Microsoft Plans Scaled-Down Team Foundation Server

TFS Basic Profile addresses two core objections to the full-blown TFS: high cost and complex installation

Microsoft hopes to convince development shops to move from its Visual SourceSafe version control management system to the more modern Visual Studio Team Foundation Server by offering a scaled-down version of TFS.

The company on Monday took the wraps off TFS Basic Profile, which will work with the upcoming release of Visual Studio Team System 2010, expected next year. Matt Carter, director of Visual Studio product management, disclosed plans for TFS Basic Profile in a presentation at VSLive!, taking place this week in Orlando.

TFS Basic Profile aims to overcome two core objections to the full-blown TFS: high cost and complex installation, Carter said in an interview. Although TFS requires a full server install, the new TFS Basic can run on a client device running Windows Vista or Windows 7. Microsoft is not yet revealing pricing, but Carter said it would appeal to those on Visual SourceSafe.

"There are still a lot of people who have stuck with Visual SourceSafe even though it wasn’t the most modern tool, because it was easy to set up, maintain, and administer, and it required less hardware than TFS," Carter said.

"If you have a machine sitting under your desk and that's been the box you use for source control, you will have more options than you had previously," he added. "It's for those who want to walk rather than run with TFS. They can get up and running quickly and without the level of commitment of a full Team Foundation Server install, but when they need it they are able to migrate up."

Observers say Microsoft has struggled to convince IT organizations wedded to VSS, which has been around for nearly 15 years, to move to TFS. Many have moved to open source alternatives such as CVS and Subversion.

"Microsoft has been losing share because even though they have a better source code control solution than Visual SourceSafe but it costs more and requires a more complex installation," said Andrew Brust, chief of new technology at twentysix New York and a VSLive! program organizer who attended Carter's session.

"This is a way to recapture the people who used Visual SourceSafe and bring them back to the Microsoft fold with a clear path to upgrading to the full TFS if and when that time comes," Brust added.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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