There is lot of confusion around Team Foundation Server (TFS) and Visual Studio 2005 Team System (VSTS) licensing. Although, Microsoft has published a detailed whitepaper (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=55933) around licensing, still I find many questions in VSTS Forums. So I’m writing the following FAQ that answers many commonly asked questions:
Q1. What are the different options available for using TFS?
At present, you can have one of the following options:
|Type of TFS||Description||When shall I use?|
|TFS Trial Edition||This is available for free and works only for 180 from the day of installation.||You are evaluating TFS. Based on this evaluation you’ll decide to buy TFS Licensed version. For TFS Clients, you can use Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite Trial Edition, which is also available valid for 180 days.|
|TFS Workgroup Edition||It has identical functionality to TFS full version with the exception that it is limited to five users only. It is provided with Team System client products that are licensed with MSDN Premium Subscriptions.||You are a small team and maximum 5 users would be using TFS. Or you already have MSDN subscription that provides you Team Suite or Team Edition client – you want to pilot or test TFS in one team before investing in full fledged version. Also, you do not need Client Access Licenses (CALs) for those five users.|
|TFS||It is a full feature edition and needs to be bought separately. It does not have any limit on number of user or number of days.||You’ve already evaluated TFS and want to utilize capabilities with more and more users. You’ll need as many CALs as the numbers of users (or devices) accessing TFS.|
Q2. How many TFS Server licenses I need when I’ve installed TFS in a dual server deployment mode (AT and DT on different servers)?
You need one server license for every server where TFS is installed. So you’ll need TWO TFS server licenses for a dual server deployment. However, you do not need extra CALs.
Q3. If I’m using Data Tier (DT) in a SQL Server Cluster, do I need TFS Server license for every instance of cluster? Yes. For example, if you have deployed TFS in dual server mode, where AT is installed on one server and DT in installed on a SQL Server cluster with two nodes, you’ll need in total three licenses for TFS. In this case also, you do not need extra CALs Q4. Do I need additional TFS server license if I’m using TFS Proxy also?
Yes, you need full TFS license even for TFS Proxy. However, you do not need extra CALs.
Q5. Do I need additional TFS server license for using TF Build? No, you do not TFS license for Build even if TF Build is installed on a different machine from a machine that hosts TFS. Also, you do not need Client Access License (CAL) for a device where TF Build is installed for server to server communication between TF Build and TFS. However, you need a CAL for users who are managing builds. Q6. What are different types of clients available from Microsoft? At present, the following licensed Team Clients are available:
- Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Architects
- Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Developers
- Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Testers
- Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite
Each of the above clients contains one CAL for TFS. So if a user has license for one of the client, he/she does not need additional CAL to access TFS. However, if you access TFS or SQL Server (where TFS is installed) in other ways such as with Team Explorer or through MS Project or MS Excel or with a third party – you need to additional CAL for each user. Only in the following situations, you don’t need addition CAL:
- View static TFS data that has been manually distributed outside of the server software e.g. MS Project or MS Excel files containing work items (Note that if you use these files to update or publish work items, you need CAL)
- Receive TFS reports through e-mail and do not indirectly access the server to refresh, create, or update data.
- Receive printed TFS reports.
Q7. There are users who access Team Project Portal in Windows SharePoint Services (WSS). Do I need CAL for such users?
As far as I understand, if they using WSS site in the following ways, you do not need
- Accessing reports that have been manually distributed
- Accessing files containing static TFS data (such as MS Project or MS Excel files containing work items) for READONLY purposes. However, if your files are connected with TFS and get refreshed you will need CAL
- Using WSS for any other WSS functionality (such as Threads, Events, Announcements, Lists etc.)
Q8. Do I need CAL if I just access Process Guidance through WSS Team Project Portal?
I think, Process Guidance is “static TFS data” – from that angle, a CAL is not required. But I’m little doubtful here. I would appreciate, if someone from Microsoft can clarify here.
Q9. I heard that you need extra license for TFS Load Agent also. Isn’t the included in VS Team Edition for Software Testers?
Team Edition for Software Testers does not include the ability to “harness” multiple physical devices to generate additional load; load generation scenarios are limited by the hardware. Typically, for the recommended software configurations, this is approximately 1,000 virtual users (VU). If you need to simulate more VUs using multiple machines, you need to buy one Load Agent license for every 1000 VUs (i.e. capability of TFS Load agent on one machine). Q10. Where can I Download Trial Editions?
- TFS Trial Edition: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=64135
- VSTS Team Suite Trial Edition: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=5677DDC4-5035-401F-95C3-CC6F46F6D8F7&displaylang=en
Q11. If I use TFS Trial Edition or Workgroup Edition, would I be able to upgrade these editions to a full Edition
Yes, Microsoft support different types of upgrades for TFS. You can look here (http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms404844.aspx ) for more details.
Q12. Where can I find more details?
The TFS licensing whitepaper (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=55933) published by Microsoft explains the licensing considerations and scenarios in detail. You should read that document before making your final decision about the TFS licenses. The pricing info is available at http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/howtobuy/default.aspx.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is just my understanding gained from licensing whitepaper (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=55933) and other publicly available information. I’m providing this with the intention of helping community. However, this should not be regarded as official FAQ from Microsoft. If you find any anomalies here, please point me, I’d correct those.