Getting Started with Release Management for Visual Studio
Release Management for Visual Studio (also known as Visual Studio Release Management) is the TFS ecosystem component that manages the deployment of code to each stage of the delivery pipeline. It was bought by Microsoft in 2013 from InCycle and started life as InCycle's InRelease product (which was specifically built to work with TFS). Microsoft are gradually making it their own and adding new features and capabilities. Although there is a good selection of tools for managing code deployments in the marketplace the fact that it is included with most versions of MSDN makes it an obvious choice for anyone developing applications and building continuous delivery pipelines with TFS via the MSDN route. Originally one had to purchase extra licences for each server one was planning to deploy to however that requirement is being completely scrapped from the beginning of January 2015, so if you are covered by one of the MSDN versions there are no extra costs.
Because Release Management is fairly new on the scene there isn't the wealth of learning resources that are available for other parts of TFS. The list is growing though -- here's my pick for anyone looking to get started:
- Release Management for Visual Studio Homepage
- TFS Build and Release Management Forum
- Release Management for Visual Studio 2013 User Guide
- Getting Started With Release Management for Visual Studio 2013 (requires Pluralsight subscription)
- DevOps -- Visual Studio Release Management Jump Start
- Visual Studio Toolbox -- Release Management
- Predictable Releases and Deployments with Release Management for Team Foundation Server
- Implementing a Release Pipeline with Release Management for Visual Studio 2013
- A Practical View of Release Management for Visual Studio 2013
- TechEd North America 2014 Virtual Lab: Embracing Continuous Delivery with Release Management for Visual Studio 2013
- Visual Studio Release Management -- Curah!
- Brian Keller Virtual Machine and the Embracing Continuous Delivery with Release Management for Visual Studio 2013 lab
If you are looking for a quick and relatively straightforward way to get some hands-on experience of Release Management then the Brian Keller VM could be a good option. You can download it for running under Hyper-V or alternatively run it as an Azure VM. If you choose the latter option then this post could help you, although bear in mind that it was written in mid-2013 and some aspects of Azure may have changed. Unless you have a very fast Internet connection you will more than likely want to use an Azure VM to perform the downloading rather than round-trip the VM via Earth.
Cheers -- Graham