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Project Description

This Visual Studio ALM Ranger project has the primary goal of delivering scenario based and hands-on guidance for the planning, setup, configuration and usage of Visual Studio Lab Management, backed by custom VM Template automation for reference environments.

Bookmark the Visual Studio Lab Management Guidance TOC blog and monitor the Visual Studio ALM Rangers blog, using tag tfslm, for the latest information on this project.

The Visual Studio ALM Rangers VM Factory project is a companion solution, which is focused on the Virtual Machine (VM) Factory used by and referred to by this guidance.

Let us step through the guidance and present a hypothetical usage scenario.

  • The user would pick up the guidance and digest the introduction, the personas, the user stories and the planning, setup and configuration basics, covered in section “Planning, setup and configuring Lab Management for ALM”. Using the guidance and the personas poster, the user would decide which company, persona and team is relevant, in essence whether we are talking about a large Humungous Insurance type customer team environment, or a small Trey Research team environment.
  • The user would complete the capacity planning workbook, defining the products to be tested, the library template environment, the environment configurations and Team project collections. The workbook calculates the host and library requirements and presents guidance in terms of the minimum number of specialised machines needed, such as build and test controllers.


  • The user would then consume the “Planning, setup and configuring Test Lab environments” section to determine the correct test lab type and environment to plan, setup and configure.
  • The “Maintaining Lab Management environments” section presents strategies for the backup and restore of the Lab Management and Test Lab environments.
  • Finally, the user can refer to the “Using the VM Factory to automate golden template creation” to create and configure a VM Factory that can automate the consistent creation and configuration of virtual machines. The VM Factory currently create a base image with the agents installed and a consolidated image which includes a TFS (ATDT), Visual Studio and agent environment.

The guidance therefore steps the user through the planning, the setup, the maintenance and the automation of the Lab Management environment. The “Setup and configure automated and manual test environments”, completes the circle by guiding the user through the use of the Lab management environment to perform manual and automated testing.

Visual Studio ALM Rangers

This guidance is created by the Visual Studio ALM Rangers, who have the mission to provide out of band solutions for missing features and/or guidance. This content was created with support from Microsoft Product Group, members of Microsoft Services, Microsoft Most Valued Professionals (MVPs) and technical specialists from technology communities around the globe, giving you a real-world view from the field, where the technology has been tested and used.

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What is in the downloads?

The content is packaged in 3 separate zip files to give you the choice of selective downloads. The default download is the first of the listed packages:

  • Guidance, which includes scenario based practical guidance and frequently asked questions.
  • Hands-on Labs (HOL), which includes the HOL documents that provide walkthroughs of the technology, based on the guidance
  • HOL Package, which includes a HOL environment setup package which allows you to setup the HOL environment in your own environment

The Epics included in the guidance are:

  • Epic - Visualisation of the guidance using quick reference posters
  • Epic - Provide guidance on Visual Studio 2012 and 2013 changes in Lab Management
  • Epic - Advanced golden image management using the VM Factory for Lab Management
  • Epic - Provide guidance on setting up Test environments with respect to pre-defined personas
  • Epic - Provide guidance to enable large and small teams to setup and configure both automated and manual tests
  • Epic - Provide practical guidance for managing and maintaining a Lab Management environment
  • Epic - Provide practical guidance to enable teams to quickly setup and configure their lab management environment
  • Epic - Provide guidance on automating the build-deploy-test process

External References

Visual Studio ALM Rangers VM Factory which is the reference implementation of a software solution that automates the creation of Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server virtualized environments. Please visit and follow this project for the latest releases.


  • V3
  • V2
    • Bob Leithiser, Joe Donnelly, John Bergman, Manish Ahuja, Mathias Olausson, Michael Fourie, Richard Florance, Thomas Isler, Thomas Schissler, Vijay Machiraju, Willly-Peter Schaub
  • V1
    • Adimulam Sudheer, Akhil Walia, Bijan Javidi, Brian Blackman, Brian Minisi, Bob Hardister, Chris Burrows, Christian Nielsen, Ewald Hofman, Francisco Fagas, Giulio Vian, Harish Reddy Kothapalli, Hassan Fadili, Jahangeer Mohammed, Kris Lankford, Mark Nichols, Mathias Olausson, Micheal Learned, Pål Bendiksen, Patricia Wagner, Paul Meyer, Pieter Gheysens, Richard Florance, Rui Melo, Siraj Syed, Sven Hubert, Thomas Schissler, Tony Feissle, Vijay Machiraju, Willy-Peter Schaub, Zayd Kara

How to submit new ideas?

The recommended method is to post ideas to the Discussions page or to contact the Rangers at


Post comments on the Discussions page.



… “Nicola” the African Hawk Eagle (AHE) … the project codename.

Last edited Jan 17, 2017 at 4:49 PM by wschaub, version 50