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Introduction of Azure DevOps

What is Azure DevOps?

Azure DevOps is a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform from Microsoft that provides an end-to-end DevOps toolchain for developing and deploying software. It also integrates with most leading tools on the market and is a great option for orchestrating a DevOps toolchain. We have lots of customers who have found Azure DevOps fits their needs irrespective of their language, platform, or cloud.





What Can Azure DevOps Do?

Azure DevOps comprises a range of services covering the full development life cycle. At the time of writing these are:

  • Azure Boards: agile planning, work item tracking, visualization, and reporting tool.

  • Azure Pipelines: a language, platform and cloud-agnostic CI/CD platform with support for containers or Kubernetes.

  • Azure Repos: provides cloud-hosted private git repos.

  • Azure Artifacts: provides integrated package management with support for Maven, npm, Python and NuGet package feeds from public or private sources.

  • Azure Test Plans: provides an integrated planned and exploratory testing solution.

Azure DevOps can also be used to orchestrate third-party tools.


When Was Azure DevOps Launched? 

Despite being launched in October 2018, Azure DevOps is not the new kid on the DevOps block. Its lineage can be traced all the way back to Visual Studio Team System which was launched in 2006. This is a mature product with a rich feature-set that has over 80,000 internal users at Microsoft.


What About My Existing CI/CD Tooling? 

One of the things that we really like about Azure DevOps is how flexible it is. It’s extensible (via a Marketplace) and flexible enough to leverage your existing tools. For example, if you wanted to use Azure Resource Manager for infrastructure as code you can, but equally you can provision and manage Azure infrastructure using third-party tools such as Ansible, Chef, Puppet and Terraform.




What if we Are Not a Microsoft / .Net Organization? 

Azure Devops is not focussed at organizations that are end-to-end Microsoft or Windows. Azure DevOps provides a platform that is:

  • Flexible: you don’t have to go ‘all in’ on Azure DevOps. It is possible to adopt each of the services independently and integrate them with your existing tool chain, most popular tools are supported.

  • Platform agnostic: designed to work with any platform (Linux, MacOS and Windows) or language (including Node.js, Python, Java, PHP, Ruby, C/C++, .Net, Android and iOS apps) Azure DevOps is not just aimed at organizations building and shipping .Net code.

  • Cloud Agnostic: continuous delivery is supported to AWS and GCP as well as to Azure.


Who uses Azure DevOps?

Azure DevOps is used primarily by the following four job positions:

  • Analysts.

  • Software testers.

  • Programmers.

  • IT project, team managers and other project stakeholders.

Analysts use the tools and services offered by Azure DevOps to input and document work items. Azure DevOps allows them to create and choose the complexity of their documentation, create templates that make processes simpler, faster and more consistent and record everything in Hypertext Markup Language format, with image and other files included.


Software testers can enter test scripts through Azure DevOps as well as control acceptance tests. Advanced reporting allows them to track all tests done over time.


Programmers use Azure DevOps for integrated unit testing, source control and automated builds. While Azure DevOps can't be used as a development environment, it easily interfaces with the Microsoft Visual Studio, allowing programmers to develop with the tools it provides.


IT project and team managers and other project stakeholders use Azure DevOps to monitor their team's performance and progress. Large projects can be divided into smaller iterations, work items can be scheduled and tasks can be assigned to team members. Team members can update their progress through Azure DevOps, thus further helping project and team managers track progress and performance. In addition Azure DevOps can be used to automatically produce reports, such as product backlogs, burndown charts and Kanban boards.


What Are the Benefits of Azure DevOps?

Reliability

As a SaaS offering, Azure DevOps is reliable, scalable and globally available. It is also backed by an SLA of 99.9% uptime and by 24×7 support.

Access to the Latest Features

Azure DevOps users get access to new features every 3 weeks. Microsoft is transparent, have published the product roadmap and are committed to rapidly iterating on the feature-set.

End of the Upgrade Cycle

For organizations running on-premises CI/CD tooling, upgrades are a regular headache. By moving to a SaaS model, you no longer need to worry about patching and upgrading the toolchain.


GitHub vs. Azure DevOps

The primary difference between GitHub and Azure DevOps is that GitHub focuses on open-source projects while Azure DevOps focuses on more closed-source projects. But both services try to make it accessible for users to switch back and forth between public and private development modes. In addition, while GitHub offers both private and public repositories, it doesn't provide an integrated build server like Azure DevOps does. Therefore, Azure DevOps can also be used as a continuous integration platform for GitHub.


Both GitHub and Azure DevOps are focused on Git with an emphasis on the various aspects of a collaborative software development process. Both services provide comprehensive and feature-rich platforms to share and track code and build software with CI/CD. Azure DevOps offers a variety of tools and services that facilitate project creation, development, testing, and management. Similarly, GitHub offers team-based software development tools, including project issue tracking, code review, and various social features.


GitHub offers superior community support when compared to Azure DevOps; it was designed to be community-based and highly social. While Azure DevOps offers a community of Microsoft developers and open-source proponents, it's nowhere near as large or supportive as the GitHub community.


Azure DevOps vs. Jira

Atlassian Jira software is another development platform often seen as a competitor of Azure DevOps. Jira is available as a SaaS offering through Jira Cloud or as an on-premises option through Jira Data Center. Jira offers support for many of the features and functions found in Azure DevOps:


  • Support for Scrum and Kanban boards.

  • Roadmaps for project management.

  • Dashboards and reporting.

  • Customizable workflows.

  • Version control through BitBucket.

  • Automation and orchestration capabilities.

  • Repository management.

  • Extensibility.

But Jira software promotes numerous features not readily found in Azure DevOps, including different versions of Jira for software, business, and IT teams; advanced search capabilities for issues in code; access to best-practices playbooks; cross-team collaboration; and a mobile app version.

As with any enterprise platform, potential adopters should analyze requirements and carefully evaluate alternative offerings for performance, functionality, ease of use, integration, and support before committing to a mission-critical development platform.


So, is Azure DevOps Right for Me? 

Azure DevOps is a mature, feature-rich platform. The flexibility of supported languages, platforms and cloud vendors make it a viable option for a huge range of organizations. However, if you’re currently running an on-premises Team Foundation Server, moving to Azure DevOps would be a natural upgrade for you.

Thank you for reading my Blog!


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Jan 09
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Easy to understand , very well written

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