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Azure DevOps - The Complete Guide

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This ‘What is Azure DevOps?’ blog gives you a picture of the below topics:

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What is Azure DevOps?

Azure DevOps is a cloud-based service provided by Microsoft that helps development teams deliver higher-quality software faster. It provides tools that support the entire development lifecycle from planning and collaboration to continuous integration, delivery, and feedback. With Azure DevOps, teams can plan work and track progress through customizable dashboards and work-tracking tools. It also enables professionals during code collaboration, using Git repositories hosted securely in the cloud.

Moreover, Azure DevOps streamlines software delivery through automated build, test, and deployment pipelines. Teams can catch bugs or issues early and deploy updates confidently, using continuous integration and delivery. Overall, Azure DevOps is a comprehensive and integrated platform that brings together ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) tools to help teams work better together from idea to deployment.

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Azure DevOps Services

Azure DevOps comes with a range of components such as pipelines, boards, artifacts, repos, and test plans.

  • Azure Pipelines: These combine continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) and work with any language, platform, or cloud. You can build, test, and deploy numerous applications continuously.
  • Azure Boards: These ensure better work tracking. You can plan and discuss work across teams and deliver value to your users faster using Azure Boards.
  • Azure Artifacts: These ensure that the pipelines have fully integrated package management. You can create, host, and share packages and easily add artifacts to CI/CD pipelines.
  • Azure Repos: These come with free and unlimited cloud-hosted private Git repositories. You can make alterations to these repositories easily.
  • Azure Test Plans: They are part of the complete testing toolkit that lets you be confident about if your software is functioning just fine.

Next in this ‘What is Azure DevOps?’ blog, you will come across its benefits in an organization.

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Azure DevOps Pricing

Azure DevOps offers different pricing plans to suit teams of all sizes. Here are the following:

  • The Free plan provides a great way to get started with unlimited Git repositories and work items tracking. 
  • For small teams, the $6 per user Basic plan adds more features like pull requests, packages, and unlimited pipelines. This affordable plan meets the needs of most organizations. 
  • As teams grow, the $21 per user Premium plan supports larger workloads with private pipelines, package distribution, and deeper analytics. Azure DevOps also has flexible options for self-hosted pipelines running on your infrastructure. 

Overall, Azure DevOps pricing is very cost-effective whether you’re just starting out or a large enterprise. The free and basic tiers cover common DevOps tasks, while the premium enables more advanced capabilities. Pricing is scalable, and there’s no long-term commitment, making Azure DevOps pricing easy to fit any budget.

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Azure DevOps Tools

Azure DevOps incorporates essential tools like Git, Jenkins, Docker, and Selenium to simplify the development process. Project tracking, configuration management, containerization, testing, and monitoring are integrated via an end-to-end platform.

  • Puppet: An open-source configuration management tool used to automate the installation and configuration of software on many servers. With Puppet, you can define how you want your servers configured, and Puppet will ensure they match that definition.
  • Ansible: Another popular open-source automation tool like Puppet. Ansible uses simple playbooks written in YAML format to define configurations and deployments. It’s agentless, so there’s no software to install on managed nodes.
  • Docker: A tool that allows you to package applications into standardized units called containers. Containers wrap up code and dependencies so the app runs reliably regardless of the underlying infrastructure. Docker is great for building, shipping, and running distributed applications.
  • Nagios: A powerful and flexible monitoring solution for physical and virtual infrastructure, including servers, switches, applications, and services. Nagios alerts you when things go wrong and helps ensure your critical IT systems and services are up and available.
  • CHEF: An automation platform that transforms infrastructure into code. With CHEF, you can use recipes and cookbooks to automate how servers are configured, deployed, and maintained across your environment. It helps enforce standards and reduce manual processes.
  • Jenkins: An open-source automation server used for continuous integration to build, test, and deploy code. Jenkins can be configured to monitor your source code repository for changes, build the code, run tests, and deploy new versions. This helps catch bugs and issues early.
  • Git: A free, open-source distributed version control system. Git helps teams collaborate by allowing them to work simultaneously on the same code and merge changes together seamlessly. It’s also great for managing source code, configurations, and documentation.
  • SALTSTACK: Like Puppet and Ansible, SaltStack is an automation and configuration management tool. It uses a simple master-minion architecture where the master server distributes configurations and packages to minions. SaltStack provides a unified interface to manage and secure many servers remotely from a single location remotely.
  • Splunk: A platform for searching, monitoring, and analyzing machine-generated big data in real life. Splunk collects data from servers, applications, sensors, and mobile devices to provide operational intelligence through dashboards, alerts, and reports. It helps troubleshoot issues and gain insights.
  • Selenium: An open-source tool for automating web browser interactions and testing web applications. Selenium streamlines the process of validating functionality and finding bugs by simulating user actions like clicking links, entering text, and validating page content. It helps improve quality and catch regressions.

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Benefits of Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps offers many advantages for development teams. It provides tools that simplify collaboration, tracking, searching, and monitoring of work for improved productivity and visibility. Here are the following benefits that are defined further:

  • Collaboration: Teams can collaborate on code from anywhere using tools for planning, tracking, and sharing work.
  • Searchability: Azure DevOps search helps find answers fast by searching across work items, code, and more from a single search box.
  • Real-time Visibility: Developers can check in code and get automatic builds. Testers can easily find bugs. Project managers see updates in real-time dashboards.
  • Improved Workflow: Teams can stay on the same page without meetings as developers check in code, testers find bugs, and managers monitor updates and schedules in one place.
  • Easy Integration: Developers get tools and services integrated into their existing workflows to streamline development processes.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Azure DevOps provides powerful tools for planning and managing projects at competitive prices.

Now, we know a thing or two about DevOps. But, it’s never complete until we know about the DevOps life cycle.

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Phases in Azure DevOps Influencing the Application Life Cycle

Phase 1 – Planning: This is where the ideation and description of the features of applications built by DevOps teams happen. Progress is tracked at multiple stages up to multi-product tasks. Azure DevOps teams are agile planners. They create backlogs, track bugs, etc. as part of the process.

Phase 2 – Development: Here, everything that goes into building the code is worked on by the team members, who also simultaneously break the code into files produced by a build making it deployable to testing environments. The teams innovate like a streak without cutting down on quality and efficiency. Hence, they utilize the most productive tools or their combinations available and work toward automating the whole process of product development.

Phase 3 – Delivery: Delivery involves deploying applications into production environments in a reliable way. Here, the teams define certain processes with clear approval stages, and automated gates are employed to move applications between the stages.

Phase 4 – Operation: It is the process where applications are monitored and troubleshot in production environments. Azure DevOps teams identify the issues before they affect customer experience and allay them as and when they occur. This high level of vigilance requires actionable alerting and complete clarity about the applications and the underlying systems. By adopting these practices, teams are ensuring to deliver a system of high reliability and availability and aims for zero downtime while reinforcing security and governance.

Having looked at all these, we need to understand that adopting DevOps isn’t easy. The ultimate key behind its successful practice is embracing the DevOps culture. So what makes it a distinct culture?

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Azure DevOps provides an extensive set of tools that simplify collaboration, automate processes, and gain visibility across the development lifecycle. Its integrated features help teams plan, code, test, and deploy applications more efficiently. With Azure DevOps, organizations can implement DevOps practices to accelerate software delivery, improve quality, and ensure continuous integration and delivery. Its scalable, cost-effective platform supports development workflows for both small and large projects. Whether just starting with DevOps or optimizing an existing pipeline, Azure DevOps is a powerful option to explore. Its benefits, like enhanced productivity, reduced errors, and faster time to market, position it as make it a worthwhile investment for any organization focused on software excellence.

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