Microsoft offer Visual Studio Lab ManagementOffering aid to quality assurance labs, Microsoft this week began offering Visual Studio Lab Management for Visual Studio 2010 users, enabling automation of the build-deploy-test process for software development while maintaining visibility into the process itself.

Managing a quality assurance lab can be challenging, said S. Somasegar, senior vice president of the Microsoft Developer Division, in a blog post.

"A dizzying number of machines need to be set up, torn down, or restored to a particular snapshot so the software team can work at maximum efficiency. Daily builds need to be available on schedule. Multiple virtual machine environments need to be managed. Managing a lab efficiently can be a significant task," Somasegar said.

Visual Studio Lab Management leverages Microsoft Hyper-V virtualisation, enabling an integrated Hyper-V-based test lab.

"Getting an environment configured correctly just to reproduce a bug can take significant time and effort," Somasegar said. "Lab Management allows testers to provide a link to a virtual machine snapshot directly in a bug report so developers can see exactly what testers see. Developers can spend more time debugging and less time installing, configuring, and deploying."

Users can store, manage, and deploy to known configurations and test environments using Microsoft's System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

A preconfigured VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) of Visual Studio 2010 Lab Management is available at Microsoft's website.

Visual Studio Lab Management is offered for MSDN-based customers of Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 and Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate.