Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Embraces DevOps

by Bach B
Microsoft is going to release Visual Studio 2011 soon, and they aim for a better working environment for DevOps.

For anyone who does not know what DevOps is, “DevOps” is  an emerging set of principles, methods and practices for communication, collaboration and integration between software development (application/software engineering) and IT operations (systems administration/infrastructure) professionals. It has developed in response to the emerging understanding of the interdependence and importance of both the development and operations disciplines in meeting an organization’s goal of rapidly producing software products and services. In short, it means the collaboration and communication between software developers and operation personnel.

The usual problem is when something happens during the operation, the developers often have to re-create the problem on their own, often using little vague information from the operations staff.  Very few tools allows operators to communicate issues to the developers in a way that the developers find useful. Say hello to bug tickets from testers/staffs!

So what will Visual Studio 2011 bring to the table to solve this problem? One feature is a bridge to Microsoft System Center 2012, a management tool used by operators or system administrators. When a program crashes, System Center’s Operation Manager collects a set of diagnostic information, such as a stack trace, that can be used by the developer to pinpoint the bug. With a click of a mouse from within System Center, the administrator can pipe that information directly over to the developer.

Another feature is a new version of Visual Studio’s IntelliTrace for operations. IntelliTrace is a live debugging aid introduced in the Ultimate edition of Visual Studio 2010. However, IntelliTrace could only be used from within Visual Studio. In Visual Studio 2011, IntelliTrace agents can be planted with the operational program itself. So when a program crashes on a production server, a summary of actions leading up to that crash can be captured even if Visual Studio is not on the server. This would be helpful in debugging hard-to-find problems, ones that could cause a program to crash only after working fine for days, weeks or months.

Microsoft did not announce the final release date for Visual Studio 2011 yet, but it is widely expected to be sometime this year. The new version will feature a simpler user interface, as well as support for building Windows 8 Metro applications.

Jackson, Joab (Feb 23, 2012), IDG News,  Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Embraces DevOps from http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/250565/microsoft_visual_studio_11_embraces_devops.html