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What is Azure DevOps? Services, Advantages & Tutorial

Azure DevOps

In this article, we will take a look at Azure DevOps.

We will first show how to set up Azure DevOps through the Azure portal and take a look at each service it provides. We will look at some popular extensions for Visual Studio Code and show how to set them up, describe some advantages and disadvantages of using Azure DevOps, and finally, the alternatives to Azure DevOps.

Let’s dive in!

What is Azure DevOps?

Azure DevOps provides developer services for allowing teams to plan work, collaborate on code development, and build and deploy applications. Azure DevOps supports a collaborative culture and set of processes that bring together developers, project managers, and contributors to develop software. It allows organizations to create and improve products at a faster pace than they can with traditional software development approaches

Setting up Azure DevOps in The Cloud

To access Azure DevOps in the Azure portal, search for DevOps in the service bar and select ‘Azure DevOps Organisations’.

azure devops organizations

Click on ‘My Azure DevOps Organizations,’ then ‘create new organization’:

Give your organization a unique name, and then create your first project.

azure devops create first project

Hit ‘create project,’ and you’re done!

Azure DevOps Services

azure devops services

Azure Boards

azure devops boards

Azure Repos

Azure Pipelines

Azure Test Plans

azure devops test plans

Azure Artifacts

azure devops artifacts

By using Artifacts, teams can efficiently manage the dependencies used in their codebase and ensure that all team members and CI/CD pipelines have access to the same set of packages, promoting consistency across different environments and stages of development.

It also allows teams to use packages from public repositories in addition to their private feeds. This is crucial for teams that depend on open-source packages but also want to ensure the availability and security of their dependencies.

Aside from those listed, you can also use the Wiki, which is useful for documenting projects, team dashboards for getting a project overview and visualizing metrics, and configuring notifications to let your team members know when they have been tagged or assigned work.

Azure DevOps Advantages and Disadvantages

Azure DevOps Pricing

Azure DevOps pricing is very flexible. You can either choose only the services you are interested in, or you can go for a bundle of all the services. If you opt for the basic bundle (which includes everything apart from tests), the first five users are free, and then you pay $6/month/user, or if you go for the full service, you will pay $52/month/user.

Most Popular Extensions For Azure DevOps

  • Slack — If your team uses Slack for collaboration, you can hook Azure DevOps notifications into a slack channel.
  • Microsoft Teams — You can use this extension to get notifications for pipeline runs, board updates, and more.
  • Replace Tokens — Azure Pipelines extension that replace tokens in text files with variable values.
  • Azure DevOps Open in Excel — This free extension adds a button that opens work items and query results in Excel directly from Azure DevOps.
  • Code Search — Code Search is a free extension that provides fast, flexible, and accurate search across all your code.
  • Sonarqube — Detect bugs, vulnerabilities and code smells across project branches and pull requests. It can be integrated with the Sonarqube community edition or commercial versions.
  • TerraformInstall Terraform and run Terraform commands to manage resources on Azure, AWS, and GCP.
  • Ansible — This extension executes an Ansible playbook using a specified inventory via the command line interface.
  • Chef — Tasks for performing common Chef operations against the Chef Automate platform.
  • Kubernetes — Kubernetes extension with k8s endpoint. Which enables the kubectl, helm, and istioctl command.
  • Bicep — Provides Azure DevOps tasks to install and run Microsoft Bicep CLI commands (cross-platform)

Azure DevOps Alternatives

  • GitHub
  • GitLab
  • Bitbucket

If you need any help managing your infrastructure, Spacelift supports using Azure DevOps as the source of code for your stacks and modules. It is an alternative to using homegrown solutions on top of a generic CI solution. It allows you to automate, audit, secure, and continuously deliver your infrastructure. You can check it for free by creating a trial account.

Key Points

The most Flexible CI/CD Automation Tool

Spacelift is an alternative to using homegrown solutions on top of a generic CI. It helps overcome common state management issues and adds several must-have capabilities s for infrastructure management.

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