This ‘What is Azure DevOps?’ blog gives you a picture of the below topics:
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What was it like before DevOps?
There used to be separate teams for gathering various business requirements, and they were put under separate QA teams to test the program in an isolated development environment. If the requirements were met, the project was then released for operations to deploy, which was further fragmented into different groups. This exactly was the issue with the previous system. The more groups involved the more bottlenecks arose and the higher the inefficiency and finger-pointing when something went wrong.
DevOps (Development and Operations) addresses these challenges by establishing cross-functioning teams that share responsibility for maintaining these systems and helping them run with increased quality and improved feedback and automation systems.
In this blog, you will now read about the ways in which this technology stands out in the market.
What is Azure DevOps?
Azure is an ever-expanding set of cloud services to help your organization meet your business challenges. Microsoft Azure DevOps, whereas, is a rebranded version of Visual Studio Team Services introduced by Microsoft. However, this is no generic rebranding but a strategic move to set itself as the segment leader in the DevOps market. It’s doing everything to ensure that developers, operators, and testers get the best possible experience by taking the source code of GitHub repositories all the way up to the deployment target delivered through virtual machines and containers. They go beyond Windows and Visual Studio and have already made a statement by releasing their public cloud to be run freely on any OS or platform, hence becoming a huge hit among the new-age open-source developers. It doesn’t stop here; it has got enough ammunition to compete with some of the big dogs in the segment such as HashiCorp, CloudBees, Atlassian, and XebiaLabs.
Azure DevOps provides an end-to-end DevOps toolchain for developing and deploying software. Being a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform, it incorporates a new collaborative culture embracing numerous combined practices for a continuous software development methodology placing significant emphasis on collaboration, feedback loops, improved development frequency, the lowered failure rate of new releases, shortened lead time between fixes, and continuous improvement.
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What can Azure DevOps offer?
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 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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How can Azure DevOps benefit your organization?
It is not just combining teams and reducing the bulkiness that Azure DevOps does. It leaves us with a much more intuitive and even better user-friendly experience. Any team that adopts DevOps tools, culture, and methodologies are making a choice to work at a higher performance by building better products for maximum customer satisfaction. Such improved productivity can attribute to achieving key business goals such as:
- Reduced time to deliver products to the market
- Adaptability to market requirements and competition
- Maintaining stability and reliability of the system
- Improving the meantime to recovery
In more relatable terms, let’s say, Azure DevOps is easy to install, takes barely a few minutes to get configured, and can run multiple apps, along with paving the way to an effortless multitasking experience. It can support various platforms and run on a wide range of frameworks. It’s a natural transition for developers already working on Java, Node, PHP, .NET, and Python. Azure DevOps projects give you the flexibility to start your own app or even bring a new one from Git. Instant analysis of applications can be done using built-in apps while simultaneously using cloud features using Visual Studio Team Services.
Now, we know a thing or two about DevOps. But, it’s never complete until we know about the DevOps life cycle. Let’s dive in.
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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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The people who play a part in it set the ball rolling while migrating to this practice. The first and foremost of such practice is the visibility that is achieved by collaboration among teams. Teams must share their processes and concerns with each other and move forward by simultaneously aligning their goals. As this progresses, teams tend to take up additional life cycle responsibilities, apart from their central roles. Teams are always on their toes, and this is ensured by releasing software only in short life cycles. Shorter cycles make planning and risk assessment easier, hence keeping the system up-to-date, and matching the market standards. High-performing Azure DevOps teams are always learning, unlearning, and relearning. The process goes like this: ‘faster you fail, the faster you learn.’
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However, there are so many aspects to consider while adopting a DevOps strategy and toolchain. Hence, it’s not a one-size-fits-all. What’s used in the last project might not work for a new one. DevOps is still an infant, and there are plenty of roads ahead to explore. Let’s embrace its virtues and keep an open mind in understanding our current strategy and environment to respond accordingly.
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