Import your TFS Database into Visual Studio Team Services

Ed Blankenship

Since I have started in role on the Visual Studio Team Services & Team Foundation Server teams, I have been looking forward to the day that we could help TFS customers successfully migrate all of their data to our SaaS-based hosted TFS service:  Visual Studio Team Services.  It has been by far one of our more popular feature requests on User Voice as well.

I am joined by so many on the team who have been waiting on this moment!   We are very excited to announce the Preview of the TFS Database Import Service for Visual Studio Team Services.

In the past, we have had various different options that offered a low-fidelity method for migrating your data.  The difference today is that the TFS Database Import Service is a high-fidelity migration that brings over your source code history, work items, builds, etc. and keeps the same ID numbers, traceability, settings, permissions personalizations, and much more.  Our goal for your final production import is that your team will be working in TFS on a Friday and then be continuing their work in Visual Studio Team Services when they come back to work on Monday.

TFS to VSTS Migration Diagram

Our engineering teams have put a lot of work into building this service over the past year and has touched every part of our engineering organization.  We have been running a Private Preview for many months now and have learned along the way how to make the Import Service even better.  You may have even heard of some stories about some of our more notable enterprise customers who have migrated and adopted Team Services.  We have even noticed a transition in our customer discussions in the past year where many including large enterprises are asking about the best method for migrating to Visual Studio Team Services.

Some of the main reasons that they tell us they want to migrate from Team Foundation Server to Visual Studio Team Services are:

  • No more manual upgrades and get updates quicker – with Team Services, upgrades are deployed nearly every three weeks and your development teams can immediately take advantage of them months before they are available in TFS updates or major releases.
  • Significantly reduced administration – imagine not needing to continually monitor and administer your TFS infrastructure.  We take care of that for you.
  • Accessible anywhere – Your team members will have the flexibility they need to securely access Team Services from work, home, remote offices, or their mobile devices.
  • Included with Visual Studio Subscriptions – For many of our developer customers, they already have Visual Studio Team Services included as a benefit of their Visual Studio (formerly known as MSDN) subscriptions!  Having an ability to migrate your TFS database allows many subscribers now to take advantage of that important benefit.
  • And many more…

TFS to Visual Studio Team Services Migration Guide

To help you plan your migration project, we have a full-color Migration Guide that walks you through every step of the process including how to get help, finding a partner, helping you with prerequisites, validating your environment, and ultimately queuing your imports.  We have designed it to include the checklists, worksheets, and pointers to additional documentation that you’ll need but also allowing to stay focused on the current step in the migration.  The migration guide as a project plan for any size of organization but smaller teams will notice they will be able to skip several parts!

To get started with your migration project, we recommend downloading the TFS to Visual Studio Team Services Migration Guide.

TFS to VSTS Migration Guide Cover

Invitation Codes

During the Public Preview of the TFS Database Import Service, we will be providing invitation codes that you can use with the TFS Migration tooling to queue both a dry run import as well as your production import.  You can find out more about how to request invitation codes with our Preview questionnaire in Phase 1 of the Migration Guide.

DevOps Consulting Services Partners

Making sure that you have trained consulting partners to help you with your migration project is very important to us.  We held our first Global Partner Bootcamp in Redmond, Washington last Friday with many of our DevOps Partners.  We feel confident that they are equipped to help you with successfully importing your TFS database and migrating your team to Visual Studio Team Services.  In addition to our Microsoft Partner community, you can also reach out to your Microsoft Premier Support or Microsoft Consulting Services contact as well as many of our awesome DevOps Microsoft MVPs to help you with your migration project.

Channel 9 Video

Download the Migration Guide today to get started.  We cannot wait to help you with migrating your teams to Visual Studio Team Services!


Take care,

Ed Blankenship Product Manager, Visual Studio Team Services & Team Foundation Server


A big thanks to Rogan Ferguson, Mario Rodriguez, Dan Hellem, and the many engineers who have put in some amazing time & effort to ship the TFS Database Import Service!


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