Which Edition of Visual Studio 2010 Do I Buy?

Visual Studio 2010 LogoThe launch of Visual Studio 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2010 is just around the corner and I’m starting to hear this question quite a bit:  Which edition of Visual Studio 2010 do I need to buy for my team members?  My usual attempt at humor  would be responding with the question “How much money do you have?” but that doesn’t usually go very well for those with tight budgets. 

The first thing I want to say before we move any further in this discussion is:

  • The first rule of buying any type of Microsoft license is don’t buy retail if you don’t have to.  Say that a few times to yourself.  There are so many different volume licensing programs available that would end up working well for your team and organization size.  Do a little work and phone up your local Microsoft Sales representative to see about your options.  You’ll find that you could save a ton of money and most of them that I have worked with on behalf of my clients are willing to work out what’s best for you and your budget.  Give it a try – it’s really not difficult and could save your team quite a bit of money.

Earlier this year, the suggested retail prices were announced for each of the Visual Studio 2010 editions.  This should be a baseline of how to relatively compare the prices between each edition; not that you would ever pay retail prices right?


The Editions

Thankfully, we don’t have all of the editions that we had in the 2008 and 2005 releases.  In the 2010 release, there are essentially now three editions plus a new edition for generalist/non-technical testers.

Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate BoxVisual Studio 2010 Premium BoxVisual Studio 2010 Professional BoxVisual Studio 2010 Test Professional Box

I won’t spend time talking about which features are available in each edition and how to compare them because I believe the Microsoft Visual Studio marketing site is doing a really great job with the high-level overview.

Personal aside/opinion:  I believe IntelliTrace, alone, is worth the cost of Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate for you junior/senior developers.  I’m talking about both the local debugging scenario and the ability for testers to gather IntelliTrace logs while testing and then opening those up to troubleshoot a bug.  Both scenarios have been extremely valuable to me personally when I have both my developer & tester hats on.  I do understand that it takes some work getting the latter scenario to work correctly (symbol server, source serverTFS builds, etc.)  and also takes some effort around getting developers to actually learn how to use it well but it’s totally worth it in the long run.  Don’t hesitate to find some help from an excellent Microsoft Partner specializing in the Visual Studio ALM products, like Notion Solutions, if you want some assistance getting your developers/testers trained and setting up all of the nuts & bolts to get everything working.  (Shameless plug, I know, but what can I say?)



Seriously, just be sure to get the MSDN Professional subscription included when you purchase your Visual Studio licenses.  (More information about MSDN Subscriptions)

Not only that, make sure your IT department (officially, the volume licensing administrator at your organization) gives all of your team members the “benefit access number” so that each team member can register for the MSDN benefits.  I can’t believe how many IT organizations don’t want their team members to access their benefits because “they might download the software at home” or heaven forbid “install it on their machines themselves.”  Come on…  You can tell I’ve heard several excuses.

Some of the new benefits of an MSDN Professional subscription are now that you receive priority forums support in addition to the included technical support calls, a real TFS 2010 CAL and a real TFS 2010 production license among many of the other benefits.



Scenario-Based Purchase Decisions

Microsoft did a good job reducing the number of editions but for some reason I’m still getting the question about what to purchase.  That tells me that people are still confused about deciding what’s appropriate for each team member especially when they have to consider the cost difference.  (Aside:  BTW, comparable ALM products on the market are SO much more expensive for what they deliver.)

More than likely, you are going to want to look at what scenarios you want to enable for your team.  Earlier this week, some colleagues at work and I were able to put together this presentation that goes through the different scenarios that I think most people would be interested in taking advantage of when adopting Visual Studio 2010 and TFS 2010.  You can look at each individual scenario and it will point out what you need to purchase for the different roles on your team.  After each of the individual scenarios are mentioned, you can even start to look at the most common combinations and see what that looks like.  Of course, I couldn’t go through every combination but if you don’t see one, post a comment.

Final Thoughts

I hope that you were able to get some information to help you make a better purchase decision.  Any suggestions?  I’ll be happy to update this blog post or the PowerPoint deck from time to time with those suggestions or other common combination requests.  Just leave me a comment below!


Take care,

Ed Blankenship

Posted in TFS | VSTS

Thursday, 01 December 2011 00:10:39 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
i am a banker and i need advice about what version of VISUAL STUDIO i need to buy : i need to build simple application with some labels and buttons and to connect into sqldatabase and i also need to use date picker and some other options
so please , what version of visual studio u advice me to buy , my application is not so complicated but if i need more i will upgrade
need ur answer as soon as possible
Sunday, 16 October 2016 05:42:08 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
Microsoft Visual Studio is one of my favourite bits of software, I love it - Winona Web
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