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InfoQ Homepage News Capture the Application, not just the Screenshot with VS Lab Management

Capture the Application, not just the Screenshot with VS Lab Management

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Visual Studio Lab Management 2010 is a highly integrated virtualization, development, and testing tool. It combines Visual Studio 2010, the virtualization server Hyper-V 2008, and System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM). Microsoft initially released Lab Management as a standalone product, but has now integrated it into Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN and Visual Studio Test Professional with MSDN.

The inability to reproduce bugs has always been a headache for developers. Lab Management helps streamline this process via rich bug reporting. When testers encounter an error, they can create a snapshot of the virtual environment at that moment: not just a screenshot, but the current state of the application or website and all the servers involved. When a developer receives the bug report, they see the bug in its original state, along with the collected diagnostic information.

The virtual lab environment makes it easier to provision virtual servers, configure complex scenarios, and dispose of them when they’re no longer needed. It’s not even necessary to maintain each configuration during the entire testing process, since checkpoints are attached to bugs; when the developer views the bug, the environment is restored to the point at which the error occurred.

Microsoft introduced this tool to significantly reduce the time and money spent on hardware, server administration, and the development/testing lifecycle. Lab Management is completely integrated into the Visual Studio Team System, making it simpler to configure virtual test labs and delete them when the process is complete. Hyper-V Server’s network isolation eliminates the need to manually configure routing and DNS addressing. Testers can create both manual and automatic test plans, and execute them in multiple virtual environments. With checkpoints, developers no longer have to spend time attempting to reproduce an error, and IntelliTrace logs provide more information than traditional error logging methods.

Lab Management can also be used in physical environments or with different virtualization solutions, such as VMWare. However, features like automatic build deployment and virtual server configuration and templates will not be available on non-Hyper-V platforms.

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