Skytap Automation Pack Brings Testing to the Cloud

The product combines on-premises TFS testing with the speed and agility of the hosted cloud.

Today, Seattle-based Skytap Inc. released the Skytap Automation Pack, designed to securely connect enterprises' on-premises app dev tools with the Skytap Cloud. The Automation Pack extends on-premises Visual Studio Team Foundation Server (TFS) 2012 and Visual Studio 2012 into the Skytap Cloud, where businesses can build and run dev and test environments in a flexible, Agile fashion. Skytap claims its solution reduces the cost of provisioning test environments on-premises, and allows enterprises to use the Microsoft technology they trust in a secure cloud environment that can scale with ease.

The Skytap Automation Pack installs on top of TFS. The client-side download allows users to create build-deploy-test (BDT) workflows in Visual Studio as they normally would, then perform the provisioning, deployment and testing in the Skytap Cloud. Users access the Skytap Cloud with a secure VPN; the Automation Pack starts the VPN connection automatically. With Skytap and Microsoft Test Manager, users can create "golden templates" of test environments for reuse. If a test fails, users can save the test environment for debugging and QA review. Additionally, test pass reports can be grouped together for review in Test Manager.

According to Sumit Mehrotra, director of product management at Skytap, the Automation Pack was created with five objectives in mind: provide IT with an internal, self-service interface; create whole environments; provide ease of deployment; be built for teams; and provide visibility to IT, so devs can monitor the tools they use for development and testing.

Mehrotra explained that the product combines to serve two enterprise trends -- the need for greater productivity and speed, and the wide adoption of the cloud.

"By combining their on-premises TFS or Visual Studio environments with Skytap Cloud, Agile teams can deliver products faster, increasing the speed at which the organization can generate revenue," Mehrotra said in a press release.

The Skytap Automation Pack is available now as a free download. While the product itself will remain free, a Skytap subscription is needed to utilize it. After a 14-day free trial, Skytap access carries a monthly subscription fee that's based on how many VMs a customer runs, and for how many hours they use the Skytap system. This pricing structure allows clients to start small and scale up their Skytap use as needed.

About the Author

Katrina Carrasco is the associate group managing editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group. She can be reached at [email protected]

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