TFS and Exchange on the same box, and other unwise decisions

I had an interesting comment on my post about ‘Do we need 64-bit Team Foundation Server yet?

The poor guy had the scenario where he wanted to install Team Foundation Server AND Exchange 2007 on the same server.

It kind of reminded my of college days when I had to install as much as I could on my Pentium machine.

The answer is simple: If you don’t have the budget for a decent development infrastructure, then don’t use Team Foundation Server. Is is really not intended for you to use.

Use Visual Sourcesafe.

Team Foundation Server NEEDS dedicated hardware. You do not install other software or services.. that machine is a Team Foundation machine, because you have to be prepared that one day that machine will go down and YOU will have to restore it in a matter of hours. (or your developers will have nothing to do)

Exhange is another business critical application, and it also needs dedicated hardware. I had a boss who insisted on running Exchange 2000, Active Directory, Printer services and File Share on a Pentium 2 box. It didn’t fall over.. it just randomly sent 100’s of duplicate emails to customers.

Hardware is cheap. If you can’t afford it, then scale down your requirements.

I think this sort of thing stems from the fact that software developers are rarely infrastructure experts, and do not realise that good infrastructure planning is a skill that is vital to the smooth operation of your business.

4 thoughts on “TFS and Exchange on the same box, and other unwise decisions

  1. I’m not sure I agree with this post. While even if companies could afford dedicated hardware for every function, I think the trend of virtualization speaks to the goal of higher and more efficient hardware utilization. It is not a factor of whether or not companies can afford the additional hardware, it’s more a factor is if it will contribute to the bottom line. Why can’t a small development shop utilize a SharePoint server for use with TFS? If the server utilization never jumps above 25% for either server, wouldn’t it be more cost effective to piggy back the two?

    And for your comment on never installing Exchange on any box except a dedicated one… isn’t Microsoft preaching this as an acceptable practice for smaller business by releasing Small Business Server (which does exactly this)?

  2. I started working in a small consultancy where budget was limited, and the leaders demanded ‘efficient’ usage of machines. I’ve been with a fairly large consultancy for a few years now, and I feel this has maybe distanced my POV from the realities people many people experience on a daily basis.

    Nevertheless, I stand by my assertion that you should dedicate hardware for your TFS server. If you think it will not get much use then by all means virtualize it, but I still say SEPERATE it!

    If there is insufficient hardware on one of my projects, then I will go with Subversion instead.

    “Why can’t a small development shop utilize a Sharepoint server for use with TFS?” Sure they can.. it is up to them how they want to spend their time configuring their multi-function servers. (And the hours supporting, DR, tracking down really remote dependency clashes etc) I would merely suggest that their time would be better spent actually working on the project in question.

    I’m in no way an authority on SBS, but I think it is more of a platform to get Microsoft into small businesses rather than scare them with high license fees up front. In any case, let me know if anyone from Microsoft preaches installing TFS onto a SBS box 🙂

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