So you have a CI/CD plan. You are shifting left. So what do you do now? In the process of transforming Azure DevOps, measurement is a crucial stage that is frequently skipped over. It’s time to give yourself some credit for how incredible your performance has become. On the road to continuous improvement, vision is essential for determining which of the available levers should be pulled next. You’re cranking out code at a faster rate than ever before! But how would you rate the quality? Does it not pass the tests? Is there a risk of instability during production? How much additional work needs to be done? If you do not keep track of it, you will not know.
If you want your automation cycle to get faster over time, one of the most important things you can do. Put into practice and monitor the performance of the best practices in Azure DevOps. It is not too late to put monitoring in place even if you, like many others, dove headfirst into your Azure DevOps adventure without first putting it in place.
1. Put “Security First” in All You Do
In a world in which breaches and vulnerabilities continue to cause significant reputation. And financial losses to enterprises of all sizes and capabilities, there is no way to overemphasize the necessity for security. The continuous integration and continuous delivery system is frequently the primary target. Because it provides access to your code-base as well as credentials to deploy in a variety of environments. It is not at all unheard of for credentials to be saved in private repositories for the purposes of automation.
As a result, you ought to think about isolating your CI/CD systems and putting them in safe internal networks. You will be able to enforce “the principle of least privilege” and limit your exposure to risks with the assistance of virtual private networks (VPNs), powerful two-factor authentication, and identity and access management solutions. As an illustration, you could containerize your agents and then put them on secure networks. In addition to this, you need to make sure that the security measures are included in the development process from the very beginning to the very end. This is what people in the industry refer to as “DevSecOps.”
2. Choose an Architecture Based on Microservices
A microservices architecture is the ideal method to move forward in order to adopt Azure DevOps in the most efficient manner. However, re-architecting your existing applications can be a challenging undertaking. Because of this, you may want to consider using an incremental approach, in which you keep your mission-critical systems and weave the new architecture around them. You will be able to progressively replace the old architecture with the new one with the help of this.
3. Put in Place Mechanisms for Monitoring and Version Control
You may improve your visibility into the development of your software using tools such as Jira and Bugzilla, which can also make it easier for you to engage with teams that are geographically dispersed. You will also need a version control system like as Git, which helps your team maintain a “single source of truth,” enables the tracking of changes made to the code base, and is a lifesaver whenever a rollback is required. GitOps has the potential to drastically increase your MTTR by making it possible for teams to work together and incorporate their changes into a common repository with DevOps CI/CD services.
4. Make a Daily Commitment and Try to Minimize Branching
The purpose of minimizing branching, or even, gasp, doing away with it entirely, is to free up more time for use in the development process and reduce the amount of time spent on version control. However, in order for developers to get the most out of GitOps, they are expected to commit their changes at least once each day either directly to the main branch or to merge changes from their local branches in. Because of this, developers will be forced to deal with smaller, more manageable portions of the pain associated with integration rather to the tremendous integration pain (and accompanying rework) that occurs when attempting to merge several branches into the trunk soon before a release.
5. Build Only Once
Eliminate any practices that result in the compilation of source code more than once. You should only perform that process once, even if the software needs to be produced, packed, or bundled before it can be distributed, and then focus on distributing your binaries. The majority of effective Azure DevOps services implementations begin with the packaging of software in a pristine environment by beginning with the build process as the first step in the CI/CD cycle. By doing so, oversights are eliminated, and the likelihood that errors will be introduced or discovered at a later time is significantly reduced. In addition, the final artifact should be versioned and published to Git at each iteration, so that the build does not deviate from its original state when the repository is subsequently pulled.
6. Determine Which Manual Procedures and Testing Can Be Automated
When moving from manual to automated processes, it can be challenging for businesses to prioritize which tasks should be automated first. An incremental approach to automation may sound like a good idea, but this can be a challenge for many businesses. For instance, it is helpful to automate the process of compiling the code first because it reduces human error. It makes perfect sense to do automated smoke tests given that developers are required to commit work on a daily basis. In most cases, the automation of unit testing comes first in order to relieve the burden placed on developers.
As a consequence of this, functional testing can be automated, and then user interface testing can follow. In contrast to UI tests, which are subject to more frequent changes, functional tests often do not necessitate the automation script to undergo frequent revisions. In order to prioritize automation in a way that makes sense, the most important thing to do is think about all of the possible dependencies and analyze their impact.
7. Make Frequent Releases
The program needs to be in a state where it is ready to be released, and you need to test it in an environment that simulates production conditions before you can perform frequent releases. Before the actual release, it is recommended that a deployment stage be added that is very similar in appearance to the environment that will be used in production. The following are some examples of release best practices:
- Canary Deployment– releasing the update to a select group of users, testing it with those users, and then rolling it out to the larger population if the test is successful (or pulling it back for iteration if the test is not successful).
- Blue Green Deployment– You start with two production environments that are exactly the same. One of them is currently being produced. The opposite party is not active. When a new release is deployed, the modifications that have been made are pushed to the environment that is currently idle. After that, they make the change, and the environment that is now housing the new release is promoted to the live status. In the event that something goes wrong, you are able to roll back to the previous setting immediately (the one that does not contain the new release). In the event that all goes according to plan, the two settings will be made comparable once more.
- A/B Testing– This is conceptually comparable to blue green deployments but should not be confused with them in any way. Testing features within an application for things such as usability can be done using a method called A/B testing. The feature will be awarded to the variation that performs better. This is not a means of releasing the product.
8. Use On-Demand Testing Environments
You should give some thought to running tests within containers because doing so enables the quality assurance team. To cut down on the number of environment variables and differences. That are present between the development environment and the production environment. Your CI/CD cycle will benefit tremendously from the addition of agility. When you make use of testing environments that are designed to be temporary. Instead of pulling a build from a CI server and installing it in a separate testing environment. The QA team may run tests against a container image instead. This saves time and eliminates potential errors. It is much simpler to create containers (there is no demand for separate installation or configuration). And it is also lot simpler to destroy containers when they are no longer required.
To Wrap Things Up
Building, testing, and distributing software is best handled through automation. Which is the core objective of best practices for CI/CD in Azure DevOps. This means that you will require access to Azure DevOps technologies that help you simplify automation. And obtain better visibility into the progress of your software. These tools are necessary since you will need them. In addition, monitor the performance metrics of Azure DevOps throughout the software delivery lifecycle. And to provide warnings to facilitate a speedy recovery in the event that something goes wrong during the release or deployment of software.
Even in companies that have been undergoing their Azure DevOps transformation for some time. The process of deciding which Azure DevOps tools to use and where to invest first can produce “analysis paralysis.” This can happen while trying to decide which tools to implement first. You can avoid getting yourself into a situation similar to the one described above. And gain a head start on your transformation to Azure DevOps. We are hopeful that you will find this material to be informative. Until next time, happy developing!