What Is Azure DevOps: Everything You Need to Know

What Is Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps is Microsoft’s software platform that provides the necessary support and resources for end-to-end software development and deployment. It does so using fully collaborative processes, allowing developers and project managers to work together across long distances thanks to cloud computing.

The result is a DevOps process that is more efficient when making improvements.

Azure is also not a single software program—it’s a collection of five services that create a holistic software development solution. We dive deeper into the nuances and competencies of these services later in the article.

If you think DevOps is the career path for you, you should seriously consider using Azure DevOps as your management platform. But to truly understand what Azure DevOps is, we must first inspect its features, advantages, use cases, and how Azure compares to other DevOps solutions in today’s market.

What Does Azure DevOps Offer?

What does Azure DevOps offer to deliver on its promises? Let’s outline them within the context of the five primary services offered on the platform:

Azure Artifacts

Azure Artifacts provides developers with completely integrated package management, meaning you can easily add and remove programs from a network’s operating system in a consistent way.

This software offering from Azure allows you to consume and publish different types of packages with ease. Here are the different types of packages Artifacts supports:

  • Build artifacts
  • NuGet
  • npm
  • Maven
  • PyPl
  • Universal Packages
  • Symbols

Thanks to Azure Artifacts, you can manage all of these package types to build, test, and deploy programs within an application.

Azure Boards

Azure Boards offers highly visual and interactive tools to help developers manage their software projects. These boards are used to track progress on software development, report bugs, detect issues, and highlight defects that require your attention.

Azure Boards is a great way to stay in touch with clients (or other recipients of your code). With a tool called ‘User Stories’, clients can report bugs themselves, and you’ll quickly see all relevant information needed to address their problems. With the code version in use, you can readily view the progress history of your software projects.

Azure Boards is also incredibly customizable. It can easily scale for whatever your project requires. Start as simply as you want and balloon the project into a multi-team affair when you need to, for no extra cost.

Azure Pipelines

Azure Pipelines is an automated path you can send code on to have it tested and deployed to both test and production environments. This helps you continuously improve your code by utilizing automated processes and other team members who may review the code and mark it for errors.

This is possible thanks to two primary processes:

  • Continuous integration: The practice of automatically merging and testing code to catch bugs early in the development cycle.
  • Continuous delivery: The process of building, testing, and deploying code to the relevant parties.

These pipelines work with virtually any coding language, meaning you won’t have to learn a new programming language to use Azure DevOps.

Azure Repos

Azure Repos is a set of version controls you can use to manage your code more efficiently. Version control is the practice of tracking changes to your software code, so you can see exactly how and when your code changed over time.

This helps you coordinate more effectively with other developers. It also saves your work, providing immense value and safeguarding valuable work should any type of data loss occur.

Azure Repos offers two types of version control:

  • Git (distributed): The most commonly used version control system, its distributed model means your local copy of code is a complete version control repository, letting your work offline and remotely when needed.
  • TFVC (centralized): Team Foundation Version Control (TVFC) is a centralized type of version control, meaning all historical data is maintained from a single server.

Azure Repos is still incredibly useful if you don’t plan on developing with a team. It helps you stay organized as you fix bugs, and allows you to roll back to previous versions of your code when needed.

Azure Test Plans

Azure Test Plans provides additional testing tools to ensure quality in your code. There are four primary test objectives Test Plans is designed to measure:

  1. Manual and exploratory testing: Manually testing code for various reasons, including stakeholder feedback and exploratory discovery.
  2. Automated testing: Utilizing Azure Pipeline’s testing capabilities, as mentioned previously.
  3. Traceability: Testing cases linked to user stores, features, and requirements.
  4. Reporting and analysis: Analyzing the test results and creating reports with actionable insights into how your code needs to be altered.

What Is Azure DevOps Used For?

Azure DevOps can be used for virtually any code or application development project you wish to complete. It is designed to make that coding experience more collaborative, easier to test, and faster to deploy. Azure DevOps will help you leverage your essential DevOps skills so you can do more with what you know.

While Azure DevOps has many features to inspire better collaboration among development teams, it has plenty of advantages for solo developers.

Azure DevOps vs the Competition

While Azure DevOps is very popular for application development project management, it is not the only DevOps product on the market. Azure only captures about 20% of the DevOps market. So how does it compare against the competition? Let’s find out:

Azure DevOps vs AWS

Azure’s biggest competitor is AWS, Amazon’s cloud computing service.

AWS carries a great deal of computing power. It has more data storage capabilities than Azure while also connecting with an open source community model, making it easier to develop code. With no other factors considered, these advantages make AWS a faster alternative to Azure.

But that speed comes at a cost.

AWS is about five times more expensive than Azure, making it less friendly for those who are new to coding and want to get an intro to cloud computing. Azure is also trusted by some of the world's most recognizable brands. If those brands don’t need excessive computational power, it may be overkill for your organization.

Azure DevOps vs Jira

Some people confused Azure’s services with Jira, a project management tool that also helps you track bugs and other proprietary issues. However, Jira can be used for project management beyond the scope of software development. But because of that wider scope, it misses out on the granular services that make software development so streamlined.

So, if you’re looking to manage software development projects primarily, Azure is typically the better option.

Develop Your Azure Skills with KodeKloud

Interested in improving your DevOps skills around Azure’s platform? After learning the basics of Azure DevOps, head over to our Microsoft Azure Administrator Exam. This exam will prepare you with the skills you need to manage and administer solutions in Azure, helping you along your way in your career in DevOps.

Sign up for the exam today!