TFS 2013 Includes Agile Planning in TFS CAL

One of the changes for the July 1, 2013 update of the Microsoft Product Use Rights will help teams who have team members who are contributing as part of their agile process and practicing ALM.  The following two activities will be moving to be included in the standard Team Foundation Server CAL beginning with TFS 2013:

Previously,  these were capabilities that were reserved for users with Visual Studio Test Professional, Visual Studio Premium, and Visual Studio Ultimate.  The following activities will now be included for those with Visual Studio Test Professional or above in TFS 2013:

Ed Blankenship

Posted in Licensing | TFS | VSTS

Difference Between Microsoft Test Manager and Visual Studio Test Professional

Microsoft Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 BoxWhen talking with our consulting customers and leading our 4-Hour Testing Workshops across North America, there is some common confusion about what exactly the differences are between Microsoft Test Manager and Visual Studio Test Professional.  It’s a pretty simple difference that I’ll see if I can help clarify and share some additional news for the vNext release of the Visual Studio family of products at the same time.  Once you get the difference, it will make perfect sense!

Visual Studio Test Professional

Visual Studio Test Professional is one of the different SKUs that you can purchase from the Visual Studio family of products.  What this means is that this is the “box” that you buy.  You can’t buy Microsoft Test Manager.  You buy an edition of Visual Studio that includes Microsoft Test Manager.  Visual Studio Test Professional happens to be the edition that many people will get when they are looking only to get Microsoft Test Manager (in addition to a TFS CAL and MSDN Subscription).

Microsoft Test Manager

Microsoft Test Manager IconMicrosoft Test Manager is the application you use to interact with Team Foundation Server to:

  • Create and manage test plans
  • Create, author, and maintain manual and automated test cases
  • Manage association of automation for test case artifacts
  • Run exploratory tests
  • Analyze previous manual, automated, or exploratory test runs
  • File rich actionable bugs while executing manual test runs or from automated test runs
  • Create and provision individual or shared lab environments with multiple machines for development or testing with Lab Management
  • Connect to physical or virtual lab environments for development or testing with Lab Management
  • Facilitate structured User Acceptance Testing (UAT) from business users
  • And lots more…

Microsoft Test Manager actually is included with two of the different SKUs or Visual Studio editions in the Visual Studio 2010 release.  You can acquire either Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate or Visual Studio 2010 Test Professional to receive Microsoft Test Manager.

Visual Studio “11” Release Changes – So Far

(Written for Beta) Microsoft has announced that Microsoft Test Manager will now be included in the Visual Studio Premium edition in addition to Visual Studio Ultimate and Visual Studio Test Professional.  That’s a great change and brings a lot of value to the Visual Studio Premium SKU!  You can find out some additional comparisons (that have been publicly announced so far) here on the Microsoft site:

Visual Studio "11" Beta Edition Comparison - Microsoft Test Manager

Need Help?

Let me know if you have any additional questions!  We help customers all the time figure out what types of licenses they should get, advocate to get the best pricing for their company, and sort through all of the licensing details to come up with the best scenario.  Contact me and I’ll be happy to get you started down the right path.  BTW – if there is also one thing to remember, don’t pay retail prices for any Visual Studio licenses before you come talk to us!

Ed Blankenship

TFS Users No Longer Need CAL for Viewing Reporting Data

Effective for Team Foundation Server 2010 users and assumingly going forward for Team Foundation Server 11, users who view read-only data for reporting purposes no longer need a TFS Client Access License (CAL).  More information about the announcement from Brian Harry is available here:

The definition of “reporting data” is not defined completely but the spirit of the licensing change is to address a challenge the Microsoft MVPs and other customer channels have brought up:  occasional stakeholders who are looking at reporting data should not be required to be licensed fully with a TFS CAL as other team members who contribute regularly to a software release.  They traditionally want to view progress or see potential issues.

Reporting data is exposed in several different places in Team Foundation Server:

  • Excel Workbooks
  • SQL Reporting Services Reports
  • Rich Dashboards with SharePoint Team Portals (using SharePoint 2010 Enterprise)
  • Custom Applications Displaying Read-Only Reporting Data
  • Other Self-Service Business Intelligence Tools

You may need other types of CALs depending on the particular scenario but thankfully you won’t need a TFS CAL.  Also, if these users are “writing” or “updating” information back to TFS, then that wouldn’t be considered viewing reporting data.  You’ll likely need a TFS CAL for those scenarios.  Remember though that users have always been able to create new bugs & feature requests without needing a TFS 2010 CAL as well using Work Item Only View.  This is a great improvement with this new addition to the CAL exclusions for TFS.

This licensing change is retroactive and in addition to the announcement that the Visual Studio Team Explorer Everywhere client for Eclipse-based IDEs is now free!

Ed Blankenship

Visual Studio Team Explorer Everywhere Now Available for Free

Visual Studio Team Explorer Everywhere 2010 BoxThe cross-platform (Windows, Linux, and Apple Mac OS) Eclipse-based Team Explorer, Visual Studio Team Explorer Everywhere, is now available without any costs!  The free version will continue to not include a TFS Client Access License (CAL) so just be sure you are covered elsewhere for CALs if you happen to need one in your environment!

It’s really great news for all those software engineers not using Visual Studio for building applications or for those using Linux or Mac OS and want to interact with the rest of the software engineering teams using Team Foundation Server.

Additional Information

Announcement Details

Previously sold as a separate product, Visual Studio Team Explorer Everywhere 2010 works with your favorite Eclipse-based IDE, in the operating system of your choice, and helps you collaborate across your .NET and Java development teams using Team Foundation Server 2010. It’s an easy-to-install standalone plug-in that's now a free download. A Team Foundation Server CAL may be required. See Visual Studio 2010 and MSDN Licensing for details.

Download Here


Ed Blankenship

Posted in Licensing | TFS | VSTS

Raffle for Two MSDN Subscriptions with Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate at Charleston Bar Camp

Charleston Bar Camp Logo

Earlier this year following the Visual Studio 2010 release, I got a great package from Microsoft (MVP Program and Visual Studio Product Team) that included some complimentary Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN Subscription activation cards to give away.  I hadn’t found the right opportunity but this Saturday I will be attending (and have submitted a session proposal) the Charleston Bar Camp.  This should be a very interesting experience since it will be my first bar camp.  Anyhow, I have been looking for ways to contribute and foster our local software development community in Charleston and decided I would like to give two MSDN subscriptions out during the event.

What is Included?

Two winners will receive a prize package that contains:

Professional Application Lifecycle Management with Visual Studio 2010 Book Cover

One (1) copy of Professional Application Lifecycle Management with Visual Studio 2010 by Wrox



One (1) MSDN Subscription with Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate (Not for Resale) Includes:

· Team Foundation Server 2010

· SQL Server 2008 R2

· Windows 7

· Windows Server 2008 R2

· Office 2010

· Office 2011 for Mac

· One-year of updates

Professional Team Foundation Server 2010 Book Cover

One (1) copy of Professional Team Foundation Server 2010 by Wrox

(When Released)



 Total Retail Value for Prize Packages: $24,007.96


Option 1 - Lab Management Session Attendees

Attendees to the Virtual Lab Management with Team Foundation Server 2010 session (if selected and scheduled) will have an opportunity to win one of the prize packages. Bring a business card with your name, company/occupation, city, e-mail address, and Twitter account. One lucky winner will be selected from the submitted business cards after the session has completed.


Option 2 - All Bar Camp Charleston Attendees

On the back of this page, write your “pitch” for why you think you should win one of the prize packages and what you would do with it if you were to win. The best pitch, as determined by the judge(s) will be selected to win the prize package. Bonus points are given for impactful local projects, giving back to the local developer community, or volunteering time & talents for a local non-profit organization.


Good luck!

Download Flyer


MSDN Subscriptions donated by the Microsoft MVP Program, Visual Studio Product Team, and...


Ed Blankenship

Microsoft MVP of the Year, Visual Studio ALM
Co-Author, Professional Team Foundation Server 2010 by Wrox


Application Lifecycle Management & Team Foundation Server Consultant
Notion Solutions

Twitter: @EdBlankenship


Lab Management Released and Included with MSDN Subscriptions

This is some really exciting news for customers of Visual Studio 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2010!  Today, Microsoft has announced that customers who have purchased Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN or Visual Studio 2010 Test Professional with MSDN now receive the Lab Management capabilities for Team Foundation Server!  That means no per-processor licensing fees for your physical host servers that will be hosting your virtual machines!

Earlier this year, I passed on Lab Management news that indicated that it would cost $1,599 per processor (retail.)  Microsoft has listened to the feedback and has also made it a “feature” in the Visual Studio family instead of a completely separate product.

Microsoft has also announced an update to the Lab Management functionality in the different products to bring it to full RTM/RTW status.  You’ll recall that when Visual Studio 2010 released earlier this year that the Lab Management features ended up still being released in a “Release Candidate” status.  The product team has spent the last few months gathering feedback and include updates to improve performance throughout the product.  The “patch” will be available later this month.  I highly recommend updating to the latest version by installing the patch as soon as it becomes available.

When it is released, you will see the following “extra” installation media become available in your MSDN Subscriber Download listings:

  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager* (SCVMM)
  • Visual Studio 2010 Agents

*A grant of “limited use” rights for SCVMM are included.  This means that you can only use SCVMM for your Visual Studio 2010 Lab Management test lab.

This is a great move for customers.  Creating a virtual lab management can be an expensive endeavor for business.  I recall visiting customers who have spent tens of thousands of dollars on competing products like VMWare Lab Manager.  This is really bringing virtual lab management to everyone!

If you are curious about more information, see Brian Harry’s announcement.


Ed Blankenship

Can I Use Microsoft Test Manager for User Acceptance Tests?

Microsoft Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 Box

That answer is a resoundingly yes, in my opinion, and I believe you would find some real value in having your UAT testers using Microsoft Test Manager to perform those UAT tests.  However, I think the real question that should be asked is do you have to purchase a license for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Test Professional to use Microsoft Test Manager to perform those User Acceptance Tests (UAT?)



What are you talking about, Ed? 

There is a licensing exclusion that exists that really helps out when business users connect to development/test environments to perform user acceptance testing.  This exclusion really kicks in and helps when those development/test servers have used Operating Systems, SQL  Server, etc. licenses that conform to the MSDN EULA.  The exclusion basically says those non-technical business users don’t require an MSDN subscription to connect to those development/test servers if they are only performing user acceptance tests.  Normally, each person who connects to a development/test environment that has MSDN software installed on it (like the OS) requires that each of them has an active MSDN subscription.

Here’s the full description directly from the Visual Studio 2010 Licensing Whitepaper:

User Acceptance Testing

At the end of a software development project, end users (or team members acting as proxies for end users) typically review an application and determine whether it meets the necessary criteria for release—a process sometimes called user acceptance testing or UAT. MSDN software may be accessed by end users who do not have MSDN subscriptions for purposes of acceptance testing, provided that the use of the software otherwise complies with all MSDN licensing terms.

Under MSDN subscription licenses, user acceptance testing must not use live production data. If a copy of any live production data is used, then that copy of the data must be discarded after the testing is complete and cannot be incorporated back into the live production data.

So back to the real question…


Do you have to purchase a license to use Microsoft Test Manager to perform UAT?

Well that’s the question that a client brought up.  Did they have to purchase a license of at least Visual Studio 2010 Test Professional for those business users if they wanted to use Microsoft Test Manager to perform the UAT tests?

Microsoft’s answer is:  Yes

The fact that you are using Microsoft Test Manager, in their opinion, is that you are doing more technical & formalized testing than what they would consider to be in the UAT licensing exclusion for MSDN software.


Ed Blankenship

Can I Collect an IntelliTrace Log in Production?

I’ve been hearing this question quite a bit…  “Can I collect an IntelliTrace log in Production?”  This would be a really good idea especially now that there is a standalone command-line utility, IntelliTrace.exe, that you can run to collect IntelliTrace log files.  Unfortunately, it looks like the Visual Studio 2010 Licensing White Paper answers that question for us on page 28:

The IntelliTrace DDA and/or IntelliTrace.exe cannot be used:

  • On a device or server in a production environment.
  • For purposes of system or application monitoring.
  • In non-interactive scenarios other than as part of an automated test or debugging-data collection session.

Bummer! :(  Honestly, I imagine that has to do with something around how IntelliTrace works and Microsoft doesn’t feel comfortable the impact it may have on running Production environments.  Just my conjecture though…

You’ll notice that you can use IntelliTrace in other instances though; most notably on development & test environments!

The IntelliTrace diagnostic data adapter (DDA) and/or IntelliTrace.exe can be used for test and debugging purposes:

  • As part of an interactive test or debugging session.
  • As part of an automated test or debugging-data collection session that is authored by a licensed user and triggered by the same or another licensed user.

You can even share IntelliTrace files between two companies as long as both companies are properly licensed!

IntelliTrace files may be shared among two or more companies as long as all users capturing and debugging IntelliTrace files are licensed with either Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate or Visual Studio Test Professional 2010, depending on the activities they are performing. For example, a company can share IntelliTrace files with an external development consultant. Similarly. a company can use an external company for testing purposes and debug IntelliTrace files provided by that vendor.

Here were the common scenarios mentioned in the licensing white paper.  See if you happen to fit into one of them:

Example 1: Finding a defect in a test environment Company A is building a Web application. All the developers are licensed for Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN, and the testers are licensed with Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 with MSDN. During a test run a defect is discovered in the test environment that is difficult to reproduce in a development environment. The test machines have previously been configured with the Visual Studio Test Agent 2010, which includes the IntelliTrace DDA. The tester uses the Microsoft Test Manager to execute the test case with the IntelliTrace diagnostic data adapter (DDA) enabled. When the defect is encountered, the tester files a new bug, with the IntelliTrace files from each of the test machines is automatically attached to the bug. When a developer opens the bug using Visual Studio Ultimate, he or she can open the IntelliTrace files and step through the execution.

Example 2: Working with an external consultant In Example 1, Company A uses an external consultant to help with development. If the external consultant is licensed for Visual Studio Ultimate, he or she can open and debug the IntelliTrace files provided by Company A.

Example 3: Working with an external test vendor In Example 1, Company A uses Company B as an outsourced test vendor. The two companies can work together using IntelliTrace as long as all developers at Company A and all testers at company B are licensed appropriately.

I’m not sure what the minimal technical footprint is to get IntelliTrace.exe to collect an iTrace file just yet but my answer right now will be to have one of these installed:

  • Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate
  • Visual Studio 2010 Test Professional
  • Visual Studio 2010 Test Agents (additional software) <--- probably the smallest impact to a system

If I find out some more information about this scenario, then I’ll be putting together a future blog post!


Take care,

Ed Blankenship