Thursday, April 06, 2006

The MS Partners and Team System licensing problem

Fact 1: Smaller Microsoft partners get the most of their Visual Studio licenses through the partner benefits. Partners with ISV competence get additional 25 licenses, which can cover most of smaller development teams.
Fact 2: Together with the Visual Studio 2005 the whole new licensing model was introduced. For the partners, the new model meant, that they don’t get equivalent of the MSDN Universal subscription which was synonymous for all software Microsoft has to offer, but a subset. The Visual Studio Team Suite being the highest positioned all encompassing development environment covering three different roles isn’t a part of this subset.

Lots of people were not especially happy with such a decision, but since Microsoft spoke all the time that it will be easy (read: relatively inexpensive) to upgrade from one of the Team Editions to the Team Suite, I never considered it a problem.
Really, upgrade from Team Developer to Team Suite costs 1200$. Since this is the retail price, I guess that the real price a partner would pay is less.

Is there a problem then?
Indeed there is. The licenses delivered as part of the core partner benefit can not be upgraded! At first, as we have got the information from our reseller, I couldn’t believe: the best offer was to buy new Team Dev licenses at 20% discount to the retail price amounting to around 10k$/license and then to upgrade to Team Suite. Then there was a confirmation by Rob Caron.

Result: we can’t possible upgrade to Team Suite – it would simply be too expensive to buy brand new licenses for every dev just to be able to upgrade.

The main reason why we wanted to put Team Suite at every developer’s desk was to enable them to use small but very important part of the Team Test Edition’s functionality: to enable them to use the hierarchical lists of unit tests, which can be done only in the Team Test Edition. Without this functionality it is hardly possible to use hundreds of unit tests we have in some of our projects.

Microsoft: a) please change the upgrade licensing policy for partners; b) enhance the unit testing functionality in the Team Developer Edition.

[Update Dec 20th, 2006: the latter request is now covered by the Test Manager Add-In for Team Edition for Software Developers. See the announcement: ]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We discovered the same fact and discussed it with our local (german) MS reps and partner managers with no result :(

The situation is even worse because the "regular" certified partner does not get any team edition or TFS licenses at all but only Visual Studio Professional. Only if the ISV or CSD specialization or the gold state is reached, you get team edition for developers which includes the workgroup edition of TFS.

So - we would have to make an investment of 20000 Euros to work with TFS and Team Edition with a Team of 5 Developers - as a MS certified partner.

I complained using all available channels - but only heard that this was rolled out worldwide. I think most of the partners did not understand up to know which impact the changes to MSDN licensing for partners have.

I do not understand at all why the VS licenses we get with the partner programm are not qualified to be updated...

Hopefully there will be updates to this in the future as more partners complain...


Fri Apr 07, 12:26:00 PM GMT+2  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've run into the same problem. Our team of < 20 developers were quite happily using Nant and Nunit (from sourceforge).

TFS was sold to us. Way-hey ! Its the upgrade to Nunit and Nant.

We've bought licenses and started looking in how we can move our current build and Nunit process over to the "Microsoft way".

Alas, we've discovered too late that you need the TFS Tester Edition. But then again, this doesn't support many features that us Developers need.

So to recap:
Developer edition - Doesn't support Unit Tests from msbuild
Tester edition - Does support unit tests but lacks developer functionality (for the record - what do testers know about Unit Tests? Unit Tests are a Developer task. Testers test the app)
Team Suite - full blown version but so expensive, no-one in there right mind can afford the number of licenses you need.

We're stuck basically.

Nice one Microsoft. You've basically borrowed what was open source functionality, put your nice big MS brand all over it and now you're charging an ABSOLUTE arm and a leg for what is commonly available to all with Nunit/Nant.

Our company / managers / developers are absolutely appalled.

Thu Oct 12, 07:03:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger Ognjen Bajic said...

Well, the situation isn’t as bad as it seems.

The fact that developer edition doesn’t support unit tests execution from msbuild shouldn’t be such a problem as long as you acquire one TeamSuite license and install it on the TeamBuild server. That way every developer should be able to start the unit tests as a part of the build process. To say the truth I wasn’t even aware of this restriction since none of our teams did hit it, because every build is run on the build server and for the local runs of unit tests the capabilities of the VS Developer Edition suffice.

The restriction that we did hit was lack of the unit test management support in the Developer edition. One of the original reasons for the blog entry was the fact that the Test Manager Window is supported in Tester Edition and in Team Suite only. Although MS plans to add it to the Dev Edition one day (see the transcript of the Team System Chat of September the 14th 2006; search for Test Manager), it will not happen in the near future. Since because of the partner licensing policy each and every our developer has a VS Dev Ed. license, without the Test Manager window, we were practically unable to develop feasible unit testing development strategy. That led us to the decision to build one ourselves! We have been using it internally for some time already and will make it publicly available in the next month or so – expect the announcement not later than the beginning of December.

So, with unit tests on the build server and Test Manager Window on each developer’s workstation, we are perfectly equipped to do test driven development using our Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Developers!

Thu Oct 19, 12:14:00 AM GMT+2  
Blogger Ognjen Bajic said...

Last week Ekobit released Test Manager Add-In for Team Edition for Software Developers.
See the announancemet:
Read more about Test Manager Add-In:
Download the free 30-day trial of Test Manager Add-In from here:

Wed Dec 20, 04:34:00 PM GMT+1  

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