Microsoft to Focus on Collaboration, ALM in Visual Studio vNext

Discussing the next major version of its flagship Visual Studio development suite, now known as Visual Studio vNext, Microsoft officials emphasized a focus on Application Lifecycle Management (ALM).

ATLANTA-At its TechEd North America 2011 conference here, Microsoft demonstrated new capabilities for managing and developing applications for the cloud and devices.

Indeed, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Robert Wahbe, who kicked off the keynote address for the event, said the keynote would focus on the cloud and devices, and how the Microsoft applications and platforms work across the cloud and the myriad devices cropping up for use by consumers and businesses.

Wahbe split the keynote responsibilities with Jason Zander. Zander is the corporate vice president for the Visual Studio team in the Developer Division who at Microsoft who talked about new features in Visual Studio to support the overall ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) process. Zander also set out to show how developers could use Microsoft's Visual Studio tools to build apps for the public and private cloud as well as for devices that leverage the strength of Microsoft's management tools for operations.

Moreover, with organizations facing increased pressure to build, deliver and run applications across a variety of devices and deployment scenarios, Zander announced Microsoft's vision for ALM in the next version of Visual Studio, which he referred to as Visual Studio vNext. With Visual Studio vNext, Zander said, "We want to pull in even more people, from stakeholders to operations staff." Though Microsoft has not acknowledged whether the next version of Visual Studio will be officially known and vNext or Visual Studio 2012, ALM clearly will play a bigger part in the next release. See the latest Visual Studio roadmap here. Zander and Cameron Skinner, general manager of Microsoft's Visual Studio Ultimate team, described how Microsoft's ALM offering builds on the strong track record of previous Visual Studio releases, and helps improve the flow of information between key stakeholders involved in planning, building and managing applications.

Zander also demonstrated a connector that links Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 and Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 to improve the interaction between the development and operations teams. The connector enables an operations team to send application performance monitoring and diagnostic information immediately to the engineering team. Microsoft delivered a community technology preview of the new connector today, available for download at

In a portion of his May 16 blog post on the new connector, Zander said:

"The relationship between the application development and the IT operations teams is critical. We've just released a CTP of the new connector between System Center and Visual Studio Team Foundation Server (TFS) 2010 that facilitates the alignment between development and operations. The connector enables an operations team to assign application performance monitoring and diagnostic information gathered by System Center to TFS for immediate attention and application incident triage by the engineering team. Using this support, the operations team can easily capture key data (like call stacks) and automatically deliver them to the engineering team (another example of actionable feedback)."