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Understanding Build Controller and Build Agent for TFS (Team Foundation Server)

In this post, I will explain the Build Controller and the Build Agent in Team Foundation Server (TFS). Below is a step-by-step video for the post:

The Build Service is a Windows Service that can only have one Build Controller, which is configured for only one Team Project Collection and can have multiple Build Agents as needed. While it is possible to have multiple Build Controllers on the same machine, it is not recommended in a production environment. For more information, see Configuring Multiple TFS Build Controllers on the Same Machine:


Only one Build Controller can exist on the same machine. We can have a Build Controller running with the TFS AT (Team Foundation Server Application Tier), but it is not recommended to have the Build Agent on the TFS AT because the Build Agent performs intensive work, which can slow down the TFS AT.


For more information about how to work with Git with animation, where all commands are represented in graphical animation (e.g., git branch, git merge, git rebase, git cherry-pick, and many others), see Mastering Git with animation

Here is an example of a Build Server that has one Build Controller configured for one Project Collection and multiple Build Agents:

3-Build-Service-example-3 4-Build-Service-one-controller-multi-agents

Removing the build configuration allows us to reconfigure and see the number of recommended Build Agents and the Windows Service:


If the Build is not configured, we can see that there is no Windows Service:


The Windows Service for the build exists if the build is configured (Registered):


When the processor count is one, the available Build Agent count is two, and the recommended count is one:


For more information about how to work with Kubernetes clusters and deploy them to Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and work with Azure Container Registry, see Kubernetes cluster for beginner

When the processor count is four, the available Build Agent count is eight, and the recommended count is one:


For more information about how to work with Docker, including pulling Docker images, running Docker images, and working with containers, see Docker for beginners

Links: Scale out Your Build System

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