Last week a bunch of us at Engage went to Days of .NET. Many of us have attended this conference for years and have always left feeling completely geeked out. This year was no different.
It is clear that Microsoft has been working hard on its cloud offering, Microsoft Azure, with what seems like an all-out sprint to become a major player in the cloud space. Azure is a space where Engage will be focusing more on in 2015.
While at the event I took the opportunity to sit in on several talks around Continuous Delivery and the tools that are available in Visual Studio 2013. There is an overwhelming number of features available in Premium and Ultimate Versions. Here is a short list of the tools I found particularly interesting.
Release Management Portal – Microsoft acquired InRelease back in June of 2013 which is a solution for automating deployments. This tool is being positioned as just one part of Microsoft’s strategy for the new DevOps methodology that is being adopted by many companies. The tool itself provides a central place for managing and deploying bits to any number of environments. The process is complete with the concept of an “Approver” and scheduling of release off hours so you don’t have to be there.
Cloud based Load Testing – This one was particularly interesting since most applications we create these days are load tested either by an internal or external resource or company. Anyone who has tried to setup real load testing knows that this can quickly turn into an infrastructure nightmare just trying to get the appropriate hardware configured and in place. With Azure, you get 15,000 virtual users free with your Azure subscription AND you can load test applications that aren’t even running in Azure.
Application Insights – Monitor your deployed live applications! There are hundreds of approaches and different logging frameworks but none as complete as Application Insights, period. We’ve actually been using this for some time now and it is super easy to add to any application. The out of the box configuration collects tons of data and an extension is available for Visual Studio to allow you to collect pretty much any data of importance such as events, counters, etc...
Visual Studio Intellitrace – With Visual Studio Ultimate you can record specific events that happened in your applications and play them back later including examination of the locals window variables! How many hours have you spent trying to recreate an issue that only happens in the production environment? Very nice.
The list goes on and on. As usual, it’s hard to leave an event like this without learning something.