Virtualization is not just for production work loads. Developers can benefit as well….if they just check it out!
What the heck? Developers? Virtualization? Sure!
I have spent countless man hours configuring my development platform. How do I easy replicate that as a virtual development platform?
Problem: Like anyone else, developers are always on the look out for ways to speed up the process for delivering final production code. One way is to leverage plug-ins or add-ons for there primary tools that add functionality such as source code check-in or auto-save of code. Since this environment is critical to getting their work done, they should be cautious when making changes to it. Virtualization allows developers to create a test bed environment for evaluating new tools before making changes their own production development machines.
Solution: There is a great tool call Disk2vhd that allows you to convert a physical disc to a .VHD which can then be mounted within VirtualPC (32 bit only) or Hyper-V (32/64 bit) and accessed via an RDP session. This is a great way to replicate a workstation and then test new tools before committing to using them on your production workstation.
I need to test some code but I don’t want to crater my test environment!!!
Every developer ultimately has to test the application they create. The testing process may make changes to a database, or other files that may not be easily reversible. There may also be risk to the test environment itself. In this case, making use of Saved States and Snapshots allow developers to capture the existing stable environment in a VM, make changes in code, test and app and then roll back the environment if needed. I created a short video to show how hyper-V Snapshots can alleviate this pain point.
I have been working on this all day and I am not done. I need to take the whole lab home with me to finish!
One of the great things about virtualization is it’s portability. Most virtual machine images consist of two files a .VMCX with configurations settings and .VHD file which contains the operating system, tools, code, etc that you are working with. It is very simple to stop a virtual machine and then copy those files to a portable USB drive and then take home. Once at home, simply add them to your local virtualized test bed and continue working. you can then shut them down, copy them to the portable USB and take them back to work with you.
There are a few more reason why developers might look at virtualization as a tool for aiding with development. I am going to speak directly to some developer types that use virtualization in their every day dev work and let you hear it directly from them! Look for another post soon!