Install Release Management

Install Release Management for Visual Studio

Release Management continuously deploys your app to a specific environment for each separate stage: development, test, staging, and production.

To get started, install Release Management Server. If you are going to use TFS, you should already have it installed and ready to use. See system requirements for details of compatible versions. If you haven’t set up TFS yet, do that now. You can use the same SQL Server instance for TFS and the Release Management server (as we will in this guide) or you can use a different SQL Server instance (or even install a new instance). Next, install Release Management Client.

After the client and the server are set up, you’ll set up the machines to deploy your app for your releases. You can install deployment agents on each machine. Or, with Release Management for Visual Studio 2013 Update 3, you now have the option to use Windows PowerShell, Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC), or Chef to deploy your app to machines without installing a deployment agent. To learn about how to do this, go here. Finally, if you’re using TFS, you’ll connect your Release Management deployment to TFS and then you’re ready to manage releases.

To install Release Management and set up an environment

Step 1 Verify that your operating system and hardware meet the requirements for Release Management. Release Management Server requires a SQL Server instance but has no dependency on using the same SQL Server instance for TFS—it’s just convenient.

For more information: System requirements for Release Management

Step 2 Download Release Management Server, its client, and the deployment agent from here and then install the server and client.


This is a 90-day trial version of Release Management. For information about obtaining a non-trial version, see How to buy Release Management or Release Management Licensing. If you are an MSDN subscriber, you can download a non-trial version from the MSDN Subscriber website. If you have installed a trial version and it has expired, uninstall it and install a non-trial version.


If your team project is hosted on Visual Studio Online you can skip buying and maintaining a server and use Release Management as a service on Visual Studio Online instead. See Manage your release. In this case you will still need to install the client.

If you are upgrading to Release Management 2013 Update 4, first uninstall the previous version of the Release Management server, client and deployment agents. No data will be lost when you uninstall because the SQL Server instance is not removed. Then install Update 4 for the server, client and agents as required. When you configure the latest update for your Release Management server, use the same SQL Server instance that you used before for the database server.

Here are some things to consider about your Release Management topology, especially if you will use TFS. You should install the server separately from the application tier of the TFS server (as we will) although nothing prevents you from installing the Release Management server together with TFS. If you will use TFS with Release Management, you’ll want to install the Release Management client on a TFS build server with at least one build agent, so that the build server can create releases automatically as part of its execution, which is especially practical for continuous integration and deployment.

Download and install Release Management components

For more information: Download Release Management for Visual Studio 2013, Install Release Management server and client

Step 3 Install the deployment agent on computers that will make up the environments where you will deploy your release. These can be test environments or production

Set up a Release Management enviornment

For more information: Install deployment agent and set up machines for an environment

Step 4 In the Release Management client, you can configure the connection between Release Management and TFS, but this isn’t necessary. You can run Release Management separately from TFS. You might also want to tackle some other optional tasks, like adding team members to Release Management, or an SMTP server for email notifications.

Connect to TFS

For more information: Connect Release Management to TFS, Add users to Release Management