Managing software delivery lifecycle could be a cumbersome task as each team operates distinctly but a DevOps focused release management can handle it is like a pro with simple methods. It encourages visibility and cooperation across deployment and delivery processes. On that note, let us see the best practice of Azure DevOps release management that are practiced, perfected and proven by experts
Azure DevOps Pipeline Integration
You need to integrate the management features with Azure DevOps pipeline for a continuous integration and delivery at faster pace and minimal risks. You can also automate the build and testing process in various stages till production. In this process, to reduce the complexity of scenarios, set up Azure DevOps release pipeline. You can use existing code and deploy them to other Azure services like VMs, AKS, and Azure SQL Database.
When you start using Azure pipelines, you need to mention the artifacts that are used to make applications and release pipeline. An artifact is a deployable feature of an application that is produced by sources like Azure pipeline build, TeamCity and you can deploy it through Azure pipeline releases.
You can indicate release pipelines at different stages and control deployments using approvals by automation or semi-automation. For this, you can generalize your automation by using variables and manage deployments using triggers.
Once the release pipelines is created, it stores all data, stacks, releases and deployment in Azure pipeline and it is run by the following process
- Approval before deployment: Every time you trigger a deployment request, Azure pipeline checks if there is any necessity for a pre-deployment approval and if it is required, it sends out a mail to the approvers for the same.
- Agent deployment: Azure DevOps pipeline schedules deployment in a stacked fashion through software that runs task called, Agent.
- Choosing artifacts: You can choose the type of artifact relevant to the release through the agent.
- Run deployment task: These agents run all the deployment tasks and then deploy the applications in the target server.
- Monitoring logs: you can enable the agent to create logs to generate the progress when you run the deployment and send it back to Azure pipeline.
- Approval post deployment: Once the deployment stage is complete, the pipeline check for any approval requirement and then triggers deployment to the next phase.
Microservices in Azure DevOps
Besides these regular workflows, few organization claim that incorporating microservices in Azure DevOps pipeline has unique benefits as modification in a certain module can be easily made without affecting the entire application. Transferring microservices CI/CD pipeline in Azure might seems like a task but it can be quickly sorted if you pay attention to the following
- Allocating repository for each release unit or microservices
- The Continuous integration build in these units creates build artifacts, compiles codes and runs tests. Thus, you can deploy applications in modules by using release pipelines in each CI build.
- The release pipeline uses the credible and latest CI build for all the repositories. Once it gathers all information, services and artifacts, it processes/ runs integration tests and sends it to the next approval stage where you can manually approve the releases.
Azure DevOps for Project management
Let us now see about how we use Azure DevOps in a project management point of view which will transform team performance and improve user satisfaction.
Here, we can introduce Azure DevOps as a suite containing application-relevant tools that enables teams to track, monitor, run, deploy application, and manage codes and tests. You can classify its features according to the environment, process and tools and it acts as a guide to bring security and project management features to share information. You can define different styles of dashboards for different purposes like code related work items for developer and test coverage work items for testers, process dashboard for project managers to view the overall progress of the project. Analytics brings in several reports in Azure DevOps that are already built-in. it consists of pie chart, control charts, cumulative flow charts for you to understand the workflow design. You can obtain a wider perspective of the project through these representations.
Therefore, Azure DevOps for project management helps in communicating within management and clients about planning and processes expected and implemented to keep them informed and maintain transparency.
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