Brian Keller

Director of ALM Evangelism for Microsoft

August, 2010

  • Brian Keller

    Visual Studio 2010 Lab Management has officially released


    And it’s here!

    I’m going to excerpt Brian Harry’s blog since he already said it so well:

    Today, we released the final update to the Lab Management features for the Visual Studio 2010 product family.  A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post with a bunch of details on the Lab Management capabilities and also explained recent licensing changes.

    Today I am announcing that the final bits are now available for download to licensed customers.  Here are some useful links:


    Knowledge Base Article describing the update

    Lab Management Trial page with lots of useful content and links

    The patch you need to install on your clients and servers


    As I mentioned in my previous post (referenced above), this update also includes all TFS fixes that have been made since TFS 2010 released.  This is a great update to install even if you don’t use Lab Management today.  Not only will it enable Lab Management for you to try, it will provide you quite a few TFS fixes/improvements.

    I’m installing everything on my Lab Management rig this afternoon.

    Also remember that Lab Management is now included for all customers who have Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 with MSDN, or Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN. I posted some more details here a few weeks back on these changes, along with a video recording of my keynote demo where I showcased some of the capabilities of Lab Management.

  • Brian Keller

    Getting started with the TFS and Project Server Integration CTP


    Update April 20, 2011: The official RTM release of this integration is now available! You can read about it here. We have published a brand new virtual machine based on the RTM bits, and have retired the original CTP virtual machine. To get started with the new virtual machine visit my blog post.

    Last month the Team Foundation Server team released the first Community Technology Preview (CTP) showcasing integration between Project Server 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2010. This integration will enable the Project Management Office (PMO) to see a consolidated view of the progress and resource availability across all software development projects in Team Foundation Server 2010.  Software teams using Team Foundation Server 2010 can choose to manage their projects using a formal process or an agile process and flow their status and schedule updates into Project Server and Project Managers can preview changes as they flow in, track the work at a high-level and provide live updates to their stakeholders.

    Unfortunately, the CTP download is a whopping 26 files weighing in at over 20GB. The good news is that this is because everything is available in a pre-configured Hyper-V virtual machine (VM), so once you have the VM there’s not much left to configure to begin kicking the tires on this release and sending us feedback. But I’ve written the following instructions to make it easier for you to batch download all of the files required for this release.

    Downloading the virtual machine and associated files:
    I suggest using a download manager for these files since they are very large. My download manager of choice is Free Download Manager. You can use your own favorite download manager, but you may need to adapt the instructions below as appropriate.

    1. Download and install Free Download Manager. This utility provides:
      • Auto-resume support for interrupted downloads.
      • Multiple simultaneous download streams for (usually) a much faster download experience.
      • As the name implies, it's completely free.
    2. Select the appropriate URL’s depending on your preferred virtualization platform and copy (CTRL+C) them to your clipboard.
      ###Select This Section and Copy It (CTRL+C) - Do Not Include This Line###
      ###End - Do Not Include This Row In Your Selection###
    3. Launch the user interface for Free Download Manager (either from the Start Menu or via the system tray icon if FDM is already running).
    4. Click File -> Import -> Import List of URLs from Clipboard.
    5. When prompted for a download group, accept the default and click OK.
    6. You are now free to minimize Free Download Manager while the files download. By default, they will be saved to c:\downloads.

    Once you download the release, follow the instructions on the download details page for extracting it, adding it within Hyper-V, and running the four walkthroughs which showcase the functionality enabled by this integration. The download details page will also refer you to the file called “Virtual Machine Setup Guide.docx” which is included in the list of files you downloaded above.

  • Brian Keller

    Visual Studio 2010 Lab Management is coming later this month!


    This morning at the VSLive! keynote we announced two things I’m really excited about:

    1) Visual Studio 2010 Lab Management will officially release (“RTM”) later this month (by the end of August 2010). For folks following along at home, you may remember that Lab Management was still in a “Release Candidate” state when we RTM’d the rest of the Visual Studio 2010 functionality back in April. It’s a very comprehensive set of functionality, and we wanted to take a few more months to make sure we had it right before officially releasing. Well the wait is almost over…

    2) The other huge piece of news is that if you own Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN or Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 with MSDN, then you already own the Lab Management functionality! This is a change from the previously announced licensing model which would have required that you pay per VM Host that you were deploying your virtual machines onto. Now we’ve removed all of those costs and the associated licensing complexity. As long as each user who works with Lab Management has Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN or Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 with MSDN, then those users are already covered to work with Lab Management. Pretty sweet deal!

    So what, exactly, is Visual Studio 2010 Lab Management? In its simplest sense, Lab Management extends the capability of Team Foundation Server 2010 to provide a way of managing a virtual lab for development and testing.

    Lab Management can help you fully automate your build-deploy-test workflow. Let’s break that down:

    • Your build is the same as it’s always been. This involves compiling your code and generating the associated artifacts (.dll’s, .exe’s, .msi’s, resource files, database schemas, etc.).
    • Lab Management can help you deploy your application into one or more virtual environments. A virtual environment consists of one or more virtual machines. So maybe you need to test your software in a variety of configurations. Single-tier vs. N-tier, Windows Server 2003 & Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista and Windows 7, SQL Server and Oracle, etc., etc. You can see how these environments can start to add up! With physical labs you’d have to requisition and maintain dozens if not hundreds of physical machines, but with virtualization we can consolidate many virtual environments onto just a handful of physical machines. After your software has been built, Lab Management can spin up a virtual environment to a known state, deploy your software using workflow steps that you define, and then snapshot the entire environment so that you can always restore to that point in time (e.g. “I need to see Monday night’s build running in an environment with Windows Server 2008 R2 and Oracle”).
    • Finally, the test component of this workflow means that we can use those virtual environments as the backdrop for running your automated or manual tests. Automated tests (such as unit tests or coded UI tests, see here) can be run against your virtual environments every night. When you get into work in the morning, you’ll already know if changes from last night’s build may have broken important functionality in your software. Your manual test team can also use Lab Management to run their manual tests in these virtual environments. They can run their tests in a variety of environments that are provisioned for them.

    Finally, an important part of what we’re enabling here is the ability to capture actionable bugs when a test fails. In addition to capturing video recordings, event logs, IntelliTrace files, system information, and other such information about the test environment, Lab Management enables a tester to snapshot the entire environment at a point in time. When a bug is created, a shortcut to that snapshot can be included. When the developer gets the bug, they just open that snapshot to be taken to the state of the environment where the bug has been reproduced. No more “no repro” or “It works on my machine!”

    You can watch the VSLive! 2010 Day 2 keynote, which includes more information about why this release is important as well as a product demonstration by yours truly, using the player below:

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    To understand more about the logical architecture employed by Lab Management, or the workflows it enables, visit


    You can watch these videos to see it in action:

    You can get a trial VM here:  For now this is still the Release Candidate build but will be updated with the RTM build as soon as it is available.

    Lastly, here’s the main Lab Management web site for even more info:

    My book includes a chapter on Lab Management as well, and if you follow that link you’ll find a hyperlink to the Manual Testing chapter which is available as a free download.

    Happy testing!

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