Azure DevOps

In this article, we’ll learn about Azure DevOps, its numerous components and then dive into them in a detailed manner. We will then learn about Azure Repos, Azure Pipelines, Azure Test Plans, Azure Artifacts and also learn the difference from the TFS. Lastly, we go on the step-by-step process to access the service and learn about different segments of Azure DevOps in brief.   


DevOps can be understood as the amalgamation of the philosophies for DEVelopment and OPerationS (DevOps) which increases the capability of any organization to deliver their services and applications build, test, and release in high velocity in order to make it tremendously easy to improve and evolve their products in the shortest time possible. Tools like Azure DevOps make it easier for teams and organizations to reach this goal.  

Source: DevOps LifeCycle – Microsoft Azure

What is Azure DevOps? 

Azure DevOps formerly known as Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) is a service provided by Azure that enables teams and organizations to plan, collaborate and ship the modern data development services in a rapid, easy, and better way. The hosted version of Azure DevOps Server was formerly known as and Team Foundation Server (TFS). Azure DevOps can basically be taken as the tools to enable teams to collaborate and manage software development in one package itself. It works with any application, framework, platform, programming language as well as the cloud. It also provides extensible with third party add-ons.  

The main components of Azure DevOps can be listed as follows.  

  • Boards 
  • Repos 
  • Pipelines 
  • Test Plans 
  • Artifacts 
  • Extension Marketplace 

Azure Boards 

Azure Boards helps teams plan, track and discuss their work through different types of dashboards such as the Kanban Board, Team Dashboard, different backlogs and also supports custom reporting. The team can easily plan from idea phase to the release date with built-in scrum capabilities.  

Source: Microsoft

Extension Marketplace 

The marketplace is there for any enhancements. Moreover, the pricing of the service varies depending on use. Initially, it is free to start with for up to first 5 users. Thereafter, you can find the pricing structure on this page. Besides, numerous extensions are freely available from the Marketplace.  

Azure Repos 

With Azure Repos, one can obtain unlimited cloud-hosted private Git repositories for our projects. It is basically the Version Control for one’s Code. It supports multiple interfaces of Git as well as the Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC). It also supports pull requests in order to link to anyone in your project along with making easy discussion with @ tagging. Azure Repos provides full web support for VCS actions, has the provision of web hook and API access. Moreover, semantic search are also enabled along with branch policies.  

Source: Microsoft

Azure Pipelines 

Azure Pipelines is the gateway to continuous building, testing and deployment to any platform along with enablement cloud. Basically, we can say Azure Pipelines automates our builds and deployment with the CI/CD Automation.  

CI/CD Automation 

  • Continuous Integration 
  • Release Management 

Hence, the automation is done via CI and Release Management. Furthermore, the Azure Pipelines supports multiple Operating Systems (OS) from Windows, MacOS to different Linux. It supports the user local or hosted agents and numerous third-party enhancements are available. From programming languages like .NET, Python, Java, PHP, Ruby, C and C++ to Android and iOS, all kinds of apps are supported. Containers and Kubernetes are made available to easily build and push images. You can learn more about it in Containers and Azure Kubernetes Services article.  

Azure Test Plans 

Azure Test Plans enables testing and shipping reliably with the exploratory test toolkit. Azure Test Plans provides tracking for complex test scenarios, supports scripting our complex manual tests and includes user acceptance criteria. Besides, it also makes it easier to get feedback from stakeholders and capture the metrics and feedback. It enables to run load tests and are extremely useful for databases. Tata Consultancy Services – one of the biggest conglomerates in the world too uses this service.  

Source: Azure DevOps

Azure Artifacts 

Azure Artifacts makes it easy to create, host, and share the different packages with team members. Integration of packages can be done from public and private sources with Azure Artifacts. The various sources it allows are from the following package sources.  

  • Maven  
  • Npm 
  • NuGet 
  • Python Package 

It allows us to control access to packages across teams and projects. Howsoever, it is not necessarily useful for databases.  

Differences from Azure DevOps Server (TFS) 

There are some key differences of Azure DevOps Servers when compared to Team Foundation Server (TFS). First of all, Azure DevOps is completely hosted as a PaaS service. The AzDO server is a software we install and is supported on the machine that we control. The few differences can be observed with the SSAS integration, AAD integration and XML. The SSAS integration for reporting is not online, the AAD integration is online and AD only on premises. Also, the On-premises allows the XML process model. However, this keeps changing and the frequency of the updates and patches can be checked from the official user guide.  

Sign Up 

To summarize, we can understand Azure DevOps as the complete software development toolkit. It is often experienced that a project can consist of repos, work tracking, pipelines and more and all this can be managed and handled with the different services provided within Azure DevOps. It is quite often that each project includes multiple instances of these and this is supported by the Azure DevOps. Numerous Fortune 500 companies use Azure DevOps to manage their process and this clearly showcases and proves that Azure DevOps is a state-of-art in terms of the services that all in one helps organizations and team plan in a smart way to collaborate and ship their services as fast as possible. You can get started for free and experiment from today onwards. All you need to do is Sign up either with your email or through GitHub.  

Once signed in you are welcomed to the page to manage all the services.  

Now, we can explore all of the services we discussed above. Here, is the Repos section which enables creating repository and pushing and pulling codes from GitHub. Similarly, we can do all other tasks that are part of the DevOps from this. Its free to use, so Sign Up now and experiment. 


Thus, in this article, we learned about Azure DevOps, its various components and dived into them in a detailed manner. We learned about Azure Repos, Azure Pipelines, Azure Test Plans, Azure Artifacts and learned the difference from the TFS. Then, we went on the step-by-step process to access the service and learned about different segments in brief. 

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