Microsoft launches Visual Studio Lab Management 2010 beta

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The few vendors busy in the virtual lab automation space (which include VMware, Surgient, VMLogix, Skytap and the almost died StackSafe) may soon have a big, big problem called Microsoft.

After wasting years not leveraging its huge developers community to spread virtualization in every corner of the world, the company is finally moving on.

Announced in November 2008, the integration between Visual Studio 2010, System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2008 and Hyper-V 1.0/2.0 for virtual lab automation scenarios is now a reality called Visual Studio 2010 Lab Management.

The product just entered the beta 1 phase and has the potential to become a huge hit in the .NET world.


The Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) Lab Management Team has recently started a blog that introduces to the virtual lab automation and the capabilities of Visual Studio 2010 that is well worth a subscription.
Here’s a small excerpt from their first article:

The lab management service in TFS uses System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) for management of lab infrastructure and provisioning of virtual machines across multiple virtualization platforms. You get a copy of SCVMM with Lab Management.

Microsoft Test and Lab Manager is a Windows Presentation Foundation based rich client. The Lab Center in Test and Lab Manager allows you to

  • Create and manage virtual or physical environments
  • Take environment snapshots or revert to existing snapshots for virtual environments
  • Interact with the virtual machines in the environments through environment viewer
  • Define test settings for the environments

You can define test plans, test suites and test cases in the Testing Center and execute them on the lab environments.

VS2010VLA_WUIAt the heart of this product there is the concept of the workflow:

Lab Management workflow activities are bundled with Team Foundation Build Service. You can drag and drop these activities in Windows workflow designer to create custom workflows that allow you to

  • quickly provision a virtual environment
  • revert to ‘clean’ environment in tens of seconds by using environment snapshot instead of running multiple ‘cleanup’ scripts or reinstalling OS and application prerequisites
  • using distributed workflow, run setup and configuration scripts on virtual machines
  • Take post deployment environment snapshots, etc


This beta 1 is set to expire in mid-April 2010 so it’s very likely that the RTM will be available a few months before that deadline.