VSTS SSH on Azure’s Global Network

Over the past few months, we’ve been moving SSH for Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) onto Azure’s global network. As part of the move, we’re asking our SSH users to update their remotes to new SSH URLs. We have rolled out the new URLs to all accounts, and will be maintaining support for the old URLs though December 1, 2017. We recognize that this URL change is disruptive and it’s not a decision we take lightly. This post is to explain the motivation for moving to Azure’s global network, what it is, the benefits, and why a URL change is needed.

How VSTS SSH currently works

When you make an SSH request, we route it to the datacenter where your data is stored. As a result, the latency is a function of the distance between you and your datacenter. For some users, this can be slow if, for example, their data is in Amsterdam and they’re in Tokyo.

How VSTS SSH works on Azure’s global network

To reduce latency, we are moving to a model that takes advantage of Microsoft’s global network. The idea is that requests enter the network at edge nodes and then get routed to the appropriate datacenter as needed. For SSH, we have to set up an Azure traffic manager to route the traffic, which requires a new domain and consequently, new SSH URLs.

Performance improvements

The performance improvements you’ll see depend on 1) where you’re located, 2) where your datacenter is, and 3) how close you are to the nearest edge node of the network. For many users, transfer speeds will increase, for both SSH and HTTPS (since we’re moving all of VSTS onto Azure’s global network). Anecdotally, when we used Azure’s global network to route HTTPS traffic from our North Carolina, US office to our datacenter in the western US, we saw a 5x increase in transfer speed.

We want to thank you for your patience and apologize for the inconvenience. We think the benefits of leveraging Azure’s global network make these changes worthwhile. Please update your SSH remotes to use the new URLs by December 1, 2017. You can refer to our SSH documentation to learn more.

Updated 11/16/17: The old SSH URLs will continue to work through December 1, 2017 (previously November 17, 2017) to allow for more time to update to the new SSH URLs.

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