One of the best applications of Azure, and specifically Infrastructure Services, is the ability to spin up test environments quickly and easily, image them for future use, use them to system test your software and then shut everything down. I remember the days of waiting weeks to get new environments setup or grappling with the memory on my desktop to virtualise an environment. Add to this the ability to more closely replicate a production environment within test then load testing and performance benchmarking become less of a headache or become more accessible to development teams that maybe haven’t done this level of testing or benchmarking before. This is a very powerful use of the cloud and is a workload I am seeing more and more customers implementing.
Another massive benefit of this approach, and one I remember from my SharePoint development days, is the ability to do this without the IT department being a bottle neck. This is a contentious issue but I am seeing more and more IT departments embracing this now rather than seeing it as a threat, which is a great thing. Azure allows IT to control the environment which may involve creating private clouds and linking to the on premise development environment using VPN. IT can now setup alerts on developer subscriptions and developers have the freedom to spin up and tear down their own environments. Add to this System Centre and IT can now remove themselves as a bottleneck but at the same time control the environment.
If we bring this a couple of steps further we then start to think about how developers complete builds, share code, unit test or implement continuous integration within a distributed development team. Doing this on premise requires significant infrastructure, the need for security and access control for distributed teams and opens up the area for a cloud based solution to application life cycle management. So, I believe yesterday’s announcement of Visual Studio Online is a massive step forward and re-enforces the view that ultimately we are moving towards a platform/software as a service world where infrastructure is managed for us and we simply don’t think about it anymore, after all, as software developers we don’t really care about the infrastructure, do we?
So, if you are a software developer or architect please take a look at the link below and see how you can use the cloud to:
- Collaborate with your team
- Share and control your code
- Create your backlogs and kanban boards
- Run your builds
- Load test your code
- Share and build your Java code from Eclispe
I would love to hear about your experience of developing or testing on Azure so please comment or contact me directly if you would like to share.
P.S. Remember that the father of .NET and Azure, Scott Guthrie, will be in Dublin ( northside ) on December 2, you will need to register soon as places are nearly full: