Modern development and infrastructure

With the cloud development the last few years we have a couple of new opportunities regarding infrastructure on developer workstations, team collaboration, development/test and production environments.

Developer workstations

There are two important aspects regarding developer workstations:

The first is the time to get a new workstation running, the average time to get a new team member effective is about three weeks. This depends on the time the get the hardware in place and the actual software needed.

The second is the cost for the actual hardware, developer usually have high demands on their computers and most companies buy new workstations in 2-3 year intervals. Apart from this some laptops are lost.

The solution is to run the developer workstations in the Azure. Microsoft have prepared images for the different versions of Visual Studio, it only takes a couple of minutes to spin them up and as part of the setup you select how much RAM and CPU you need and of course you can change this whenever you need. A bonus is that you can access your workstation from anywhere.

Team Collaboration

As a collaborative platform for source code, project planning, build and release you might use Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS). TFS also exits as service, Visual Studio Online (VSO). There are a number of advantages with VSO compared to “on-premises” TFS, for example:

  • Better access to the platform, you can access it from anywhere in the world, you can access your data with your Live-id or with your AD-account if you use Azure Active Directory.
  • Cheaper, as you don’t need your own hardware.
  • You don’t need to handle any upgrades, Microsoft will handle this for you. New functionality is release every third week.

Development, test and production environments

The test environments are usually a large cost for many companies especially in relation to how much they are used. By using Azure for your development and test environments you don’t need your own hardware for this. You can also scale up and out depending on your needs and you only pay for the time that the servers are turned on.

A bottleneck for many companies is that it can take weeks to create a new environment or modify an existing, with Azure you do this with just a click.

There are services you can use in Azure without spinning up any servers at all, for example:

  • Web applications
  • SQL-databases
  • BizTalk-services

Load testing

There are possibilities through MSDN and Azure to create load test rigs so that you don’t need to have your own infrastructure for this.

What does all this cost?

Microsoft has a license calculator where you can add your infrastructure to see what this would cost you. Test the calculator here.

If you have an MSDN license, then you can use most of this for free, login to MSDN and activate your MSDN benefits.