Good to see some serious efforts being undertaken to have lab management and automation.
You (or the someone you know) may be asking yourself - why is this a good thing? Here's what the Visual Studio guys told me:
* 30% of testing time is spent in setting up machines and labs
* Under 30% utilization of test and dev assets
* “No Repro” bugs often slip into production impacting project success
The guys also told me:
Unlike other tools, Microsoft’s capabilities around lab management are fully integrated to Visual Studio Team System allowing teams to collaborate more effectively and not have to deal with disparate tools. Lab management is fully integrated with the testing capabilities allowing generalists testers to take quick checkpoints on failures & record rich bugs with links to the environment in the bug that the developer can then open. It is also integrated into the build process allowing customers to automatically trigger a virtual environment provisioning, build deployment & testing of the build.
Lab Management leverages virtualization and allows multiple checkpoints to be created across lab environments (consisting of multiple VMs). Since the checkpoints are part of the same image as opposed to having to clone at every state snapshot, that reduces the proliferation. In addition, lab management ties the environments to the notion of a project which allows the lab administrator to clean up the images as projects are completed.
Lab Management is built on top of System Center Virtual Machine Manager, and thanks to SCVMM managing VMs on multiple hypervisors, Lab Management supports both Hyper-V and VMware ESX out of the box.