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TFS 2017 Migration to VSTS with TFS Integration Platform

TFS 2017 Migration to VSTS with TFS Integration Platform

03rd Oct, 2017

Migrating Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server TFS (On-Premise) To Visual Studio Team Services VSTS has a lot of advantages and benefits to users, and is highly recommended. Some of the benefits are:


  • Increase in efficiency of work
  • Global Availability.
  • Immediate Access to updates as soon as they’re available.
  • Higher Security.
  • Easy Deployment to Azure.


Migrating TFS to VSTS can be done using several tools, Excel, project or a Migration tool named TFS Integration Platform which we will use in this example. This tool is deprecated, but it can still be used (at the user’s own risk). It requires requires SQL Server 2012 first, as the tool is a little bit old. It migrates everything except the relations between work items. The process of migrating TFS to VSTS using TFS Integration Tool is very easy.


Note: Using Excel and/or Microsoft Project has limitations for images, attachment, history, and other things.


You should have access to both TFS & VSTS with full administrative privileges. Please note that TFS Integration Platform is only helpful when you want to migrate work items with no need to migrate links & relations between them.


Understanding TFS Artifacts Association and Relations


TFS doesn’t only provide work items or test cases but as a tool is simply everything needed to manage work. The following diagram provides some general explanation for that:



It is clearly shown that relations in TFS create the logic for tasks to happen, and therefore it is very important to maintain the relations between work items and not just the work items itself.


Step 1: Getting Environment Ready


Before getting started, we will need to install Microsoft SQL Server 2012. Additional help for SQL Server 2012 installation is available here. Please note SQL Server 2012 is essential for compatibility as the TFS Integration tool is deprecated and is supported for the newer version. So, make sure that you have connected to the SQL Server 2012. You can do this using a later version of SQL Server Management Studio.


  • Make sure you’ve selected SQL Server 2012.
  • Click on Connect.



  • Download & Install Visual Studio 2010 (required to provide Object Model for the tool) and Visual Studio 2012 (Required to provide TFS connectivity for the tool).
  • Download & Install TFS Integration Platform.


Note: TFS Integration Platform must be installed after SQL Server 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 2012 in that order, otherwise it won’t work.


Step 2: Migrate


  1. Open TFS Integration Platform Tool and Click Create New
  2. Click Team Foundation Server Folder
  3. Choose Migration Options, and you will find that you can migrate Source Control, Work Items or both. Here we choose Work Items Only.
  4. Click Open



  1. For the workflow type, select One Way Migration from the drop down menu.
  2. Click on Configure
  3. From the drop down menu, select TFS 11 Migration WIT Provider.



  1. Select the correct TFS Server to connect to the original TFS.
  2. Under Team Project Collection, select the Team Project Collection you want to use for this migration.
  3. Under Team Projects, navigate to the Team Project you will use and click on it.
  4. Click on Connect to connect to TFS.



  1. Click on Configure to configure the targeted Source and select TFS 11 Migration WIT Provider again.
  2. Under menu Select the Team Foundation Server to select the targeted VSTS to connect to it.
  3. Under Team Project Collection, select the Team Project Collection you want to use for this migration.
  4. Under Team Projects, navigate to the Team Project you will use and click on it.
  5. Click on Connect to connect to VSTS



  1. Click Save to Database
  2. Click Start Migration



  1. Set back and relax, Migration can take few hours if you have thousands of work items. When the migration is finished, you’ll be able to see the notification for the same in the window of the TFS Integration tool.



  1. Additional note: Here is how your SQL Server 2012 Database looks like for Migration





The TFS Integration Platform Tool is a pretty straightforward tool to use for migrating items from TFS to VSTS. The tool enables the migration of everything, including the acceptance criteria, discussions, history, and attachments, but not the links between the work items.


However, as already mentioned in the beginning of this post, the tool is deprecated, which means that no further development will be performed and there is no current support available for it. The previous documentation for the tool is currently still available on the Codeplex.


In my next post we will have a look at a different tool which can be also used for migration from TFS to VSTS. This tool, VSTS Sync Migrator was developed by fellow MVP, Martin Hinshelwood.


This article was originally published on Mohamed Radwan’s blog. Mohamed is a Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP) whose articles are regularly featured on the Microsoft DevOps blog.