Additions to Visual Studio 2013 Licensing

I can remember writing the MLSS exam for Visual Studio a few years ago and being given the feedback that I’d made it just a tad too hard (slackers :-)) You’ll all look back fondly on those simple licensing days when you hear about the additions to Visual Studio 2013 licensing…

There are two new things to get your head around: Release Management and Visual Studio Online. I’ll give you the overview here and then some links if you have the urge for more information. Note that the Visual Studio 2013 Licensing Whitepaper has been updated for the third time this year and does include these changes. Download it here:

Visual Studio 2013 Release Management

The Release Management functionality is all about enabling additional capabilities in Team Foundation Server 2013 to automate complex application deployments to a variety of target environments… OK, OK, let’s do it in English! – if you’re in charge of getting a new release of your application to lots of different places, this functionality makes it significantly easier.

Now, let’s imagine you are indeed that person in charge of application deployment so that we can consider what needs to be installed for this magic to work and how you’d license it. First of all, from the server side, something called Release Management Server for Team Foundation Server 2013 needs to be installed, and there are no additional licensing requirements on top of TFS for that. You personally are then going to use the Release Management Client for Visual Studio 2013 to kick off the deployment process, and rights to that are included in most MSDN subscriptions. Then, any machine to which your application is going to be deployed needs to have Microsoft Deployment Agent 2013 installed and to be covered by a BRAND NEW licence. (Just checking you’re still awake!) This is the Visual Studio Deployment licence and it’s available in two flavours –Standard and Datacenter – which follow the Processor-based licensing model for Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2.

For homework, I’d recommend delving into a bit more detail on the new Visual Studio Deployment offerings at the following link where you’ll find pricing information and confirmation of the differences between Standard and Datacenter editions:

And so to…

Visual Studio Online

If you’ve heard of Team Foundation Service, Visual Studio Online is the evolution of that. If not, we’ll start at the beginning anyway since it is, of course, a very good place to start.

So, in the beginning Visual Studio was a development environment on the desktop, then it expanded to include team development capabilities with Team Foundation Server, and now it’s been extended to the cloud with a collection of developer services hosted, of course, in Azure and called Visual Studio Online. If you want more information on some of the services that developers can now enjoy, I’d recommend the link below:

But let’s investigate here how it’s licensed. That development organisation you were working for in the section above has decided that it’s going to embrace the cloud and so it signs up for a free Visual Studio Online account. You and your colleagues with your eligible MSDN subscriptions don’t need to purchase anything to link to this Visual Studio Online account and it comes with a certain amount of free shared monthly resources for build and load testing. If you want other users to join the account then you purchase them a Visual Studio Online plan (either Basic, Professional or Advanced) – you get five free Basic users with the account – and if you need more shared resources, perhaps virtual user minutes of cloud load testing (my personal favourite), then you buy that through a new or existing Windows Azure subscription.

For your final bit of homework, I’d recommend the following link to get some more detail on the different plans and for some useful FAQs:

Now, (rolls up sleeves) let me just go and update that MLSS exam…

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