#DevOps Series: Upgrading Microsoft Dexterity VSS and TFS repositories to Visual Studio Team Services - Part 1/2

Yesterday, we talked about #DevOps Series: Microsoft Dexterity source code control with Visual Studio Team Services. The article mainly focused on setting up your Team Services project repository for the first time and taking an existing development dictionary and prepping it and checking in the resources into the repository. But what if you already have a Visual SourceSafe (VSS) or Team Foundation Server (TFS) repository already in place and you are just looking to move to VSTS?

Migrating Microsoft Dexterity repositories from Visual SourceSafe to Visual Studio Team Services

There are two acceptable methods to migrate your Microsoft Dexterity projects repository VSS repository to VSTS: you can use the VSS Upgrade Wizard or you can use the VSSUpgrade command prompt tool. Now, I am a big fan of command-prompt tools, but this is one case where I would suggest you ditch it for the Wizard.

If you would like more information on the VSSUpgrade command-prompt tool, please click here.

Using the VSS Upgrade Wizard 

This is by far, the method I recommend the best. The wizard provides step by step instructions, which makes the process of moving to VSTS a no-brainer. There are a few things you will need to do beforehand.

Preparing for the Upgrade

1.- First, if you are on a version prior to Visual SourceSafe 6.0, you will need to upgrade Visual SourceSafe to version 6, before you can attempt the upgrade. You can download Visual SourceSafe 6.0 here, but please note that this IS NOT an official Microsoft download site, hence, exercise due care when opening any files from an unknown location. Also note that Microsoft support for VSS ended in 2012 - that's right! You are on your own here.

2.- Next, you will need to have a SQL Server available to use as temporary storage to the upgrade process. Since you are already running Microsoft Dynamics GP on some SQL Server, you could probably create a separate instance where you can perform the upgrade. I won't recommend using your production instance to do so.

NOTE: Although SQL Server Express Edition is probably fine for the upgrade, I do recommend you use at the very least SQL Server Standard Edition to prevent any migration issues due to database size limitations imposed by SQL Server Express Edition. If your repositories tend to be very large from years and years of coding (in our case 20 years!) you are probably better off with the Standard Edition of SQL Server.

3.- You will then need to check in all your Microsoft Dexterity project resources into your VSS repository and remove access to all repositories for all developers, but the (main) administrator.

4.- You will have already had to provision a Team Services account. Refer to the previous article in this series for a primer on this process. We found this out the hard way: make sure you create all project shells for your VSS projects before you conduct the upgrade as the Upgrade tool will need this done in advance.

5.- Make a copy of your VSS database and work from the copy. Restore these onto the instance of SQL Server you created in setp 2. Makes sense? Ok, let's move on. As usual, you will not want to expose yourself to some sort of data corruption, so please do not work with your original VSS databases in case something goes wrong. See How To Back Up a Visual SourceSafe Database for additional information on this process.

6.- Download and install the Visual SourceSafe Upgrade Tool for Team Foundation Server (and Visual Studio Team Services). You can get the tool here. You must install the tool on the same machine where you made the copy of your repository database.

7. Run the VSS Analyze Utility to ensure there are no inconsistencies with your VSS database that would prevent the upgrade from being successful. If Analyze produces any errors, you will need to repair the database prior to beginning the upgrade.

7.- For additional preparation steps, please refer to the following MSDN article, Prepare to upgrade from Visual SourceSafe.

Using the Wizard

1. Launch the tool downloaded in Step 6 above. Go to Start and run the VSS Upgrade Wizard.

2. On the Visual SourceSafe Repository page, specify the repository, and if necessary, the Admin password.

Visual SourceSafe Repository page
3. To display the projects in your VSS repository, choose the List Available Projects link. Select the projects you want to upgrade.

List Available Projects
4. Select the check box at the bottom of the page to confirm you have run Analyze. See Step 7 above. Choose Next to proceed.

5. On the Team Project Page, choose Browse and then use the Select a Team project for Migration dialog box to specify the team project into which you want to port the upgraded data. My absolute recommendation here is to select a new team project that you have not been using.

Select a Team Project for Migration page

Choose Next.

6. On the Options page, select whether you want to upgrade the Full history or Tip to omit historical data. When we did this migration, we truncated the data we didn't want to upgrade. That would have been done as an optional step to step 5 above, after all copying the repository database.

Options page
7. On the Options page, specify the name of the SQL Server instance you want the wizard to use for temporary storage.

Options page
Choose Next to continue.

8. Review all settings and choose Next. There will be a checksum to ensure the upgrade can proceed. Choose Upgrade to continue.

9. Once the upgrade is finished, you should be able to navigate to your Visual Studio Team Services account page and verify that all projects have been migrated successfully. If you come across any issues, make sure you print the Migration Report and follow the information provided here to complete additional steps to fix.

Tomorrow, I will walk through the steps to upgrade from TFS to VSTS. Have you completed a migration from VSS to VSTS? I would like to hear your take on it and what "lessons learned" came from executing the migration.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP


Hi Mariano, it's a very interesting article and I would like to do the same with our VSS source code. Our new projects are in VSTS and we really like it. So now we think about migrating everything to VSTS but what will happen to older projects. Dexterity 12 can't connect to VSTS. Have you migrated those projects too? Do you still support them?
Mariano Gomez said…
We have also migrated our older projects to VSTS. Dexterity 12 (12.00.0323) does support VSTS when used with Visual Studio 2012 Update 5. Hope this helps.

Mariano Gomez

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