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September 25th, 2013 Edition of the Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group: Visual Studio ALM 2013

by Angela 17. September 2013 09:29

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Well, with all the excitement of ThatConference, I skipped having an August meeting but we’re back! 

With the upcoming release of Visual Studio ALM 2013 tools, it seemed necessary to spend some time digging in! Jim and I will be spending this meeting talking about what's new and cool. We are still arm wrestling over who gets to demo what features, so for now just know it will be awesome! :)

And don't forget to get your fresh downloads of TFS and VS 2013 RC today. MSDN subscribers will also find everything they need through their Subscription site.  If you’re interested in participating in the virtual launch event on November 13th, be sure to check out the VS 2013 Launch Site and sign up soon!

Meeting Date: Wednesday September 25th

Agenda:6:30 - Dinner, 7:00 Presentation

Location:Microsoft-Downers Grove 3025 Highland Pkwy, Ste 300, Downers Grove

Registration:      http://chicagoalmug.org/ 

PLEASE NOTE: Security has gotten tighter at the Downers Grove building.  You MUST register as building security will NOT allow individuals to access the building without being pre-registered.  Their rules, not mine.

 

 

Speaker Bio:

Angela Dugan is the Polaris Solutions ALM Practice Manager. She focuses on TFS implementation and customization in the real world, Visual Studio related training and mentoring, and helping organizations to adopt Agile/Scrum methodologies. Angela had spent the previous 14 years as a custom application developer with a small consulting firm in Chicago, as well as did 5 years at Microsoft as an ALM evangelist. Catch up with her adventures on her blog.

Outside of wrangling TFS, Angela is an avid board gamer, an aspiring runner (up to 2.3 miles without vomiting!), and a Twitter addict. She lives in a 102 year old house in Oak Park that she is constantly working on with her husband David.

Jim Szubryt manages the application architecture team for the Enterprise Workforce at Accenture in Chicago. This responsibility includes managing the TFS Team that supports 2,500 developers in the global development centers. He has worked with the global teams on implementing ALM practices and his team is in the process of piloting TFS 2013.

He is also a Microsoft ALM MVP and a Microsoft Visual Studio ALM Ranger. He was project lead on the disaster recovery planning guidance that was published in March. Currently he is the Project Lead on the Ranger’s guidance for reporting with TFS 2012. Prior to becoming a project Lead he has written parts of the TFS 2012 upgrade guidance and the TFS Server guidance that are found on CodePlex.  His blog can be found here.

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Updating TFS 2012 RTM to TFS 2012.3, Always an Adventure

by Angela 8. August 2013 09:27

I often get asked to upgrade clients’ TFS instances to newer versions, apply updates, etc. and I swear it never “just works”.  Well, it did once, and it was a server I had literally JUST upgraded personally to TFS 2012 that no one had touched since Smile with tongue out  My challenges in upgrading TFS instances are rarely due to problems with TFS itself.  99% of the time someone got paranoid about an account having ‘sysadmin’ rights on TFS databases, or Administrator rights on one of the TFS servers, and removed it without telling anyone and suddenly boom!  Of course “boom” doesn’t happen until I am in there maintaining the server or performing an upgrade... So, onto my story about update 3.

It seems every time I get error messages back from the TFS install wizard, they’re not documented (don’t get me started on that rant!), no one else has blogged about it, and no one has asked about it in a forum that I can find.  So I’m posting it myself so the next person to run into this doesn’t waste a lot of time troubleshooting.

So, I was upgrading from TFS 2012.0 to TFS 2012.3.  I upgraded the server from TFS 2010 on SQL 2008 to TFS 2012 on SQL 2012 myself back in January of this year, with just a few minor hiccups. I returned to the client recently to do some customizations to discover they had undone some of the security setup I worked on. :: heavy sigh::  After granting my account all the necessary rights to effectively administer TFS I started working on the upgrade to TFS 2012.3.  About 20 minutes in I encountered this fun little error: “Error: TF400167: Installation failed for the package (patch_KB2815416) with the following status 0x80070643”

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So to me there were two places to focus for figuring out the issue.  1) figure out what that KB file was and why it was failing to install, and 2) check out the status 0x80070643 and what causes it.

First I tried simply searching on the error message “TF400167 Installation failed for the package”.  A lot of unrelated posts were returned, and a few potentially helpful ones in Japanese.  Alas I do not speak or read that language.  I did see a lot of references to needing to reboot the server in the posts I COULD read, which I did, to no avail.

Then I tried finding any references to KB2815416 and found exactly one, but alas it was not related to the issue I was having. Grrr.

I dug through the error logs, found the one related to that file (KB2815416), and noticed a host of errors including one saying “TFS 2012 timeout while waiting for worker process” and lots of warnings in the TFS logs about issues with the TFS application pool - [Info   @22:09:26.796] Waiting for worker process for application pool Microsoft Team Foundation Server Message Queue Application Pool to stop.  OK then, Guess I’ll restart the app tier and try to install Update 3 again. Still not working. FRACK!

So now I started focusing on the status being thrown back (0x80070643) and I start finding more helpful posts, though most of them related to much older releases of TFS.  Still, gave it a go.  So I’d already rebooted the server, restarted IIS, but then I noted Vicky’s comment about necessary permissions of the user.  Well, I know the user I am logged in as SHOULD have all of those permissions, because it did back in January when I upgraded to TFS 2012, but we’ve been here before with other clients haven’t we?  BINGO! The TFS admin account I was using had its rights revoked on the SQL Server machine and databases. It was a general TFS Admin account that was shared too, not just Angela-consultant account, so that could have been a big problem for someone. Why, WHY does this happen everywhere I go?!?  So I added the TFS admin account back to the server admin group, and gave it sysadmin on the TFS databases, and finished up the upgrade nicely. Good thing I get paid by the hour, I guess.

The only other things I had to do was rebuild the data warehouse (through the admin console) and rebuild the cube to get reports back up and running.  And even though I manually ran the scheduled backup job after the upgrade successfully, when the exact same job ran overnight it failed with error: “TFS database backup job failed with error: TF30040: The database is not correctly configured. Contact your Team Foundation Server administrator.System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException (0x80131904): Could not find stored procedure 'prc_TfsSetTransactionLogMark'.”

Next step is to recreate the backup job and hope that does the trick.

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | TFS | TFS 2012 | TFS Administration | TFS Power Tools | TFS Upgrade | Team Foundation Server | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2012

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DTDPS, What It Is and Why You’ll LOVE it

by Angela 19. July 2013 19:18

It sounds like an STD, I know, but I promise it’s not. and after you’ve given your customers a DTDPS, they will thank you for it Smile  So hopefully I’ve intrigued you enough to read a bit more about this mysterious program. I’ve created a short FAQ to walk you through it:

Now what exactly IS DTDPS? Well first of all it’s a Microsoft offering, so expect MANY acronyms to follow. DTDPS stands for Developer Tools Deployment Planning Services. Specifically, the development tools that these services are meant to be used in conjunction with are the Microsoft Visual Studio ALM platform - Team Foundation Server, Visual Studio, and Microsoft Test Manager (TFS, VS, and MTM for good measure). 

So what does this really do for me? While most people are already very familiar with Visual Studio from a .NET development perspective, many people who own the other tools within the TFS platform are not taking full advantage of them. DTDPS is the solution to this problem, connecting customers with the right partners to make sure they are getting the full value of their ALM investment. Software that sits on the shelf is a huge waste of money.  And from Microsoft’s perspective is something you’re not likely to buy again, so it is of course in their interest to offer such a program.

What kinds of services are included in DTDPS? Currently there are 3 DTDPS offerings available: TFS deployment planning, Visual SourceSafe migration planning, and Microsoft Test Professional deployment planning. You’ll notice a theme here, the word “planning”. These engagements are not meant to be used to implement the tools. Instead, they are short, fixed-length (3 and 5 days) engagements for gathering data and analyzing a customer’s current environment in order to help them build a plan for implementation and adoption of TFS and/or MTM.

But what if I don’t need one of those services, but need other assistance with TFS? Well, it depends. I know, I know, typical consulting answer. These programs can be expanded upon to assist customers with other ALM related concerns, so drop me a line and I’ll be happy to discuss it with you in more detail. Also, the programs being offered may be changing soon so check the site occasionally to see if a program was added to fit your needs.  

Who delivers the engagement? DTDPS is a program delivered through certified and experienced ALM partners like Polaris Solutions to help customers with SA (Software Assurance) benefits to take full advantage of the tools they own.  This means customers benefit from a wealth of relevant experience and established best practices that only comes from having deployed and leveraged the tools in a large number of environments.

OK, I’m intrigued, but how expensive is it? It is FREE. Seriously, and absolutely.  This benefit is available to customers who purchase Microsoft products with SA, think of it as a rewards program. In fact, you may have DTDPS credits without knowing it!  Many of the customers I work with did not know they had DTDPS credits available until I turned them onto the program.

I want in! How do I sign up?  Start at the DTDPS site. Here you can peruse the various services available and see which ones are right for you and your organization.  Then check out the DTDPS QuickStart guide which walks you through the steps of accessing your benefits.  Then you just pick a partner to work with, like us, and you’re on your way to a better way of doing ALM!

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Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group Meets July 31st

by Angela 15. July 2013 12:40

It’s that time again! We’re meeting on July 31st at the Aon Center in downtown Chicago to talk about one of my favorite features of the 2012 toolset, database management with TFS!  You can do some pretty slick stuff with the latest set of free data tools.  That’s right, they are FREE now.  Here are some more details on what’s being covered:

Abstract: One of the trickiest parts of ALM is tracking changes to database schemas related to building and deploying a particular release. The tooling from Microsoft once again changed in 2012 with the replacement of Visual Studio Database Projects (aka “Data Dude”) with SSDT. This hands-on presentation will discuss how to convert from previous versions of Visual Studio Database Projects as well as reverse engineering a schema from an existing database. The presentation will also look at changing and refactoring the database and how to incorporate the tool into the build and deploy cycles.

Speaker Bio: Daniel Sniderman is an Associate Principal Consultant for Magenic, one of the nation's premiere Microsoft Gold Certified Partners. Dan first learned to program FORTRAN in in the late 70’s using a keypunch machine and has thirty years of experience in software development. Since 1993, Dan has specialized on developing business applications on the Microsoft platform. Dan has worked at Magenic since 2004 specializing in customer software development and ALM consulting. In addition to a BA from the University of Illinois, Dan has a MCSD.NET and MCTS in Team Foundation Server 2010. Dan also is a professional trombonist performing regularly with the B.S. Brass Band and The Prohibition Orchestra of Chicago. Dan has two children: Joella age 7 and Elijah age 2.

Date:              Wednesday July 31st 2013

Location:         Microsoft-Chicago 200 E Randolph, 2nd Floor, Chicago

Agenda:          6:30PM Dinner followed by a presentation and demo at 7pm

Registration:      http://chicagoalmug.org/

As always, please be sure to register as Aon Center security will NOT allow individuals to access the building without being pre-registered.

Tags:

development | database management | Visual Studio 2012 | Visual Studio | Team Foundation Server | TFS 2012 | SQL Server 2012 | SQL Server | SDLC | SDET

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Installing TFS 2012 on SQL 2012? You might run into some problems

by Angela 9. January 2013 05:27

So, like all TFS upgrade projects I work on, I got a last minute request that added a major wrinkle to our neat little TFS upgrade plan. “Can we just use SQL 2012 SP1 instead of SQL 2008 R2 SP1 for TFS 2012? It shouldn’t change anything right?”  FAMOUS. LAST. WORDS. Notice they were not MY words. I had the foresight to say that no, it absolutely WOULD change things because I hadn’t based any of my estimates or my plan of attack on upgrading the DT software to a new major release. And I also stated that while it was a supported configuration for TFS 2012, since no one here had validated that SQL Server 2012 SP1 would work on their custom VMWare implementation, anything could happen and so my estimate and plan was out the window. It was supposed to be a quick, neat, in-place upgrade that required almost no patching or updating OTHER than TFS itself. And then they decided they wanted to be on the latest and greatest everything all at once. Awesome. That always goes well.

So as I expected, everything went smoothly UNTIL we got to the part where I upgraded SQL Server 2012. So let me back up in case you are wondering how I got to that point… I pinged some colleagues on the TFS product team to verify that I could more or less follow my original plan, but work in an upgrade of the SQL Backend to SQL 2012 along the way. We came to the conclusion that to minimize risk and isolate sources of potential issues, that I should follow my original plan and upgrade to TFS 2012 on SQL 2008 R2 *first*.  Then after I verified that configuration was working properly, I would upgrade the database to SQL Server 2012.  I had a plan, and lots of caffeine. I also had this awesome blog post to reference from Martin Hinshewood with some helpful nuggets in it too.  This might even work…

The upgrade to TFS 2012 on SQL Server 2008 R2 went without a hitch. In case you are curious, they are on SQL Standard x64. I was able to hit the server, fire up the collections, connect to Team projects, SharePoint and reporting.  I followed the advice of many blog posts and started with the SQL 2012 Upgrade Advisor.  The only issue I ran into there was that I had to install .NET 4.0 and a specific prerequisite. I love, LOVE when error dialogs give you links that you cannot click on or copy and paste into a browser too. So helpful SQL dudes! So here you go:

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http://go.microsoft.com/Fwlink/?LinkID=216742

Once I thought I had all my prerequisites in order (wait for it), I ran the upgrade advisor tool, counted my green check marks, and started the upgrade to SQL Server 2012. Somehow the Upgrade Advisor DIDN’T make sure that SQL 2008 R2 SP1 was installed before it let me waste 30 minutes walking through dialogs

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Once I got past that installation, the SQL Upgrade finished without another hitch.You will need to restart the server again, but since TFS has been down the whole time anyway it’s not like it matters at this point. Then I started the SQL 2012 SP1 install and it got 99% of the way through the install and ::insert sad trombone:: “The NT service ‘MsDtsServer110’ could not be started”. Who did what again? I searched on it exactly as stated, and SHOCKINGLY got nothing useful back. Again, AWESOME.

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After a bit more digging I found some telling information in the event log under System Events:

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The service account does not have the required user right “Log on as a service.” So the NT Service\MsDtsServer110, which I have no knowledge of through past experiences, is missing a permission and so SSIS keeps failing. I was unfamiliar with the Service account “NT Service\MsDtsServer110” so did some digging around to see what popped up in regards to SQL 2012 installs.  Finally hit a TechNet post that described my exact issue.  For whatever reason, most of the SQL Services run as Network Service, (or some other known service account), but the SSIS service runs as this new guy in SQL 2012, and due to local domain security policy here at this client (just like the article warned), my Setup account was not allowed to provision that account properly.  So we followed the article’s advice for a workaround, reset the logon account to a known service account, started up all the services for SQL Server, and was able to complete the TFS 2012 DT upgrade. WHEW!

So, lots of potential gotchas, none of which were TFS or SQL’s fault, but since most of my friends work for large corporations with complicated rules about access and domain policies coming out of their ears, I thought this might be helpful. Hope it was!

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | MSDN | SDLC | SQL Server 2012 | Team Foundation Server | TFS 2010 | TFS 2012 | TFS Administration | TFS Upgrade | Visual Studio 2012 | VMWare

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