Azure DevTest Labs

I have been working at Microsoft now for 3 years and 4 months (side note: it’s by far the best company I have ever worked for).  You would think by now I know about every Azure product, but we release new products and services at such a tremendously fast pace that almost weekly I discover something I did not know about.  Today was one of those days as I discovered Azure DevTest Labs, which was made generally available in May 2016 (it public previewed in November 2015).

Here is the overview:

Developers and testers are looking to solve the delays in creating and managing their environments by going to the cloud.  Azure solves the problem of environment delays and allows self-service within a new cost efficient structure.  However, developers and testers still need to spend considerable time configuring their self-served environments.  Also, decision makers are uncertain about how to leverage the cloud to maximize their cost savings without adding too much process overhead.

Azure DevTest Labs is a service that helps developers and testers quickly create environments in Azure while minimizing waste and controlling cost.  You can test the latest version of your application by quickly provisioning Windows and Linux environments using reusable templates and artifacts.  Easily integrate your deployment pipeline with DevTest Labs to provision on-demand environments.  Scale up your load testing by provisioning multiple test agents, and create pre-provisioned environments for training and demos.

Azure DevTest Labs addresses the problems in Dev/Test environments today majorly through four aspects:

  • Quickly be “ready to test” – DevTest Labs enables you to create pre-provisioned environments with everything your team needs to start developing and testing applications.  Simply claim the environments where the last good build of your application is installed and get working right away.  Or, use containers for even faster and leaner environment creation
  • Worry-free self-service – DevTest Labs makes it easier to control costs by allowing you to set policies on your lab – such as number of virtual machines (VM) per user and number of VMs per lab.  DevTest Labs also enables you to create policies to automatically shut down and start VMs
  • Create once, use everywhere – Capture and share environment templates and artifacts within your team or organization – all in source control – to create developer and test environments easily
  • Integrates with your existing toolchain – Leverage pre-made plug-ins or our API to provision Dev/Test environments directly from your preferred continuous integration (CI) tool, integrated development environment (IDE), or automated release pipeline. You can also use our comprehensive command-line tool

Jeff Gilbert’s TechNet blog has some great blogs on Azure DevTest Labs as well as Praveen Kumar Sreeram, and there are some excellent short videos by Microsoft to help you get started.

You’ll need a subscription that provides you monthly Azure credits to use DevTest labs.  Besides the pay-as-you-go option, there are free options and subscription options:

* MSDN Platforms is available exclusively through Microsoft Volume Licensing. For pricing and purchase details, contact your Microsoft account representative, Microsoft Partner, or an authorized volume licensing reseller.

More info:

Getting to know Azure DevTest Labs

How to Use Azure DevTest Labs for Test Environments and Dev Machines

Azure DevTest Labs.

More about Azure DevTest Labs

About James Serra

James is a big data and data warehousing solution architect at Microsoft. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence architect and developer. He is a prior SQL Server MVP with over 25 years of IT experience.
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2 Responses to Azure DevTest Labs

  1. Adam Gilmore says:

    Hi James

    Thanks for the article. We use DevLabs extensively, to set up test platforms for our product, and as development environments for our consulting work. It saves us a lot of time, hassle and cost, whilst being able to keep control of data and licencing.

    One thing, the prices you quoted are for MSDN subscriptions for Visual Studio. There are now, so called, cloud subscriptions which are cheaper – see https://www.visualstudio.com/vs/pricing/ . I’ve written an article on Visual Studio licencing for BI developers explaining the options – http://www.dimodelo.com/blog/2016/understanding-visual-studio-2015-licencing-for-bi-developers/

    • James Serra says:

      Hi Adam,

      Thanks for pointing out your excellent article about licencing! I try to avoid talking about licensing as I find it confusing, so I’m glad to see your blog which explains it so well. Thanks!