An overview of the benefits of integrating Azure DevOps tools and practices

Azure’s DevOps tools provide end-to-end solutions for planning, developing, delivering, and operating for application lifecycle management. By combining people, processes, and teams, organizations can deliver greater levels of value to their customers — and can ensure that all areas of the application lifecycle work together.

Formerly known as Visual Studio Team Services, Azure DevOps is a full suite of tools designed to aid development teams in their process management. Implementing Azure DevOps ultimately provides an organization with greater levels of collaboration and coordination. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits and implementation of Azure DevOps:

From Planning to Operations, Azure Is There

There are four major stages through which Azure can help: Planning, Development, Delivery, and Operation. Azure guides organizations through the application lifecycle quickly and responsively, thereby ensuring that development teams can remain agile. This increased agility ultimately leads to better end products, as the team can respond to client needs and customer concerns quickly.

  • Planning. Through Azure Boards, teams can work more effectively. Azure Boards provides a Kanban system, complete with custom dashboards and reporting abilities. PowerBI can be directly integrated to analyze data and turn them into insights, while GitHub’s open-source platform can be used for deadline and project management. Planning is central to successful development products, and an absolute necessity for organizations that want to maintain a competitive edge.
  • Development. With Azure Pipelines, organizations can better control their processes and workflows. Environments can be provisioned within minutes with Azure DevTest Labs, with coding being done in Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code. Automation can be achieved through integration with GitHub Actions, thereby allowing development processes to become extremely robust.
  • Delivery. Azure Resource Management makes it possible for development teams to control multiple cloud instances with ease and allows for applications to be delivered automatically across any Azure service. Developers will be able to create pipelines with Azure Resource Management and Azure Pipelines, for continuous delivery.
  • Operation. Azure Monitor and Azure Automation can work together to provide additional operational management tools. With Azure Blueprints, development teams can keep applications and infrastructure in compliance, and the Azure Security Theater can reduce threat exposure and make it easier and faster to manage and mitigate potential threats. Other tools such as Ansible, Chef, and Puppet can also be integrated directly into Azure.

Azure provides for a complete suite of tools that development teams can use, both in conjunction with third-party solutions and without. DevOps is particularly closely related to GitHub, making it easier for developers to improve their code reviews, keep their development teams coordinated, and manage their open-source operations under greater levels of security.

The Major Advantages of Azure DevOps Deployment

It’s clear that Azure provides a unique suite for development teams. But there are other DevOps solutions. What are the major advantages of managing your DevOps with Azure?

  • Integration and flexibility. Through Azure, you don’t have to rely only on Azure’s products; You can integrate them directly with some of the most popular DevOps solutions available.
  • Familiarity and support. Azure’s DevOps solution is integrated with Microsoft Azure and the Visual Studio platform, thereby making it easier to use for those who are already operating within these environments.
  • Enterprise-grade security. Though Azure supports open-source solutions such as GitHub, Azure also comes with enterprise-grade security that can benefit any development team.
  • Accelerated time-to-market. Azure’s DevOps solution has been designed to build high-performance products faster, thereby improving time-to-market without reducing the overall quality of the end product.
  • Maintaining reliability and stability. Through Azure’s DevOps, deployment can be managed across multiple instances, and applications can be kept within compliance. Many development teams spend a large amount of time trying to maintain their compliance.

Azure’s DevOps tools increase collaboration and coordination, thereby making it easier for development teams to respond to and manage client needs and product modifications. Since Azure’s tools can be accessed for free under some tiers, alongside other Azure services, it’s an excellent option for those who are already working in an Azure environment.

Deploying Azure DevOps Within Your Organization

Open source tools can be directly integrated into Azure, to provide an organization with specialized, tailored tools that are designed for them. Azure’s continuous integration and delivery, infrastructure as code, and continuous monitoring can all be connected to the Azure DevOps platform to provide an organization with everything that it needs under a single well-integrated package.

Organizations can choose to automate workflows through Github, create repeatable deployments with Azure with Spinnaker, and manage releases through multiple environments through Azure Pipelines.

Azure DevOps provides cohesive solutions to complex problems. For companies that are already using Azure’s services, its DevOps tools are inherently useful.

How to Create a Build Pipeline in Azure Devops

There are two ways to create a build pipline in Azure Devops: YAML code and the classic user interface. The YAML method involves crafting a configuration file, ‘azure-pipelines.yml’, that delineates your pipeline structure. This YAML configuration is version-controlled with your code, allowing for seamless management through pull requests and build policies. On the other hand, the classic UI option in Azure Pipelines allows for manual pipeline configuration, focusing on the build, test, and deployment aspects. Both methods require linking Azure Pipelines to your Git repository and involve distinct steps for pipeline creation and execution.

Here are the steps to create a build pipeline in Azure DevOps:

    • Sign in to your Azure DevOps organization and go to your project.
    • Go to Pipelines, and then select New pipeline or Create pipeline if creating your first pipeline.
    • Select the location of your source code.
    • Choose the appropriate pipeline template for your project.
    • Configure the pipeline by adding tasks and defining the build steps.
    • Save the pipeline and queue a build to see it in action.

For more comprehensive assistance creating a build pipeline in Azure DevOps, you can refer to the Azure documentation or engage in our DevOps Consulting services.