Have you tried out the Lab Management product that is part of the Visual Studio 21010 Beta 2 release? It is a really cool product! I have blogged about its capabilities earlier, and would really encourage you to try out the product. The product development team has recently posted a four part series on getting started with Lab Management, and you can find the start of the series here.

This is a great product for:

  • Test Managers or leads who manage a lab for their development team, and have faced the many challenges is setting up machines, and managing test runs on them
  • Or, for individual testers who need access to multiple test configurations
  • Or, for developers who want to test out their code on product like environments before they check their code in, and want to do so just from their decktop!
  • Or, Managers who want to have a view of how their development labs are running and being utilized

You can get started with the product just with a couple of machines (two Hyper-V enabled 4GB boxes will do, or a single Hyper-V enabled 8GB box will also be fine). The blog post above guides you throug step-by-step instructions about getting a virtual lab started, creating multi-machine environments, bringing up the environments, deploying the application you want to test on to the environment, and running validation tests.

I personally have been playing with the product and it is very cool. Some of my favorites are:

  • Ability to easily deploy different configurations from my library of stored environment
  • Checkpointing multi-machine environments to a known clean state
  • The integration of the Lab Manamgent capability with the rest of the Visual Studio 2010 capabilities
    • I can run tests on the Lab environment right from my desktop by using the Microsoft Test and Lab Manager tool
    • I can bring up the "Lab Enviroment Viewer" to access the different machines in the environment
    • I can integrate with team build definitions to deploy the app I am building automatically onto the the Lab environment
    • I can run unit tests on my lab environment
    • I can also run Coded UI of functional automation tests automatically ont he lab environment - I can tell you, it is an absolute joy to visually see the tests run remotely
    • Restore back to a known checkpoint to do further testing
    • Appending links to the environments being tested in bug reports, which I can access later
    • Etc.
  • My team is also using the product for all of their product testing as well. The tool gives me a great view of seeing the entire lab in "action". I will blog more about this.

You have to try this out to see the benefits. Once again, the team has a detailed post here ( http://blogs.msdn.com/lab_management/archive/2009/11/18/Getting-started-with-Lab-Management-_2800_Part-1_2900_.aspx) to get you started.

You will enjoy the product. Do post back a comment if you have used the product, or if you need further clarifications from us.

 Cheers!