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Question to Biztalk Devs from an Infrastructure Admin - Sandboxes? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi all - I'm a Server Admin and my company is looking to upgrade to BizTalk 2013. The development team has requested 9 Sandbox VMs with Server 2k12, 8gb RAM, 2CPU on each VM. These VMs are to develop within and test Biztalk in their own local environments.

    My question is:  is there any reason that these developers can't use Windows 8.1? They each want their own SQL instance and Biztalk Server install within a sandbox, but does it need to be on a beefy W2k12r2?

    I've looked everywhere and am having trouble finding good documentation on a best-practice in a situation like this.

    Thanks in advance!

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016 8:29 PM

Answers

  • I would recommend you to let these guys have their sandbox up in Azure. Below are my suggestions from "Best to the one I least recommend".

    Option 1:

    Let them run the solution up in Azure, create one Image and re-use it for the developers. This is a very low cost setup and the VMs in Azure are not expensive compared to the cost for having the sandbox machines on-prem.

    Option 2:

    Make sure they have good machines to begin with and set it up as local Hyper-V (or VMWare) and let them spin up their own machines.

    Option 3:

    Although this is a an option I wouldn't recommended it due to all the extra work and resource loss, run these VMs in your local virtualization platform.

    Best regards,

    Tord G. Nordahl

    Thursday, January 7, 2016 7:00 AM

All replies

  • A VM with the full stack, Windows, SQL Server, BizTalk Server, SharePoint, VisualStudio provides the best and most productive Developer experience.

    And they really shouldn't be sandboxes either.  They should be domain joined VM's using a DEV set of Domin Groups and Accounts.

    The most notable gap in using client Windows is IIS.

    A VM with 4GB Memory and 100GB disk is usually sufficient.  Hardware is cheap compared to a good developer's time.

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016 8:38 PM
    Moderator
  • A VM with the full stack, Windows, SQL Server, BizTalk Server, SharePoint, VisualStudio provides the best and most productive Developer experience.

    And they really shouldn't be sandboxes either.  They should be domain joined VM's using a DEV set of Domin Groups and Accounts.

    The most notable gap in using client Windows is IIS.

    A VM with 4GB Memory and 100GB disk is usually sufficient.  Hardware is cheap compared to a good developer's time.

    The thing is - we have two separate Dev environments for Biztalk already. 

    In this situation: each developer additionally wants their own Server 2k12 VM with it's own full stack and standalone instances. So is there any reason we can't put this full stack into a Windows 8 VM instead of a Server VM?


    • Edited by BrianTTP Wednesday, January 6, 2016 8:44 PM
    Wednesday, January 6, 2016 8:43 PM
  • BizTalk development environments cannot be shared by developers.

    Yes, BizTalk DEV is fully supported on client Windows but a VM is better since it matches more closely the production runtime environment.  Also, different versions of BizTalk Server cannot be installed side by side.

    2 Dev, 2 Test, 1 QA (not a dev), 1 build, 2 pre-prod, sure, 9 is not unreasonable.

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016 9:00 PM
    Moderator
  • I appreciate the thoughtful answers. Let me try to clarify. We have a Dev1, Dev2, UAT, etc for Biz Talk 2010.

    Our development team wants to start planning to build a BizTalk 2013 enviroment. We have 9 BizTalk developers. Each developer wants their own "sandbox" (on the domain) with a full stack of the pre-reqs. Each "sandbox" will have it's own unique instance of Biztalk Server and SQL Server and other pieces. forgive me if I'm misusing the word sandbox, but hopefully this clears up the situation. They essentially want to use these server VMs as personal PCs.

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016 9:06 PM
  • Well, no.  They want to use the VM's as their BizTalk DEV machines.  Their local PC will still be used for Office, Skype, etc.

    They are asking for the resources to have the best developer experience for developing server based apps.  Personally, I insist on this setup when building out or reforming a BizTalk Dev team.

    Yes, each VM will have the full stack, Windows to Visual Studio, the only shared resource should be TFS.

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016 10:25 PM
    Moderator
  • John is quite right. The way it would work is that you would have a central DEV where the complete DEV (across 9 developers) would be consolidated for release stability testing, etc. Each DEV would however, use TFS to access their specific builds on their VM (the 9) where they test their specific components (unit? testing).

    The common DEV will be used for System Integration/Interface Testing.

    As John explained, Win 8,1 offers certain limitations in regards to supported IE versions and features available on IIS (critical if interfaces are exposed as Web Service/WCF-endpoint) which would not exist on a WIN2K14R2 environment. This would also help eliminate certain deployment related issues which may be faced later and have nothing to do with solution development (primarily infra related).

    In my experience I have loaded these VM's on my workstation where it gives me the flexibility to work on a specific Account (without having a single DEV env where there be conflicting schemas, namespaces, message types, etc.).

    A single OS instance permits only TWO logins (unless you have RDP/Terminal Services Licenses) so DEV1 and DEV2 would only support 4 developers ?!?!?

    Regards.


    • Edited by Shankycheil Thursday, January 7, 2016 5:04 AM edit
    Thursday, January 7, 2016 5:03 AM
  • I would recommend you to let these guys have their sandbox up in Azure. Below are my suggestions from "Best to the one I least recommend".

    Option 1:

    Let them run the solution up in Azure, create one Image and re-use it for the developers. This is a very low cost setup and the VMs in Azure are not expensive compared to the cost for having the sandbox machines on-prem.

    Option 2:

    Make sure they have good machines to begin with and set it up as local Hyper-V (or VMWare) and let them spin up their own machines.

    Option 3:

    Although this is a an option I wouldn't recommended it due to all the extra work and resource loss, run these VMs in your local virtualization platform.

    Best regards,

    Tord G. Nordahl

    Thursday, January 7, 2016 7:00 AM
  • BizTalk runs well on a client OS - this is a viable option. None the less, your BizTalk team might have compelling reasons to run on a Server OS. For example, certain .NET features are only available on a server OS, which your BizTalk guys may not need now, but may need in the future. My first choice would be a Server OS, then, if this is problematic for the company, I would go with a Client, W7 or 8.1.  Cloud VMs for development purposes would be my last choice - don't buy easily into "few clicks and you are good to go". BizTalk development needs way more than a bare bone Cloud VM set up. Do your own research on this. 






    • Edited by fly2 Sunday, January 10, 2016 5:17 AM
    Sunday, January 10, 2016 5:04 AM