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Accelerating Build-Deploy-Test Workflows


Cloud automation company Skytap has launched a new automation pack to create testing environments in the Skytap cloud. The automation options work with on-premise Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS), Visual Studio, and Testing Manager workflows. There is compatibility with a range of application development workloads ranging from .NET client applications to complex n-tier server applications, such as SharePoint.

The firm says that developers using TFS and Visual Studio 2012 can accelerate build-deploy-test (BDT) workflows here.

Skytap sells its offering based on the assertion that while some cloud services have attempted to provide a foundation for Agile environments, they often require sacrifices from the development and test teams. The firm says that many cloud providers operate at the basic Infrastructure-as-a-Service level, which typically requires an upfront time and resource investment to create the target cloud environments in advance. The Skytap Automation Pack (on the other hand) is combination deal; i.e., it provides the automated scale and elasticity of cloud infrastructure coupled with the preferred tools and processes that development and test teams are currently using today.

"Agile development for the cloud demands rapid deployment, a focus on user experience, and access to highly elastic resources for software testing, while requiring comparatively less underlying infrastructure for developing applications," said Asheesh Raina, principal research analyst at Gartner, in a report titled "Market Trends: Application Development Software, Worldwide, 2012-2016." "The trend is compelling enough to force traditional agile development vendors to 'cloud enable' their existing offerings and position them as a service to be delivered through the cloud."

With this solution, developers can:

  • Run TFS on-premise and automatically spin-up, run, and tear down complex Microsoft development and testing environments in Skytap Cloud on-demand
  • Dynamically provision secure VPN network connectivity between test environments in Skytap Cloud and TFS without manual intervention
  • Create golden templates of complete test environments in Skytap Cloud using Microsoft Test Manager — automating the creation of identical clean environments for each test pass
  • Automatically snapshot entire test environments in Skytap Cloud to investigate and diagnose root cause of test pass failures
  • Review consolidated test pass reports using Microsoft Test Manager
  • Support complex testing requirements of n-tier applications with virtual test environments that are identical to production environments on-premise or in Microsoft Azure

"Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012 is an enterprise ALM solution that enables teams to deliver software at a continuous cadence with agility and quality. The lab management capability of the solution delivers self-service experiences for developers and testers that reduce the cycle times in provisioning and managing development and test environments with operational compliance," said Karthik Ravindran, senior director of ALM product management at Microsoft.

"With the Skytap Automation Pack, teams can extend their Team Foundation Server ALM lab infrastructure beyond their on-premise investments, to include the option of the Skytap cloud infrastructure. This option will enable teams to burst to the Skytap cloud from within their ALM workflows for dev and test lab management and gain the economics of scale benefits of cloud computing for dev and test workloads."


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