Visual SourceSafe 2005 – LAN Booster

One of the oft-mentioned improvements in Visual SourceSafe2005 is what is affectionately called the “LAN booster“service. Configurable in the SourceSafe Administrationtool under Server/Configure in the LAN tab,it can be enabled by checking the misleadingly titled checkbox”Enable LAN service for this computer“.

After you’ve checked and applied, you’ll notice a new processrunning – SSService.exe (appearing as a new service –Visual SourceSafe LAN Service – running under theLocalService account in your service manager).

There are a lot of claims that this module is doing wonders forperformance – for instance that it is stream-compressing all of thecontent on the wire, improving the speed “3-5x!“. However,after some analysis I’ve determined that it’s doing nothing of thesort.

  • Like the web service, it is only used by the Visual Studioplug-in. If you’re using the SourceSafe GUI, local orremote, it is unused, and it’s 100% the same old SMBfile-database.
  • It is basically a short-cut – If it’s available (it is probedat an RPC endpoint), the Visual Studio 2005 plug-in will get it toassist in a couple of scenarios. For instance if you do a getlatest, Visual Studio will ask it which files are newer,communicating back and forth: The (correct) presumption being thatit is local so it’ll have faster file-system access. The remoteplug-in will get a yay or nay if there are newer files, and willthen do the pertinent file share accesses.
  • All actual file traffic occurs with the same old traditionalSMB.

In other words the “LAN Booster” doesn’t make SourceSafe anactual client-server source control system (the Internet webservice sort-of does for a limited set of purposes, and again onlywith the plug-in in Visual Studio 2005), and its performanceimprovement is marginal at best in real world use.