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Hosted TFS, and cheap….from Phase2

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I received a wee email from Kevin Doherty the CEO at Phase2. These guys host lots of useful things and the had obviously decided to host TFS as part of their offering.

This is a really great site, I regularly send posts to our staff!  You may want to check our site [www.phase2.com] for our version of hosted TFS.  We also integrate directly with our MS Project hosted application.  We have our own internal team of developers and offer TFS at a mere fraction of what TFS Now sells it for.  And no contracts.  We would be honoured if you would either review our service or mention us.

Kevin Doherty

I agreed to review their service, but I would like to point out that I am getting nothing in return 🙁 I am doing this just for fun.

The guys over at Phase 2 provided me a TFS server and I was surprised at both how quickly they came up with it and how fast it was. The worry was that they would be providing a cut down version, like Codeplex, but it is fully featured and has Reporting Services, Sharepoint and Analytical services. I tested Excel reporting (now Microsoft’s recommended method, RS is dead, yippee) and customizing Work items. I also had a few question that the team over at Phase2 answered:

Q. You quote 10 users as $1,299.00! Is that per month? (Stupid question I know, but it was not specified on the site.)

A. Yes, this is a per month charge that includes training, support, and backup.

Q. What is the backup offering with your service?

A. Standard offering: We back up all client data every night [incremental] and full backups once a week.  We store 3 weeks’ worth of full backups. This schedule can be adjusted but additional costs may be involved.

Q. Can you provide a multi server package, for example if I had 1000 developers and needed to run SSRS, SSAS, Sharepoint and TFS on multiple servers?

A. Yes, we will provide dedicated services and offer custom bundles.   A standard single-server deployment for TFS is good for about 100 users, beyond which we’d need to move to multiple front-end servers with at least one backend data-tier server.  We are scaling up from blade arrays to very powerful IBM x-series 4- and 6-way servers (all running virtuals, of course) over the next few weeks so we don’t yet know what our upper limit is going to be per server.  For a custom bundle such as this, economies of scale would certainly apply.

Q. What about TFWA, and WIWA?

A. We do support TFWA, but the client must have an account in TFS.  WIWA is something that we can install upon request, but do not by default (For simplicity).  No extra charges for this additional functionality.

Q. What is the disaster recovery turnaround?

A. 24 hours maximum from time of notification.   Keep in mind that this depends on what the “disaster” is and when it gets noticed.  If the disaster is that someone within a client’s organization deleted all or part of a project but no one noticed for 8 weeks,  we could recover the environment in short order but not necessarily the data (see backup comments above.)

Q. Can I bundle TFS with a full environment? TFS + MOSS + Exchange + Communicator?

A. Absolutely, and again, for a custom bundle such as this, economies of scale would apply.

So, a fantastic offering. It should be pointed out that I was using a http connection to the server and not https, but I am sure that it will be available. The costs are very reasonable and a lot better than TFS Now, which I was going to compare to, but alas their site is down at the time of writing.

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