How to DevOps with Azure

In order to release quickly and have stable application environments with minimal errors, it is of vital importance that developers work well with IT operations people and vice versa. To do this, they need to communicate well and sometimes work in the same team.

Ideally, they work in the same environment. Makes sense right? This is called DevOps. DevOps is a hyped-up term, but it comes down to implementing common sense by working better together.

One of the most important goals that DevOps helps to achieve is:

Faster and more reliable releases of the application through Continuous Integration (CI)* and Continuous Deployment (CD)

Microsoft provides some awesome services and features that can help your team to achieve this goal. You’ll learn about them in this article.

Continuous deployment in Azure App Services

Azure App Services are services that you use to host your web application or API. When you have the source code of your application in source control somewhere, you can easily have it deployed automatically to the App Service, every time you push up a change.

You do this by configuring the Deployment Options feature in App Services. This is really simple to do.

In your App Service (like a Web App), go to the Deployment Options blade

Here, it asks you to choose a source. So choose where your source code lives

When you’ve chosen your source code repository, you’ll need to authenticate so that Azure can use those credentials to access the source code

Next, you can choose the details of your deployment, which can include setting up a performance test as part of the process. In my case, I have chosen GitHub as my source

Once this is done, the process starts to run, and builds and deploys your source code into the App Service

Once this is configured, every time that you commit changes to the source code repository, it will get built and deployed to the App Service automatically.

Azure DevOps Projects

Currently in preview, Azure DevOps Projects is a guided experience in the Azure Portal that makes it easy for you to configure Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment. It’s not really a service within Azure, but more of a nice UI that helps you to set things up without leaving the Azure Portal.

Under the covers, it sets a build and release pipeline up in Visual Studio Team Services, which we’ll discuss later. So any builds or releases that you do through Azure DevOps Projects don’t happen within Azure, but within Visual Studio Team Services.

You can start out easily by creating a new Azure DevOps Project. Once you’ve done this, you’ll see a wizard that starts like this:

The wizard provides you with preconfigured templates to start from. You can also start without a template and create your own process.

In my case, I’d like to build and release a .NET project. After selecting this, the wizard asks if I want to configure the process for ASP.NET or ASP.NET Core.

The next step is to tell Azure DevOps Projects where I want to deploy. I can choose from the usual suspects in Azure; Azure App Services Web Apps, Azure App Services Web Apps running on Linux, or Azure App Services Web Apps for Containers. This last one allows me to deploy a Docker container to an App Services Web App.

Next, It asks me to either create a new Visual Studio Team Services account, or link my existing one, and to choose the resources that I want to deploy in Azure (or create new ones).

Once all of that is done, Azure DevOps Projects creates a new build and release definition within Visual Studio Team Services that works with the specified Web App and application.

Azure DevOps Projects is a great way to get started with your CI and CD pipelines and it is easy. It allows for further configuration afterwards, but if you don’t need that, you never have to leave the Azure Portal, which is great.

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