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TFS licensing model demystification or what should I buy for my company in order not to step on the licensing mine?
Microsoft loves cumbersome licensing models . This is not because of their evil-heartedness, but because it make them possible to get more from bigger companies and less from smaller. However when you come into the real decision about how many and what kind of licenses you have to purchase, you stuck. Today we’ll try to make things clearer, at least for Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio, which is very base things for any software house develops things using Microsoft technologies.
To make things even simpler, let’s assume that we do not need TFS Workgroup edition (which is special edition for TFS 5 users only) and we are not using TFS Device CAL (as opposed to User CAL this Client Access License permits one device to be used by any number of users. This kind of CAL is good for kiosks rather then for development environments). Also Test Load Agent needs it own license. So now, and under all those circumstances, let’s start.
To work with TFS we need:
- One or more Team Foundation Server
- More then one Visual Studio Client (editions can vary)
- Optional one or more Software Assurance, which can be licenses separately or together with MSDN subscription
- … and some other optional tools
Each instance of TFS needs it license. Even if you have mirrored deployment of TFS, you need a server license for each instance. Also you need separate license if you are using TFS Data Tier on SQL Server cluster or using TFS Proxy. I think it’s clear, that in addition to TFS license you’ll need Windows Server and SQL server licenses (if it used especially for TFS). You can also put Data Tier on existing SQL server in this case you need only another TFS license without SQL.
You do not need additional Team Foundation Server license for the machine used for TF build services. Also this machine does not need another CAL, except one used for the system user used for initialize builds.
To summarize: each instance of TFS need server license in addition to CALs and other server licenses (such as Windows, SQL, SharePoint, IIS etc).
Client Access License
In addition to server license you need also CAL for each used reads and writes to TFS. There are different versions of Visual Studio includes CAL:
- Visual Studio 2008 Team Suite
- Visual Studio 2008 Architecture edition
- Visual Studio 2008 Development edition
- Visual Studio 2008 Test edition
- Visual Studio 2008 Database edition
Visual Studio 2008 Professional does not includes CAL. So each one of contributes needs one of Visual Studios which includes CAL. The TFS clients might be installed on one of those editions and does requires additional license.
You do not need additional license when you are using TFS for only:
- Create work items, bugs, etc.
- Query for work items
- Update work items
Other words product definition, system analysts, managers and “bug fillers” do not required additional CAL. Note, that they will probably need proper Microsoft Office licenses to use Excel or Project to do this, however they can also use TFS web access (browser) or any other 3rd party tool without purchasing separate CAL.
Also you need only one CAL for server software. Other words, if you are using TFS on Windows Server you do not need TFS and Windows Server CAL. Also those CALs covers all earlier versions of all products in use.
To summarize: Each TFS user does not need additional CAL when he has proper license for Visual Studio Team Suite or using TFS for only bug/issues tracking.
Software assurance vs. MSDN
MSDN is more expensive then SA (Software Assurance), however it includes SA and provides some benefits by allowing access to several Microsoft products for development and testing purposes.
There are two different MSDN editions – professional and premium. The difference between those editions (except price) is that Premium editing includes Windows Server Systems and Microsoft Office. Thus with Professional edition you got software assurance for Visual Studio 2008 Professional while with Premium for all other versions.
Let’s simulate the results
For small software house with 10 developers (two architects, 1 DBA and 3 QA), two product definition guys, and manager we’ll need (in addition to OS, other server and Office licenses):
- 1 TFS license
- 2 Visual Studio 2008 Architecture edition
- 1 Visual Studio 2008 Database edition
- 3 Visual Studio 2008 Test edition
- 4 Visual Studio 2008 Development edition
- 1<n<10 MSDN Licenses Premium (as number of employees need it for testing or development purposes)
- 10-n SA licenses (if SA required)
- Additional CAL for build machine
I think, that now it become a bit clearer. For additional information regarding TFS licensing model, please refer Visual Studio Team System 2008 Licensing White Paper or ask your local licensing expert at Microsoft.
August 2nd, 2009 · Comments (20)
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