lifecycle Management system is set up and available for use.

Now all you need to do is set up your team members and add them to the service. It is hosted in the cloud, so Visual Studio Team Foundation Service is available to all the team members regardless of location. They simply have to sign in and provide their credentials. This is an ideal solution if the teams are geographically distributed. If you have a web connection, you can access Visual Studio Team Foundation Service from anywhere.

Easy Collaboration with External Contributors

During different phases of your project you will need to communicate and collaborate with contributors such as users or specialists who are external to your organization and in different parts of the world. Providing system and network access to these external stakeholders and contributors has always been a very challenging and time consuming task thereby adding costs to the project as a whole.

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With Visual Studio Team Foundation Service running in the cloud, you can provide access to the systems in seconds, and Microsoft takes all the burden of the infrastructure security and monitoring. All you have to do is enter an email address of the person who needs access to the system and you are done.


You can then specify the projects they can access and what permissions they can have in the projects. You can control the permissions on lots of operations they can perform in the project as well.

Zero Infrastructure Management

Having the Visual Studio Team Foundation Service in the cloud, you can spend your time actually building great and spectacular software, instead of wasting huge amounts of time managing hardware infrastructure or running software updates on the host machines. As the administrator of Visual Studio Team Foundation Service, you do not have to concern yourself with tasks that do not add value, such as operating system updates or software updates, making regular backups, running patches on the server to make sure it is all good, or answering your phone in the middle of the night for hardware or power failures. Instead of that, it is all outsourced to Microsoft and they will be responsible for maintaining all the hardware infrastructure.

You also have guaranteed access to world-class data centers and network infrastructure with the peace of mind that Microsoft ensures that you have all the latest updates on your server installed, that the system is protected, and that your data is backed up and secure. You are totally free from all of that to focus on what is most critical to you: building amazing software that your clients are delighted about.

Having said all this, don’t forget to join us next week for an overview of ALM with VS 2012 and TFS 2012, which talks about an overall picture of what tools Microsoft gives us with Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server to aid us in getting better at Application Lifecycle Management.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn for more great tips.  Have a question related to the blog series or ALM in general?  Use the comments section below to join the conversation.

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