How Azure DevTest Labs and CloudShell Colony Enable Remote Developer Collaboration

How Azure DevTest Labs and CloudShell Colony Enable Remote Developer Collaboration

Pascal Joly
August 18, 2020

The COVID 19 pandemic has redefined the work environment in profound ways. It is now clear that for the software developer, going to the office will no longer be the norm. In order to maintain employee productivity, many collaboration platforms such as Zoom and WebEx are facilitating interactions. Standardization of the developer environment is a key factor to enable the end-to-end continuous development and release of applications. Azure Dev Test Lab services and Quali have been partnering to offer a complete solution that let developer teams accomplish their jobs, while using automation to deliver results in a secure, cost effective, and compliant way.

The Problem: Inconsistency Leads to Poor Quality and Security Vulnerabilities

When your technical teams work remotely, they start with individual laptop configurations and VPN access. However, it quickly becomes obvious that even with a gold image and standards to follow, these environments will diverge very quickly overtime. What happens next? Bugs get discovered later in the application development cycle, and the quality suffers. Worse, issues remain undetected until the application is released to production which translates into poor customer experience and loss of trust.

Furthermore, individual configurations eventually may lead to security vulnerabilities. While a wide range of security scanning tools are available in the market, security policies may not be applied consistently across all the remote workers.

Adopting Cloud Resources and Automation

One of the first steps to achieve a better consistency across all environments is to use cloud resources. Azure provides a wide range of infrastructure and native cloud services that can fulfill that need. However, this is not enough — automation is required to scale and accelerate the application release process all the way to production, adopting the DevOps approach.

Automation is one of the key factors in enabling DevOps-ready organizations. Using best of breed tools and processes, the DevOps engineer is expected to find the optimal solution for the developers, that will enable them to do their job with the highest quality and in the most secure way.

Key Questions the DevOps Engineer Needs to Answer:

  • How do you control consumption of Azure resources?
  • How do you model complex application environments?
  • How do you ensure secure and isolated environments for all users?
  • How do you ensure that application environments are standardized from development all the way to production?
  • How does the IT manager track Azure infrastructure costs for each application development team?

Achieving Standardization, Security Compliance, and DevOps Automation with Azure DevTest Labs and CloudShell Colony

In order to answer all these questions, Azure DevTest Labs and the Quali team have joined forces to provide a solution that truly enables remote developer teams to collaborate securely using standardized environments, while giving the ability to the DevOps engineer to automate application releases all the way to production.

For simple Developer environments, Azure DevTest Labs offers a controlled and managed space for developers to use cloud resources. Using policies to enforce governance, security, and cost compliance, the IT manager can enable distributed teams to have consistent environments.

For more complex application environments, CloudShell Colony provides a simpler way for the DevOps engineer to design and model cloud-native applications, hosted on VMs or containers using AKS.

The administrator can apply rules to allow user access to specific spaces that maps to application development teams, therefore controlling access.

Furthermore, CloudShell Colony offers an integrated experience that ensures consistency of the managed application environments all the way to production. Out of the box CI/CD plugins are available, including full support of Azure DevOps Pipelines.

In order to minimize the cost for the IT team of unused resources in pre-production, both Azure DevTest Labs and CloudShell Colony provide automated setup and teardown.

Getting Started with Azure DevTest Lab

As enterprises are rapidly adopting the Cloud because of benefits that include agility, flexibility, and economics, Azure DevTest Labs helps in providing features that benefit the enterprise and support key dev/test scenarios which are often the first step in the cloud migration journey. DevTest Labs enables developers create and manage developer, test, and training environments on Azure while minimizing wastes and controlling costs. Developers can get started quickly with a set of IT approved tools, testers can test the latest version of their application or scale up their load testing by quickly provisioning Windows and Linux environments using reusable templates and artifacts, whereas IT administrators can set policies around the usage of these resources and track costs to stay within budget. Learn more on adopting Azure DevTest Labs for your Enterprise.

Getting Started with CloudShell Colony

CloudShell Colony, makes it simple for the DevOps engineer to on-board remote developer teams, even for the most complex cloud native applications. CloudShell Colony is available on the Azure marketplace as a SaaS offering. as a SaaS offering.

CloudShell Colony on Azure empowers remote technical teams to be fast and productive with simple, user-friendly access to environments they need without waiting days or weeks. At the same time, it provides the governance that you need to manage access, security, and compliance, and provides continuous visibility and control on cloud costs.

If you are looking to put together a solid plan for enabling remote technical teams and not sure where to begin, or want to learn more about Infrastructure Automation at Scale best practices, visit


Topics: DevOps, Automation, Cloud and Virtualization, application release, ci/cd pipeline, infrastructure automation


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