VSLive! Day 2: ALM On Stage

Microsoft's Dave Mendlen announces release date for Visual Studio Lab Management 2010 during keynote address.

Day 2 of the VSLive! Conference here on the Redmond, Washington, campus of Microsoft kicked off with a keynote address by Dave Mendlen, senior director of Developer Platform and Tools at Microsoft. The second day keynote focused on application lifecycle management (ALM) in Visual Studio 2010, and included discussions of Team Foundation Server 2010 and the new Microsoft Visual Studio Lab Management product.

Mendlen announced that Visual Studio Lab Management 2010 will be available to all Visual Studio Ultimate and Visual Studio Test Professional customers at the end of August. Lab Management is a virtual lab manager that enables organizations to quickly and efficiently provide virtualized test environments to development teams. The product eliminates the need to manage a host of dedicated systems, by allowing developers to spin up pre-configured virtual machines on demand.

The keynote featured a walk through the expanded test and ALM functionality in Visual Studio 2010. Mendlen emphasized the significant improvements to TFS 2010, which he said is finally in position to replace the venerable Microsoft Visual Source Safe source control package. Earlier versions of TFS, he said, were "too industrial strength."

"We've been trying to find for a long time a replacement for Visual Source Safe, and we finally have that in Visual Studio 2010 with Team Foundation Server," Mendlen said. "It installs in about 10 minutes. It's fantastic."

Microsoft's Brian Kelly conducted a number of demos during the keynote, including a demo showing how a tester can quickly spin up a virtual test machine to recreate a reported bug, using the Microsoft IntelliTrace feature to execute the original, flawed source code.

Said Mendlen: "We want to let you jump into the time machine. In the time machine you can go back to two weeks ago when the tester was actually running the application and step through their code."

In Praise of Virtualization

Also appearing on stage was Theresa Lanowitz, founder of ALM research firm voke, inc. Lanowitz talked about the huge impact that virtualized test lab environments will have on development organizations. She said that virtualization has already revolutionized management and provisioning in data center operations, and is now poised to reshape the ALM landscape. All that is needed, she said, is for a large, trusted vendor to show up with a viable solution.

"What virtual lab management has really done is it is the most revolutionary advance in technology since the IDE," she said. "We no longer have to wait for an operations person to provision an environment for us."

Mendlen kicked off the keynote with a review of the Visual Studio 2010 development cycle and a look at some of the various downloadable Visual Studio extras and add-ons that can help aid developer productivity. Mendlen described Visual Studio Power Tools, which consist of what he described as new technology that Microsoft is "trying out." He also discussed the newer Feature Packs that add "more supported and complete" solutions to the Visual Studio environment.

Mendlen was introduced by Rockford Lohtka, principal technology evangelist at Magenic. Lhotka opened with a humorous tale of how Mendlen, at one time a speechwriter for Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, was fired on his very first day on the job.

"You'll have to ask Dave what he said or what he did. But Bill Gates fired him," Lhotka said. "Obviously he survived that firing and he is now senior director of Developer Platform and Tools."

Quipped Mendlen: "It is a right of passage at Microsoft to have been fired by Bill Gates."

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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