For those who don’t know about CloudShare.com – it’s a subscription-paid virtual server hosting environment along the lines of Amazon EC2 or Azure, which has a key twist: it provides pre-configured virtual machines that specifically focus on SharePoint and related technologies. We use it for development at itgroove when we need to do high-level development, as a complement to local Hyper-V development images.
I finally took their CloudShare Explorer extension for Visual Studio 2012 for a spin – it’s pretty sweet:
Allow developers to spend more time coding and less time thinking about the tools they use. The CloudShare Explorer allows developers to access CloudShare development and testing environments without leaving Visual Studio. With CloudShare Explorer for Visual Studio, you can easily create and access your cloud-based labs.
•Complete list of your CloudShare environments in the CloudShare Explorer tab. The list is continuously updated with the status of the environments.
•Full screen remote access to the CloudShare machines with just a click of a mouse.
•Resume your lab environments.
•Revert the environment, or a specific machine, to the latest snapshot (only works with a CloudShare TeamLabs account).
•Web access to your lab web servers within Visual Studio.
•Add a machine to an environment (only works with a CloudShare TeamLabs account).
•Delete a machine in an environment (only works with a CloudShare TeamLabs account).
•Prevent CloudShare environments from being suspended if the user is still working on them.
•Highly customizable – you can turn on / off most of the functionality of the plugin as needed
Download for Visual Studio 2013
Step 1: Download and install the Visual Studio Extension
Step 2: Login to the CloudShare website and Generate your API Credentials under My Account > API Credentials
Step 3: Add your API Credentials into the CloudShare Explorer interface in Visual Studio:
Step 4: That’s it! You can now work with your CloudShare environments directly in Visual Studio!
Sweet! : https://support.cloudshare.com/entries/23712067-Persistent-DNS
Each individual machine in an environment have a Persistent external DNS name. For long-time users of CloudShare, this replaces the previously used External Address which would change each time an environment resumed.
This means you can bookmark or save the RDP link and not worry about the IP changing. For example, when using remote desktop connection managers or terminal services such as MSTSC, you can access that VM with the machine name instead of the External Address. This will also maintain a VM’s external name (FQDN) for the lifetime of the environment.
The Persistent DNS feature will allow you to switch between servers quickly from a central location, should you want to work in multiple VMs, at the same time, in different windows or on multiple monitors.
External Address vs. Persistent DNS
Accessing machines through the CloudShare web UI has not changed. Clicking ‘View VM’ is still the best method for actively working on a specific machine as this is how we keep your environment running. CloudShare also accelerates this RDP connection to improve overall performance.
1. As with the old External Address, (pubN-NN.env.cloudshare.com), the specific numbers assigned in this string would be refreshed each time an environment suspended.
2. This is not the case with Persistent DNS. You will still see the name listed under ‘External Address, however its reference has changed.
The VM’s DNS name will remain static across Suspend, Resume and Revert actions.
NOTE: When first launching an environment, it may take up to five additional minutes to assign the persistent DNS once the environment is listed as ‘Ready’. Soon after the address is generated, it will temporarily have a dummy underlying IP address, which will automatically update once it is prepared.
Setting up Persistent DNS
There is nothing you need to do as CloudShare handles this automatically. The Persistent DNS will be retrieved as part of machine details when creating, launching or resuming an environment.
Persistent DNS and Vanity URLs
CloudShare ProPlus has had the option of a Vanity URL as an overlay for your standard Web Access URL and this will work in much the same way.
- Each machine in your environment have an automatically generated DNS name
- You can set a vanity name for one VM in your environment. The DNS name for this VM will be based on this vanity name. For example if your vanity URL is http://my_vanity.cld.sr, the FQDN of this VM is my_vanity.vm.cld.sr
- You can also set up an alias for the DNS and CNAME to a machine
- While the FQDN will remain the same, the underlying IP address will change as the environment suspends and resumes
- As always, machines in your environment will have to be running for you to access them directly via the persistent DNS. In conjunction with CloudShare’s API (in TeamLabs and Enterprise), you can resume and manage your environment remotely
- You can set a DNS alias (CNAME) with your own domain name pointing to your CloudShare VM Persistent DNS