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Cloud Service Targets Agile Development with Visual Studio and TFS

If your shop has groups of Visual Studio developers who use Microsoft's Team Foundation Server (TFS) looking to enable more agile development and testing processes, a new cloud-based offering aims to automate the provisioning of these tools.

The new service is not from Microsoft but rather Skytap, a boutique provider of cloud-based infrastructure targeted at developers. The Skytap Automation Pack for Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server is designed to dynamically create development and testing environments by automatically provisioning TFS, Visual Studio and Microsoft's Testing Manager workflows using Skytap Cloud.

Sumit Mehrotra, Skytap's director of product management, explained that developers can use the automation pack in a variety of scenarios, such as those building .NET client apps and for n-Tier server environments such as SharePoint Web Parts. The automation pack is designed to make it easier to define environments and bring them up repeatedly via the click of a button or an API call, according to Mehrotra.

"Within a minute you can stand-up a complex SharePoint Web Part and deploy it to that farm," Mehrotra said. "And you can do it multiple times and multiple people can do it in parallel. That ease of use really puts the speed back in agile development."

Though Skytap is an established cloud provider, I asked Mehrotra why shops would opt to run it on his company's service rather than Microsoft's Windows Azure. While there's no reason one couldn't do that, he argued that "it would take a fair bit of effort to set up that environment and set up the capabilities, so it could be served up as a golden template and copies of it could be brought up at the click of a button."

The company launched the Skytap Automation Pack for Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server at the Microsoft ALM 3 Summit, taking place this week in Redmond.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 01/29/2013 at 12:48 PM


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