Azure DevOps systems help agile teams plan, monitor, and discuss their work with various tools. According to product manager Valerian Wan of Microsoft Azure, developers can share information about the status of different features, bugs, and new features from one workstation to another.

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A "visual manager" is also in place so that team members can share information about planned features daily. And feedback, especially in response to testing, is immediate and typically gets much more frequent updates.

In one example, these visual tools allow developers to check the plans of features such as testing and release pipeline for all of their deployed services.

In other examples, DevOps practitioners use their hands-on work with cloud-based applications in Azure DevOps for Azure cloud and SQL Server.

Overcoming IT Silos

Digital transformation and cloud technologies are increasing business agility and efficiency. But achieving those benefits takes expertise and knowledge in both technology and change management.

You have to work with various business units to change an organization, including marketing, operations, security, product development, and sales.

According to the Harvard Business Review, the challenge of digital transformation is to build an efficient digital organization that has practical, predictable processes and products that can handle new digital projects. 

By using tools such as Azure DevOps, you can:

  • Improve communication between different functions of an organization.
  • Increase trust in employees.
  • Work with customers.
  • Improve operations and workflows.
  • Adapt to change.
  • Learn from mistakes.

Organizations can leverage these tools in Azure DevOps, according to Wan.

How to Get Started

You can get started with Microsoft Azure DevOps with a free trial, but the problem ended on September 30, 2018. So you have just enough time to make the most of it.

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The Requirements

Besides Azure DevOps services, you need an Azure subscription with an account in GitHub. You must also have a GitLab instance with a unique Github Identity access key (CI/CD account), or you can use a GitHub portal.

Branch space and servers are free for most of the users.

For example, you can use the Microsoft Cloud as a Service for $6 per month per user.

Being on the Open Source Support, the Azure DevOps Cloud can also host CentOS or Fedora and Suse.

For those who want to ensure that their applications are running the latest versions of Microsoft tools, you can also use a "tuned" environment, with some versions of Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) and Service Fabric, according to Wan.

You also can develop Windows container images with Azure Container Instances (ACI). Still, Wan recommends avoiding them because they don't offer much flexibility, and they use the networking infrastructure provided by Azure.

What Is Azure DevOps?

DevOps is a term that describes the combination of software development and operations teams.

  • Azure DevOps Platform: It provides DevOps tools, automation, automation infrastructure, resource-aware services, and integrated monitoring and alerting, among other capabilities. It's part of the Azure Cloud and is available in preview form.
  • Azure DevOps Services, including Azure DevOps Platform. It's like Azure DevOps Platform, but different.

You can start your Azure DevOps adoption with Azure DevOps Services.

What Is Azure DevOps Cloud?

According to Wan, the Azure DevOps Cloud is the component you use to launch and deploy cloud-native applications. It helps execute applications on the cloud and supports containers, DevOps pipeline, visual tools, and continuous integration/delivery (CI/CD).

Azure DevOps Cloud simplifies the path for you to deploy and integrate new applications and CI/CD. It also is a DevOps platform that combines the features of a platform as a service (PaaS) and an application service.

It is a fully managed service that helps you to provide a single step to create an application on Azure using open-source toolings such as Docker, Helm, Kubernetes, Jenkins, Team City, and IntelliJ IDEA.

Using these cloud services, you can:

  • Develop software.
  • Build cloud applications.
  • Test and deploy.
  • Monitor and automate.

Using the integrated tools lets you focus on your projects without worrying about connecting the services.

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What Are the Requirements for the Azure DevOps Cloud?

To use Azure DevOps Cloud, you need an Azure subscription. If you are already subscribed to Azure, there's nothing to change.

You also need to be on GitLab already. Using the GitLab with Azure DevOps services requires GitLab to be on GitHub.

Or you can use GitHub. If you are already using GitHub, you don't need to make any changes to your account. But if you want to use GitLab on Azure, you need a unique GitHub Identity, which you can obtain from the GitHub Administration Portal.

The GitHub Identity can be shared across the organization.

You also need the GitHub Administration Portal. You must be using Microsoft Azure when you can manage Azure DevOps Services, but you can also manage GitHub Administration Portal.

The Azure DevOps Service is offered in a free preview that allows you to use it only for 10 minutes per month. If you want to use Azure DevOps Services continuously, you must upgrade.

What Are the Management Components for Azure DevOps Cloud?

Azure DevOps Cloud will manage a cluster of up to 500 machines with the Cloud Management Gateway (CMG). This management works by running a set of software written in Docker.

The Azure DevOps Services also relies on the CMG.

The Azure DevOps Service's customers do not need to install the software. You can launch the management service from the Windows Azure Management Portal. The CLI can also use.

How Do I Use the Azure DevOps Cloud?

You can start using the Azure DevOps Services and Azure DevOps Cloud by accessing the Azure portal. You can access the Azure DevOps Cloud from the left sidebar of the portal.

The Azure DevOps Cloud Service is integrated with the Azure DevOps Service.

  • First, open the Azure DevOps Cloud page, then click on the Help Center tab. You will see a question box that allows you to start the Azure DevOps Cloud Service. Starting the service will enable you to configure Azure DevOps Cloud.
  • Enter the Azure DevOps Cloud installation URL: https://[ServicePortalURL].azurewebsites.net/ServiceLogin 
  • Then fill in the required information.
  • Next, click on the "Create the Azure DevOps Services" button to create a new Azure DevOps Service.
  • Once you are done, hit the Create Service button. To manage the Azure DevOps Services, click on the General tab.
  • On the left panel, you will see a link that says, "Choose your DevOps Service." Click on this link.
  • Select your DevOps Service. Click on the "DevOps" link and choose the Azure DevOps Service.
  • Click on "Start Service" to start Azure DevOps Service.
  • Open the Azure DevOps Service Dashboard. The dashboard is located on the right side of the dashboard.
  • Once the Azure DevOps Service is running, you can access it from the top navigation menu on the dashboard.
  • Every time you log in to Azure DevOps Services, you will be able to see the dashboard.

You can customize the dashboard to your organization. For instance, you can choose to use different views in your dashboard.

Why Is Azure DevOps Cloud Different Than the Other Cloud Management Tools?

Other cloud management tools usually require you to install their tooling, such as Jenkins, Kubernetes, Helm, GitHub, TeamCity, etc. Using these cloud services lets you focus on your projects without worrying about connecting the services.

However, the Azure DevOps Cloud does not require any tooling. That's because the tooling is written in a platform-independent fashion. This feature is a big plus.

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Summary

The Azure DevOps Cloud makes it easy to manage and work with multiple environments at once. It makes it easy to maintain and scale your code as your environment changes.

If you plan to use the Azure DevOps Cloud with your Azure DevOps Service, then the platform-independent nature of the tooling will give you the flexibility to scale and manage your environments easily.

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About the Author

Matthew DavidMatthew David

Matt is a Digital Leader at Accenture. His passion is a combination of solving today's problems to run more efficiently, adjusting focus to take advantage of digital tools to improve tomorrow and move organizations to new ways of working that impact the future.

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