Virtual Development – a guest post by Andrew Fryer

You’ll see that TechNet On is dedicated to all things virtualisation this week, and rather than call out one of the many useful links there I wanted to briefly describe perhaps the oldest virtualisation scenario testing . Traditionally this has been done in an ad hoc way as the development team don’t understand virtualisation indeed why should they.  However the IT Professionals can’t always be on hand to provision these environments when required or have made provision for them.  There are a couple of tools around to make all this a lot easier:

The simplest is the Self Service Portal that comes with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM). This is currently still in beta (release candidate) and lets users provision their own clean virtual machines through a browser interface from a list of  templates you have prepared in SCVMM. 

For integrated testing of in house applications your development team might already be using the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) capabilities in Visual Studio.  The Lab Manager in the ultimate and test professional editions of Visual Studio 2010 takes this a stage further by also using SCVMM to provide an integrated testing environment of virtual machines.  This is so sophisticated that if there’s a bug in the developer’s code  a tester can snapshot all the virtual machine states and save them off to review what went wrong and pass the complete scenario back to the developer to resolve.

I can also see these tools being used to manage sandboxes for testing new releases of third party products as well as patches and service packs, so even if there’s no development team per se in your organisation you might want to look at what these tools offer even if it’s only to inform your thinking about how to streamline your testing and release processes.

Find out more about Andrew on his blog.

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