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Microsoft Azure DevOps Pipeline and its Benefits

Gursimran Singh | 04 May 2023

Introduction to Azure Pipeline

Azure Pipeline is a cloud service that allows us to build and test code automatically. The Azure pipeline has many functionalities, such as continuous integration and delivery, that allow testing and building code regularly and consistently and shipping it to any target.

What is Microsoft Azure DevOps?

Azure is a cloud computing platform and an online portal to access and manage resources and services provided by Microsoft. All you need is a working Internet connection and an Azure portal. Learn more about Azure -

  • Launched on February 1 st, 2010.
  • Free to start and also provides a pay-per-use model.
  • All fortune 500 companies use Azure Cloud; to be specific, it’s around 80%.
  • Support multiple programming languages like Node, JS, java, c#, etc.
  • Data centers in 42 regions around the World. It is expected to have 12 more in the coming period, so the total number increases to 54.

What are the key benefits of Azure DevOps?

  • Easy to install of applications and takes only a few minutes in the configuration.

  • Client or any other applications run with it.

  • It supports lots of platforms and runs on multiple frameworks.

  • It supports various languages such as Java, Node, PHP, .NET, and Python.

  • Client/Organisation start applications or new applications from Git with the help of it.

  • Instant analysis of an application by using built-in apps and Cloud features by using Visual Studio Services.

  • It deploys applications and easily customize an application and also adds a test environment to validate Production.

How to Build Microsoft Azure DevOps Pipeline?

Azure DevOps Pipeline is a cloud-based service provided by Microsoft Azure, which allows its user to Automatically build and test code and make the code available to other users. Azure Pipelines is a straightforward, quick, and secure way to automate and build projects. The projects that you create can also be made available to other users.

An azure pipeline is the heart of the DevOps process. It is the CI/CD system, i.e., continuous integration and continuous deployment system. It keeps the quality of your application to ensure that every change you make takes you forward instead of backward. It allows you to ship whenever you want to keep your code quality high, you can also use it as a Launchpad to get your code up into the cloud whether its Azure cloud, Google, AWS, or any other because azure pipelines is a system that works for any language, any platform, and any cloud. Azure has hosted a pool of machines Linux, windows, and mac that azure manage for its user so that they don’t have to because of everything.

Azure is trying to do this to make its user's life more comfortable as a developer, and as your pipelines don’t stop with what Azure has shipped. It is highly extensible that Azure has an ecosystem of over 500 extensions that have contributed to both the community and form its partners from slack to Sonar cloud. You can use it for any application in any deployment mechanism, but containers are increasingly becoming that unit of application deployment, so Azure pipelines work great with containers you can use it to build your containers to test and validate your containers to publish it to whatever register you want and deploy it to whatever service you want, including Kubernetes.

Integrated with GitHub

Now almost all the developments that happen at Microsoft happen in Git, including windows. Windows team uses the source control system that line is built to build windows. Microsoft has open-sourced more and more products that it offers, i.e., vs. code and typescript examples. Azure pipelines have core parts of its infrastructure open soured Azure has added free CI / CD with Azure pipelines for any open source project that wants it.

That means any open source project can use Azure Pipeline for unlimited minutes up to 10 concurrent jobs running at the same time. The quality that Microsoft gives to open source is the same quality that it provides to everyone, i.e., no decrease in quality.

A set of operating principles, and a collection of practices that enable application development teams to deliver changes more reliably and regularly. Click to explore about, Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery

Continuous Integration (CI) for Microsoft Azure DevOps

Continuous Integration is primarily there to keep everyone who’s working on a team, or anyone who is building a piece of software in sync, so it is all about having a collaborative event between all of the people who are involved in making something and keeping them in sync, and the way that happens is through automated testing and validation and feedback.

For instance, developers are working on a project, and each of them works and implements a few classes, so they code them up and write all sorts of unit tests, so their classes work correctly and they feel that their program will so without any problem as their classes are so well tested. And then integrate their classes, and combine them to create the more extensive program the team is developing then everything breaks, the code fails to compile, and all sorts of bugs arise, and this situation is known as an integration error.

So to resolve this problem, the developer comes out with a solution, i.e., Continuous Integration. Features of Integration Testing -

  • Originated from Extreme Programming(XP)

  • Mitigates risks associated with integrating software

  • Avoids integration Errors

  • Integrate early and often combine- i.e., on every change

Continuous Deployment (CD) for Microsoft Azure DevOps

Continuous Deployment (CD) picks up where CI leaves off. CI is responsible for doing all these tests and creating all of the things that are associated with that package that is necessary for the continuous deployment tool to pick that package up and then deploy that out of the environment that needs to be right. We only built it once and implemented it as many times as we needed in whatever environments are associated with that’s the core concept of it.

Now continuous deployment is going to pick up that package that the CI tool created as the final result of all the tests compiling everything running well and deploy that out in an automated fashion to the environments that are associated with that specific project, so we have a staging environment or a testing environment or an acceptance environment and then a production environment, the continuous deployment tool is responsible for picking up that package, deploying that down, handling all things like connection draining load, load balancers associated, application installs, validation all that sort of kinds of stuff that comes into right, so that’s the versions of CI and CD.

Microsoft Azure DevOps Pipeline

Either YAML or Visual Designer can define azure Pipeline. When YAML is used, then the most pipeline is defined in code along with the rest of the system for the app. When Visual Designer is used, a build pipeline is limited to building and running the code and then publishing artifacts. A release pipeline is also defined to consume and deploy those artifacts to deployment targets. Using Azure Pipeline with YAML -

Step 1 - Go to dev.azure.com and add a project. Put the visibility of your project public or private as per your requirements.

Step 2 - Then Click on New Pipeline.

Step 3 - Configure the Azure pipeline to use your Git Repository or Git Hub (where code is present). Suppose the code is in Git Hub; fill in your GitHub details.

Step 4 - Select the code you want to send for continuous integration and continuous deployment.

Step 5 - Configure the code and then create the pipeline.

Step 6 - Click on the run. Then the code will automatically start configuring, and the CI pipeline will be created or built. Now it spinoffs a build agent. You can see that an agent is ready for the job. You can see the name of the agent and the work carried out and the successful job.

The agent will restore the packages from GitHub, compile the code from visual studio, and run the unit test. You can check the summary by clicking on the summary. There you can find the time of everything that happened during the build, including all the tests that were run.

There, in summary, you will find different options -

  • Build artifacts published

  • Build pipeline running

  • Manually queued

  • Associated changes

Step 7 - Release

Then you have to create or release the deployments as earlier you might not have created. To release or create the deployments, click on the release button. As you click on the release button, it will take you to the Visual editor for the release pipeline. You can choose a different template from there.

Step 8 - Suppose you choose the Azure App Service deployment template and click apply. Now when you are in, create a pipeline; for your releases, first thing you have to do is defines your stages. There you have to put a stage name, and then you have to assign the tasks that will run at that stage. As we use a template, everything is already defined, but you have to your account with your subscription. Just connect your azure pipeline with your Azure subscription. And when this is done, select the app service you are deploying to. One thing more you have to do is, as this is your staging environment; therefore, you have to deploy this in your staging slot. So first, you must choose a resource group and the staging slot.

Step 9 - If you want more than to deploy and opt for azure app service, you can add/ remove tasks to customize these release pipelines. Other than that, Azure Pipeline gives you a hundred functions that you can download and use.

Now, after creating your stage and creating the task that will run on your scene, you can add approvers before and after each phase. This is how you can build a CI /CD pipeline in any language.

A buzz in the industry; it’s growing at a speed of light due to its potential to produce quality products at a lightning pace. Download to explore about DevOps

How to adopt DevOps on Microsoft Azure?

  • Software Release Workflow - It is Azure code pipeline, a Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery service for fast and reliable application and infrastructure updates. Core pipeline builds, tests and deploy code every time when there changes on the code and based on the release process models defined. It enables rapid and reliable delivery of features and updates.

  • Build & Test Code - It is Azure code build which includes building the code and test code. It comprises of fully managed build services that compile the sources codes required, then it runs, and time to tests, also produces software packages ready to deploy. Codebuild doesn't need provisioning, management, and scaling of build servers. It scales continuously and processes multiple builds concurrently, to ensure that builds not left for waiting in a queue.

  • Deployment Automation - It is Azure code deploy to do deployment automation. It is Azure code deploy to automate code deployments to any of the instance, including Amazon EC2 instances and On-Premises servers. It's a deployment in Azure code deploy that makes easier to do rapidly release with new features, to avoid downtime during application deployment and handles the complexity of updating the application.

  • Unified CI/CD Projects - It is codestar used for CI/CD projects. Codestar quickly develops, builds and deploys the application on the dashboard. Codestar provides a specified user interface, to easily manage software development activities in one place. Codestar sets up entire Continuous Delivery toolchain in minutes, to start releasing code faster.

  • The provision, Configure and manage Infrastructure - It is an Cloud formation to create and manage a collection of the all related its resources, and also do provisioning and it's also updated in an orderly and predictable fashion. It also uses Cloud formation sample templates or creates own templates.

A Comprehensive Approach

With the help of the Azure DevOps Offerings, Enterprises can collaborate with more ease and deliver faster, to learn more about DevOps Processes we recommend taking the following steps -