Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS)/Team Foundation Server (TFS)/Azure DevOps

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Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) is a hosted cloud offering, and Team Foundation Server (TFS), is an on-premises version. Essentially, VSTS is a cloud, hosted version of TFS. Both offer functionality that cover multiple stages of the DevOps lifecycle including planning tools, source code managment (SCM), and CI/CD.

On September 10, 2018 Microsoft renamed VSTS to Azure DevOps and TFS to Azure DevOps Server. and upgraded both with the same new user interface.

As part of their SCM functionality, both platforms offer two methods of version control.

  1. Git (distributed) - each developer has a copy on their dev machine of the source repository including all branch and history information.

  2. Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC), a centralized, client-server system - developers have only one version of each file on their dev machines. Historical data is maintained only on the server.

Microsoft recommends customers use Git for version control unless there is a specific need for centralized version control features.

This is noteworthy given that in June of 2018 Microsoft purchased GitHub, the Internets largest online code repository.


Visual Studio Team Services Team Foundation Server) Azure DevOps Azure DevOps Announcement Blog




VSTS Pricing

Visual Studio ‘Professional Version’ is the most comparable to GitLab since Visual Studio ‘Enterprise Version’ includes extras outside the scope of DevOps (such as MS Office, etc).

Visual Studio Professional can be purchased under a ‘standard’ or ‘cloud’ model.

Under their ‘modern purchasing model’, the monthly cost for Visual Studio Professional (which includes TFS and CAL license) is $45 / mo ($540 / yr).  However, extensions to TFS such as Test Manager ($52/mo), Package Management ($15/mo), and Private Pipelines ($15/mo) require an additional purchase.


TFS Pricing

A TFS license can be purchased as standalone product, but a TFS license (and CAL license) is also included when you buy a Visual Studio license / subscription.

MS pushes Visual Studio subscriptions and refers customers who are only interested in a standalone TFS with a ‘classic purchasing’ model to license from a reseller.

Excluding CapEx and Windows operating system license, a standalone TFS license through a reseller in classic purchasing model is approximately $225 per year per instance. The approximate Client Access License is approximately $320 per year.

Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps Services Pricing
Azure Pipelines Only Pricing
Azure DevOps On-prem = See TFS Pricing