Wednesday 9 September 2015

Licences & Additional Build Agents in TeamCity

We use a combination of TeamCity and Octopus Deploy to automate our deployment and release process at work. We’ve been using the Professional Server Licence (free version) of TeamCity which allows for 20 build configurations (each configuration delineates one logical group of actions. e.g. pull code; build it; run unit tests) and 3 build agents (in our case Windows services which execute build configurations).

We recently bumped up against the 20 configuration limit and the boss dusted off the credit card to purchase a Build Agent Licence (£236 for 10 additional build steps and one additional build agent, at the time of writing). I dutifully entered in the licence key and fairly quickly learned a few things:

  1. What you purchase are build agent slots not build agents.
  2. You need to install build agents into your available build agent slots
  3. The person who set-up our TeamCity build server originally had only installed on build agent (probably due to #4)
  4. Precautions need to be taken when switching from a single build agent to multiple agents

Prior to purchasing the upgrade licence we had only one build agent installed (I assumed that was our limit on the free license) and I expected, rather naively as it turns out, to see another build agent appear when I entered the licence key. What you need to do, in fact, is install additional build agents into your free build agents slots. This is made a little more complicated by the fact you can’t just straightforwardly use the build agent installer (on Windows at least) to install more build agents; each build agent needs some tweaks to be made to its installation configuration files halfway through the installation. It feel like TeamCity have missed a trick here and could make customers’ lives easier by bundling up these config changes as part of the installer.

Excellent article detailing the process here:

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