Azure DevOps is a language, platform and cloud provider agnostic DevOps toolchain and orchestration platform from Microsoft. Is it right for your team?
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. At Sourced Group, 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, visualisation 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 Organisation?
Azure Devops is not focussed at organisations 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 organisations building and shipping .Net code.
- Cloud Agnostic: continuous delivery is supported to AWS and GCP as well as to Azure.
What Are the Benefits of Azure DevOps?
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 organisations 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.
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 organisations. However, if you’re currently running an on-premises Team Foundation Server moving to Azure DevOps would be a natural upgrade for you.