Sunday, December 12, 2010

Prevent hanging build from blocking your TFS build server

Last week I had a question from a customer who complained that all builds on their build server blocked because of one build that sometimes fails. Now the reason why this build failed is something for another blog post. In this post I’ll focus on the way how to prevent that a hanging build keeps blocking your build server.

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If you open up your build definition, go to the Process tab and expand the Advanced node, you’ll find the Agent Settings node. If you further expand this node you see that you can  specify the following parameters:

Maximum Execution Time

Type a time span value in hh:mm:ss format. For example, the build will fail with a time-out error if you specify a value of 04:30:15 and the build agent has not completed its work after 4 hours, 30 minutes, and 15 seconds. Specify a value of 00:00:00 if you want to give the build agent unlimited time to process the build. (By default this value is 00:00:00 and this is the reason why a build can keep blocking your build agent).

Maximum Wait Time

Type a time span value in hh:mm:ss format. For example, the build will fail with a time-out error if you specify a value of 01:30:45 and the build has not been assigned to a build agent after 1 hour, 30 minutes, and 45 seconds. Specify a value of 00:00:00 if you want to give the build controller unlimited time to find a build agent to process this build definition. (By default this value is 00:00:00 and this is the reason why a build can keep blocking your build agent).

These 2 settings together define the total amount of time one specific build may take.

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