What’s the Difference Between TFS 2017 and VSTS?

With the RTM release of Team Foundation Server 2017 in November, many people are beginning to upgrade from their previous versions of TFS. However, Visual Studio Team Services, TFS’s cloud-based sibling, offers the most up-to-date features. VSTS upgrades every three weeks with the only exception being the Christmas and New Years holidays. TFS, on the other hand, upgrades every three to four months. The TFS upgrades consist of packaging features that have already been rolled out to VSTS and making them available to the on-prem instances of TFS.

So which features haven’t made it to TFS 2017 yet?

Hosted Linux pool preview

This new preview of the Hosted Linux pool allows you build and release on Linux machines without having to configure a private agent to do so. You can find out more about where these agents are run and what tooling the container includes here.

Team Room Deprecation

Team Room Deprecation has already begun in VSTS and will be announced for TFS later this year. TFS and VSTS both integrate with many other collaboration tools, such as Slack and Campfire, so Microsoft is moving forward with the decision to deprecate this offering. You can find more information on this here.

Enhanced Git functionality

With the growing pervasiveness of Git, more and more updates are focusing on enhancing the cross-platform experience. For instance, you are now able to search for commits in branches and tags in VSTS. You are also able to follow pull requests to be made aware of any changes, as well as use Markdown in your pull request description.

All of that said, there is still a big piece of functionality that is available on-prem that is not yet available in the cloud: SQL Service Reporting Services (SSRS). This means that TFS comes with a set of pre-built reports, but you can also write your own custom reports using this tool. Lightweight reporting is available in VSTS, but it doesn’t do the same heavy lifting that the reporting in TFS is able to do. There are rumors of SSRS being in the works for VSTS, but there is no formal release date.

You can find out more about which features are available or coming to VSTS and TFS 2017 with the VSTS Features Timeline.