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Visual Studio Live! Keynote: How the Cloud Improves ALM

Microsoft's Craig Kitterman demonstrated cloud-based load testing and monitoring for applications.

Earlier this week, Visual Studio Live! kicked off with a keynote address that played to a packed house. Microsoft's Craig Kitterman led the agenda with a keynote presentation on modern application lifecycle management.

"The primary focus of the discussion was how the cloud lights up new and interesting scenarios for developers across the application lifecycle," said Kitterman, the group product manager for Visual Studio. He pointed out how working with the cloud changes existing processes and enables new ones.

"The focus was on where the cloud is changing things within application lifecycle, and how developers can do things they've always done in new way," he says. "They're doing what they've always done, but in a slightly different way. They can also do new things that weren't simply available before the cloud."

During the hour-long session, Kitterman demonstrated the Visual Studio Online cloud-based testing and Visual Studio Online Application Insights, and performed a development test on Azure. "I showed how to create a development test environment in Azure over a secure network connection." He also spoke about developing apps in the new Azure preview portal, which was recently announced.

The most important message, according to Kitterman, is how Microsoft is supporting its developer population. "The primary bit is empowering developers. We're giving them more capabilities to develop applications where they are less reliant on traditional processes and organizational boundaries," he said.

"In the past, to spin up a development test environment, I had to call IT and order servers. Then I had to set up and configure those," he said, recalling the traditional process. "Now I can spin up a virtual infrastructure within the cloud and do all my development tests without having to bother anyone. It certainly speeds up the process, but also gives me the flexibility to do things on my own terms."

There's a gap between application development and understanding how those applications will perform under load, says Kitterman. "I asked how many in the crowd deployed apps to the public. About 70 percent raised their hands. Then I asked how many performed automated load testing, and only about four hands went up."

Tools like cloud-based load testing and monitoring with solutions like Application Insights can provide a greater understanding of what is happening inside the apps, he added. "They can see and understand how their app is behaving under various circumstances. They can troubleshoot it down to the single line of code that is causing the problem. It gives them an end-to-end view."

Performing a full range of load test on applications can help prevent problems when those apps are fully deployed to the public, said Kitterman. "Inevitably, things are going to go wrong," he says. "You'd rather identify those things before your customers do. By using Application Insights and performing load testing, you can proactively identify those problems." (A more in-depth discussion of test/dev environments can be found here.)

Doing so has very real financial implications. "If your business and your revenue rely on apps and services remaining up and responsive, then you're losing revenue if your sites go down. You're literally losing money every moment they're down. Quickly understanding and fixing that point of failure can help your business."

Visual Studio Live! was held May 5-8 in Chicago. The next event is on the Microsoft campus, from Aug. 18-22.

About the Author

Lafe Low is the editorial liaison for ECG Events.

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