Skip to main content

DevOps Tools in the cloud – Microsoft Azure

Posted on August 1, 2018 by TerryCoxTerryCox

This article is part two in an ongoing series that discusses how DevOps is being enabled in the cloud. In part one of our series, we talked about the various DevOps tools and processes that Amazon Web Services offers on their platform.
Today, in the same manner, we are going to talk about the various DevOps tools and services that Microsoft has enabled in their cloud platform, Microsoft Azure.

Azure Advantages

Microsoft has always had the strongest foothold in the desktop operating system arena and, let’s face it, that is where the work gets done. As a result, some of the traditional Microsoft tools that we use every day have helped to steer those organizations with licensing and Enterprise Agreements to Microsoft Azure. Microsoft has done a good job of promoting their platform with the ‘giveaway’ of compute time when you subscribe to one of their products.
With development making up a big part of DevOps (for obvious reasons), Microsoft already has a strong presence through their Visual Studio IDE, their newer VS Code text editor, and their acquisition of Xamarin. With that, you can not only facilitate development (and deployment) in the Azure cloud for server and desktop workloads, but you can complete your mobile platform development and deployment there as well.

Traditional Tools

Microsoft knows that many organizations also have invested significant time and energy in the deployment and use of their own DevOps tools. As a result, they have done a good job of supporting the traditional tools in the DevOps tool chest, including:

  • Jenkins
  • Chef
  • Terraform
  • Ansible (for Windows and Linux distributions)
  • Visual Studio Team Services

In fact, if you are a predominantly Windows organization, you could make the argument that Microsoft has done a much better job than others of integrating these throughout their platform. One would almost think that was on purpose, right?

Continuous Integration and Deployment for Windows Workloads

Although Microsoft supports the traditional DevOps tools that you may choose to run on an underlying Microsoft platform, where Azure really shines in the DevOps space is exactly where you think it would. The tight integration of Microsoft-specific (or mixed architecture) cloud deployments. Taking advantage of the strengths Microsoft has gained, over years of dominance, has allowed them unique insights into application lifecycles and how best to implement them on their service.
Using Microsoft’s Visual Studio Team Services, you can develop your application, publish it using on-demand serverless services or traditional cloud virtual instances, and then manage the full lifecycle from start to finish. Microsoft enables CI/CD with:

Visual Studio Team Services

  • Use containers to update your applications, real time, while eliminating deployment related downtime
  • Regardless of the language (ASP.NET, NodeJS, Java, PHP and more), you can deploy and manage cloud virtual instances from within your Visual Studio IDE
  • Web-enabled with Azure Web Apps, using this ‘serverless’ function, it can be a simple and fast way to create and deploy your web-based applications using any of the supported languages

Open Source and PaaS/IaaS

Not wanting to be left out in the cold, Azure does a good job of supporting traditional Open Source DevOps tools. Specifically, Microsoft architecture allows you to:

  • Deploy with Kubernetes – Integrating this key container cluster deployment and management system allows you to leverage the consistency and performance of complex cluster environments while easing the management of them
  • PaaS (Platform as a Service) – Not everyone can go full in on the cloud all at once, but you can leverage the Azure platform in non-production environments to augment your test capacity as needed without additional infrastructure spend
  • IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) – If you want all of your traditional infrastructure (physical or virtual) moved to the cloud, Azure has that covered as well, and, with their full set of DevOps tools available in the Visual Studio Team Services and Azure DevTest Labs, you can deploy and manage everything from either the console or integrated in your IDE


Although Microsoft has a bit of a different focus, you can still use all of your tools, skills, and expertise on the Azure cloud platform to enable DevOps in your organization. In our final article, we will take a look at Google’s perspective (stay tuned). Drop us a note below and share your Microsoft Azure DevOps experience, we want to hear from you!

Looking to gain more Azure experience? Check out the new Azure online training courses and tools we launched last month as part of our 150+ content launch, the most content in history!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *