What is Azure DevOps? An Overview

Traditional product development approach worked in isolation within teams. Operations and development teams worked in silos and the whole cycle of software development ended in juggling up to maintain equilibrium between development and operations activities. The newly derived DevOps approach is collaboration between operations and development teams which improves software efficiency, its reliability and security. 

Today we look more in detail about what Azure DevOps is, its importance and benefits. 

What is DevOps?

DevOps is an agile approach and its principles. This implies cooperation between development and operations teams. DevOps principles instill a culture within an organization which includes processes, people and technology or tools. Continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) are two key vitals of DevOps. 

DevOps Importance in Azure

  • Easier adaptation of tool as it is cloud hosted
  • Remote workspace for team is offered for better collaboration
  • Execution of automation tests is easier with cloud computing
  • Centralized architecture for DevOps tools 

What is Azure DevOps?

Azure DevOps is a collection of cloud-based tools and services that empower software development teams to plan, collaborate, develop, test, deploy and monitor their applications. It offers a comprehensive range of services for constructing, deploying, and managing applications in the cloud environment. Developers, IT experts, and project managers utilize it to simplify and automate the software development process from start to finish.

Azure DevOps Services

Azure DevOps encompasses a variety of services that completes the entire process of software development.

Azure Boards

Azure Boards provides developers with a range of interactive and customizable tools that facilitate the management of software development projects. These tools encompass various capabilities, such as an easily configurable dashboard, calendar views, integrated reporting, and built-in support for Scrum, Kanban, and Agile processes.

Azure Repos

It is a version control system that allows teams to store and oversee their code repositories. It offers support for Git and Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC) while also providing features like code reviews, pull requests, and the ability to branch and merge code.

Azure Pipelines

Teams can utilize this service to develop, assess, and launch their applications on various platforms using any programming language. It facilitates continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) workflows by offering pre-made tasks and templates for well-known development frameworks and platforms.

Azure Test Plans

Azure Test Plans provides a range of effective and easy-to-use tools for enhancing code quality and promoting seamless collaboration among team members during the software development process. This test management platform, driven by a user-friendly browser interface, equips users with the essential features to plan and execute both manual and automated tests. These tests encompass various types such as user acceptance testing, exploratory testing, and gathering feedback from relevant stakeholders.

Azure Artifacts

Teams can conveniently store and organize their package dependencies, such as NuGet, NPM, and Maven packages, in this centralized service. It allows teams to generate, host, and distribute packages while enforcing strict security measures and permission controls to ensure that only authorized users have access to the packages.

DevOps Practices in Azure

  • Infrastructure as Code (IaC) – DevOps with Azure bring simplification in infrastructure provisioning and configuration of resources with Infrastructure as Code (IaC). It provides an automated process for deployment of infrastructure. It uses Infrastructure as Code (IaC)  tools such as PowerShell, Terraform and Ansible etc. 
  • Configuration management – Configuration management tools and Azure cloud system perform building, testing, validation, and creation of real time reports for infrastructure configurations for an application. The CM and Azure tools create a common pipeline to complete a task. 
  • Release management – Handling management like a professional to configure with Azure DevOps pipeline. Delivery acceleration and reduction in risk factors. Azure pipeline build creates artifacts with approval process. 
  • Test automation – DevOps automation identifies problems such as compliance and security in the testing phase. It helps to authorize and configure production environments. Selenium and Appium tests in DevOps on Azure help to continuously build, deploy, test, and locate bugs. 
  • Application insights – Manage the application performance and get real time analytics via Azure application insights. It can monitor the health of infrastructure with Azure Log Analytics and Azure monitor.

Benefits of Azure DevOps

  • Reducing time to market – CI, CD, and CDep in Azure DevOps makes time to market faster. It relies on the IaaS model which automates configuration and provisioning  of environments for deployment using JSON and YAML. Stronger security and compliance provide protection against vulnerabilities and attacks in infrastructure. Hence facilitate faster time to market.
  • Improved collaboration – For collaborative culture Visual Studio system in Azure DevOps helps to create a process which makes teams work together across domains in the entire SDLC process, Azure boards provide a set of agile tools for planning, tracking, and finding code defects. 
  • Improved efficiency and productivity – Adoption of Azure DevOps services in an independent manner and integration with third party tools such as Ansible is easier. Continuous deployment process enhances productivity and helps in quick determination of defects, alerts on issues and deployment of solutions for changes.
  • Improvised quality of deliverables – Helps organizations to improve quality of deliverables using agile methodologies such as Kanban and Scrum. Having a smaller iteration period for faster software development. 
  • Customer satisfaction enhancement – Azure DevOps users have access to new software features every three weeks. It supports various programming languages such as C#, Java, Python etc. 

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