Everything you want to know about Visual Studio ALM and Farming
Brian Harry is a Microsoft Technical Fellow working as the Product Unit Manager for Team Foundation Server. Learn more about Brian.
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One of the coolest new capabilities in 2010 is "Lab Management". It enables you to automate the setup and configuration of test environments, saving you a bunch of time doing it every time you have a new build you want to test. We first released it in Beta 1, but the truth is it's a V1 product and it just wasn't really ready enough for a lot of people to be successful getting it up and running - installing and configuring it was too complicated.
We've done a ton of work over the past 7 months or so to make it much easier to get up and going, easier to diagnose when there are issues and more reliable when you use it. While what we shipped in Beta 2 isn't done, we believe that most people should be able to get started and see the value of it.
An important part of our release cycle is soliciting feedback from you to know when we are ready to ship. We've gotten a lot of feedback on Beta 2 - particularly on performance as you can see from other posts I'm writing :). We don't feel like we've gotten enough feedback on lab management to be able to tell. We need your help. We've put together a 4 part blog series that covers everything you need to know to get started with Lab Management. I know I'm asking a lot - it requires significant hardware and several hours of time investment, but I really believe if you get it up and working and figure out how to integrate it into your development cycle, it will be a big time saver for you in the long run. If you can, I'd really appreciate you giving it a try. Here are links to the series.