TeamCity Review

The flexibility of the product allows it to support a seemingly infinite number of build workflows.


What is our primary use case?

Creating build environments for a various range of embedded (C/C++) products with multiple build agent configurations. Empowering the integration team (verification testing) with the ability to test subsystems of applications before launch.

How has it helped my organization?

The flexibility of TeamCity allows it to fit in workflows that I have yet to imagine. As we learn how to configure the build processes to fit our needs, it will prove to be a significant time saver.

What is most valuable?

TeamCity has a remote build feature that we have used to support legacy products (that use compilers that cannot run on current OS versions).  Rather than having developers locked into an outdated PC for legacy support, we now only need to support a single VM that is configured as the build agent for the legacy product.  TeamCity provides integrations for Eclipse, but in our case, it worked better to create a Python script that provided the necessary interaction between SlickEdit and TeamCity.  Developers can make code changes on a current Windows or Linux system, and changes made locally are pushed to the build agent as a personal build.

We are also exploring capabilities of use of the "Report Tabs".  To ultimatly support FDA compliance concerns, I have a prototype of an HTML report being generated that includes CRCs, SCM URLs, SCM Revisions, etc for all items of a build chain.

What needs improvement?

Their online documentation is fairly extensive, but sometimes you can end up navigating in circles to find answers. I would like them (or partner with someone) to provide training classes to help newcomers get things up and running more quickly.

For how long have I used the solution?

Approaching 4 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Have not experienced any "failure" of TeamCity.  An occasional lack of responsiveness from the web interface happens from time to time.  May have been appropriate to provide more CPU resources when the VM was originally created.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

At the Enterprise licensing level, there are no limits to the number of, or complexity of the build configurations that can be set up.

How are customer service and technical support?

For billing & license renewal questions, their Customer Service is very responsive.  Technical support is also available for Enterprise users, but have not had a need to use it more than once or twice.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

No, we were new to CI/CD.

How was the initial setup?

Installation was reasonably straight forward using information from their web site.  Our installation was built in a virtual environment (VMware ESXi/vCenter) and is running on a RHEL 7 minimal installation using MariaDB.

What about the implementation team?

TeamCity was implemented in house with support only from their web documentation.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Jet Brains allows using their product at no charge, but with a cap on build agents, and the number of build configurations allowed, so you can explore the capabilities before committing.  Our current licensing level allows up to 10 simultaneous build agents running, and unlimited build configurations for less than $2000 per year; although not free, it seems a very reasonable cost for the horsepower delivered.


Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, considerations were given to open source products (Jenkins/Hudson, go.cd ...).  It did not appear that any of the others considered could provide an equivalent of the remote build feature offered by TeamCity.

What other advice do I have?

Wish the Tomcat server could magically convert to HTTPS (instead of the apparent default of HTTP).

There are published works on using TeamCity (separate works by authors Melymuka and Mahlingam, both on Packt Publishing), however both of these are out of date which makes the initial learning curve more challenging.  I invite these publishers to update their work; would gladly purchase updated revision.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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