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My Experiences Upgrading to TFS 2013 During “Upgrade Weekend”

by Angela 14. September 2013 13:56

So this weekend is officially TFS 2013 Upgrade Weekend.  What is that you ask? TFS evangelist extraordinaire Brian Keller blogged about it here, but in short it is a weekend where Microsoft is encouraging people to get on the TFS 2013 RC bits right away, and to incentivize us, product team people are on-line today to help us should we run into any issues. Sweet huh? :)

The TFS upgrade to 2013 was super fast and straightforward, I was literally done in under an hour including upgrading my build service. Unfortunately for me, I got up super early (had to get fresh flowers and donuts at the Oak Park farmers market!!) and kicked off my upgrade around 9:30am.  So by the time the upgrade support Lync meeting came on-line at 11:00am I was done with the install and had already started smoke testing. Not a bad problem to have right?

Well, at least I thought I was done. I did run into a few minor issues along the way, a few of my own doing and one bump related to my wireless being grumpy (OF ALL DAYS TO DO THAT!). But the only issue that was possibly related to the upgrade was corruption of my VS 2012 install bits.  When I smoke tested the upgrade, everything looked good until I started kicking off builds.  Some of my builds were no longer working ::sad trombone::  First, I had an issue with builds that ran automated UI tests:

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I’d certainly seen this issue before, and it was always because the VS bits necessary to run the build were not installed on the build server.  But in my case I KNEW they were there, I had put them there myself some time ago! So I went to the server and out of curiosity I launched VS, and good thing I did.

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::sad trombone #2::

I figured there must have been some kind of corruption after installing TFS 2013, or perhaps from upgrading the build service (they are on the same box), so I reinstalled VS 2012. No biggie…certainly fixed THAT issue.  However when I ran the build again, I encountered another error, this time around the data tools:

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This error was even nice enough to link me directly to the place where I could download what I needed for a fix (i.e. reinstalling SSDT tools). So, after re-installing the data tools, I rebooted the server for good measure and the builds ran perfectly, everything looked good.  Lastly I installed VS 2013 RC as well, we will certainly need it as our folks will soon be chomping at the bit to use all of the new tools.  All I need to do now is configure a few projects to take advantage of the new Agile Portfolio Management features

So not a bad morning for a TFS upgrade, and if you haven’t upgraded yours, now you know how fast and easy it is :)  If you;re still nervous about going it alone, you don’t have to! Microsoft offers a program called Deployment Planning Services that many customers qualify for.  You may be eligible for free services (free consulting funding) from people like me that can help you get up and running on TFS, regardless of what version you want to upgrade to or what you are on today!

 

Lastly, MAD, MAD props to Microsoft and the TFS product team for offering free support today. Even though it was so smooth that I barely needed them. They seriously deserve a special sparkle pony award for their hard work, and for giving up a weekend to make sure we had everything we needed to succeed!

Tags:

Application Lifecycle Management | ALM | Build Automation | DTDPS | MSDN | SDLC | Team Foundation Server | TFS 2012 | TFS Upgrade | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2012 | VS 2013 | VS 2012 | TFS 2013

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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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Are you managing your database along with your source code? Why not?

by Angela 23. April 2013 17:17

This is both a call to arms and a last notification of the awesome topic being covered at the Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group tomorrow night.

In my day to day dealings with companies I often find that they are not managing their database in any way  ::commence slow head shake:: And in my head I am screaming while I politely smile and calmly ask how they keep track of database changes, how they test updates to the schema, and what their rollback process is. Some companies do actually have some solid processes around those types of things, but many have nothing but a rosary and a case of Redbull. They just backup their servers nightly, and rolling back changes is a nuclear option. There is a better way people!

Ideally, you have you database schema, and any executable database code checked into SOME source control management system. By which I mean you have the SCRIPTS necessary to create those things in source code (see screenshot below). Without a good tool, establishing that can be tedious, daunting, and usually isn’t done, period. One of the things I love about Visual Studio  is its slick handling of database asset management (which has been around since VS 2008). In no time at all you can reverse engineer a database schema and all dependent objects into a database project in Visual Studio and check it in. Yes, just like that. That’s of course just the beginning but I’ll keep this soapbox rant short and expand in future musings.

The tools get better and better with each new version and the SDET tools that plug-in to VS 2012 are the best yet. Here is a quick preview of what that experience looks like in Visual Studio 2012.  I am running Ultimate but you would have the same look and feel in just plain old Professional as well.

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Now if you are still a hard core SSMS user, fear not. You can still get some of the awesomeness of TFS working for you in SSMS, but finding out where to set that up can be tricky. Quick tip, if you already have TFS installed at your company, really you just need the TFS connector and to flip the switch

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And now for the info on the user group, there’s still a little time left to sign up. Do it, DO IT NOW!!

Visual Studio and TFS 2012 for managing your SQL Server Database Assets

Do you have SQL Server database assets you should be managing? If you have a SQL Server database you certainly do! Do you use TFS to manage your other software assets like architectural diagrams, source code and build scripts? Are you using that same great toolset to manage your SQL scripts?  If not, you SHOULD be.

Did you that know some of the same great ALM features that you love about TFS for your source code can be applied to SQL 2005/2008/2012 stored procedures, table definitions, functions and other schema objects? And that's not all, there are also tools for doing schema comparisons, static analysis, unit testing and deployment of your database assets.  Jim will be giving an overview of the database tools available with VS and TFS 2012.

This is a meeting NOT to be missed.

Join Us Wednesday, April 24, 2013 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Location:Microsoft-Downers Grove 3025 Highland Pkwy, Ste 300, Downers Grove

Speaker Bio: Jim Szubryt is the TFS Product Manager for the Enterprise Workforce at Accenture in Chicago and is a Microsoft ALM MVP. His TFS Team supports 2,500 developers in the global development centers and works with teams on implementing ALM processes. His blog can be found here.

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

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