Release Management

The faster your software is deployed, the quicker you can get feedback. With release management in Visual Studio you can configure, approve and deploy your applications for any environment. Create automated deployment orchestrations for each environment no matter how complex the configuration. Delivering your software more frequently and easily to an environment allows your testers to get to work validating your system and keeps your stakeholders involved in giving feedback.

Deployment

We've been working to more loosely couple our deployment automation capabilities with our Release Management feature. In this change we’ve combined our build automation pipeline and deployment pipeline, using the same extensibility model for both. That means the same deployment tasks can be seamlessly used as part of a simple build/deploy workflow or as part of a larger release management workflow with multiple deployments, validations, approvals, etc. This greatly simplifies our story and improves flexibility.

Deployment improvements:

  • Deploy to cloud or on premises: You can deploy applications both to cloud and on premises environments.
  • Auto-provision cloud environments: Using Azure, you can automatically provision the hardware as part of the deployment process. Ultimately we’ll enable this on prem as well by bringing it together with our existing lab management capabilities on top of SCVMM.
  • Support for deployments to any platform: You can use our deployment tasks to orchestrate cross platform deployments with either Chef or Powershell DSC on Linux.
  • Docker support: We have support for doing deployments using Docker.

Release validation

Testing plays a critical role in any modern DevOps release pipeline. Above, as part of build, we've talked about running automated unit tests and reporting results but a proper validation needs to run tests against the deployed application as well. We’re doing a bunch of work both in TFS 2015 and on VS Online to enable these scenarios easily.

  • Functional testing service: We have a new service that works in concert with release management to automatically deploy test agents and tests. It will then execute those tests, possibly in parallel and report the results back to TFS/VSO. These functional tests can be VS Coded UI tests, Selenium tests, Appium tests and more… The results of these tests can be used in the release pipeline to automatically validate deployments.

  • Load tests: We now support running load tests as part of the release management pipeline so that you can validate performance, scale and reliability as part of your automated release sign-off process. We’ve recently upgraded the VSO cloud load test service to support runs of up to 200 cores, enabling very large scale load tests.

  • Test analysis: We’ve provided a new test analysis experience in the test hub that allows you to review/investigate test results, file bugs, etc. This is linked directly from the test results you find in both the build and release reports.

Improved performance

Release Management for Visual Studio 2015 improves upon the performance of Visual Studio 2013 in the following areas:

  • The release management client launch page, which shows an overview of the release process and notifications.
  • Rendering and interactivity in other release management client pages, through additional caching.
  • Synchronization of Active Directory and TFS security groups.
  • Creation of new releases.
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