We frequently work with testing and quality assurance teams in many different organizations both large and small, and often these teams do not have tools or formalized processes for managing virtual testing environments. Their testing environments are frequently a set of machines that they manage manually, and teams have to tread carefully when managing deployments of new code to these machines. Often we see that teams are spending significant amounts of time in creating, configuring, versioning, and deploying to the machines that make up their test lab. These manual processes are also very disconnected from the rest of the application development lifecycle, and can be unpredictable and error-prone since people are executing these processes.
Fortunately, Microsoft has been working on a tool integrated with Visual Studio 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2010, called Visual Studio Lab Management. Lab Management provides a platform for managing virtual testing environments, which reduces cost of manual efforts by automating the workflow of creating, managing and deploying to virtual testing environments. Lab Management uses both Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) as the underlying technologies for the virtual machines.
You can think of Lab Management as enabling a “private cloud” of virtual test environments in that is integrated with the build, test, and defect tracking processes you may already be using in Team Foundation Server 2010. For example, you can provision and ready multiple environments for testing so that build scripts can target a specific lab configuration at build time. Think about that – you execute a build process, and the QA lab environment is created, and the application is deployed to that environment. There is also integration with the testing tools, so unit, load, and other automated tests can be executed against the newly-created VMs. This represents a tremendous benefit to teams in terms of lowering costs and reducing risk.
I’m blogging about this today because Microsoft announced this afternoon at VSLive! that the final version of Visual Studio Lab Management will be available at the end of August. This product will be available at for existing or new Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN and Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 with MSDN customers.
If you are interested in Lab Management, I would encourage you to download and try the trial located here: http://bit.ly/cJnVjL (scroll down and click “Try Me”) or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org