Azure DevOps / TFS

Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps is compiled out of Azure DevOps Services and Azure DevOps Server. Both were formally Visual Studio Team Services / VSTS.

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What is Azure DevOps?

Azure DevOps is compiled out of Azure DevOps Services and Azure DevOps Server. Both were formally Visual Studio Team Services / VSTS. Azure DevOps Services is a cloud-hosted service offering a collection of development and collaboration tools. It’s basically a project management platform, or if you will, a CI/CD platform providing various tools in the DevOps arena. Azure DevOps Server, formally Team Foundation Server (TFS) is a hosted on-premises version of Azure DevOps Services. It offers all the functionalities needed to manage a software development project from testing through builds automation, and release management. Originated from Microsoft’s own experience in using their tools, Azure DevOps is a SaaS solution that integrates with many leading tools and consists of various services covering the development life cycle such as Azure Boards, Azure Pipelines, Azure Repos, Azure Test Plans, and Azure Artifacts.


What is Azure DevOps Server?

Azure DevOps Server, formally Team Foundation Server (TFS) is an on-premises version of Azure DevOps. Like the online version, it provides tools for version control, project and build management, reporting, test execution, and collaborative application development.

Azure DevOps Services vs. Azure DevOps Server

When comparing Azure DevOps Services vs. Azure DevOps Server, one should note that Azure DevOps Services is a cloud solution while Azure DevOps Server is basically Azure DevOps on-premise. That is the main difference between the two, as both solutions offer similar functionalities. However, Azure DevOps Services has some benefits over Azure DevOps Server, as described by Microsoft itself:


  • “Simplified server management.”


  • “Immediate access to the latest and greatest features.”


  • “Improved connectivity with remote sites.”


  • “A transition from capital expenditures (servers and the like) to operational expenditures (subscriptions)”.


Microsoft also reports several areas where there are differences between the two:


  • “Scope and scale data”


  • “Authentication”


  • “Users and groups”


  • “Manage user access”


  • “Security and data protection”



As well as differences in specific features of Azure DevOps Server that aren’t supported in Azure DevOps Services.

History of Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps, was previously referred to as Visual Studio Team Services until 2018 when the online and on-premise versions became known as Azure DevOps.

How does it work?

Azure DevOps assists developers and DevOps teams in the development life cycle of applications and provides “an integrated, collaborative environment that supports Git, continuous integration, and Agile tools for planning and tracking work.”

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Azure DevOps integrations

One of Azure’s DevOps major benefits is its integration with a vast number of tools and 3rd party services. Among its integrations, you may find Incredibuild to allow you to highly accelerate your Azure DevOps build pipelines.

Another popular integration is the Azure DevOps Jira integrations (by various providers) that allow teams working with both Azure DevOps and Jira project management platforms (for example, the backend team and the frontend team or the development team and the marketing team) to effectively work with both.

Azure DevOps Advantages

  • Offers a free version for developers to be able to learn and be productive
  • Works with various programming languages, platforms and cloud providers
  • Includes a wide range of integrations & collaboration capabilities
  • Based on Git repositories for code management
  • Customizable (such as fields)
  • Built in CI/CD
  • Compatibility with various Microsoft tools
  • SaaS offering updates regularly with new features

Azure DevOps Alternatives

There are many alternatives to Azure DevOps. Among common names, one might find Jenkins, TeamCity, Bamboo, CircleCI and many others.

Azure DevOps vs Jira

Atlassian Jira is another application life cycle management (ALM) tool that is well known and liked, especially by agile teams. Originally a bug tracking tool, it grew over time to a more comprehensive tool that embodies in it several tools for software development and management. The main difference is what they are intended to do. Jira is more of a task tool to keep things on track while Azure DevOps not only helps with tasking, it extends into the full gambit of build and deploy.

Azure DevOps and Incredibuild

Incredibuild Azure DevOps integration is seamless and offer the ability to highly accelerate time-consuming tasks that are part of your Azure DevOps builds, such as compilations, testing, code signing and more (to learn more about it, check out the following webinar). Minitab accelerate Azure DevOps tests from 11 hours to 11 minutes, using Incredibuild and Azure DevOps integration as well as running the compilations x3 faster.


Bottom line

If you’re looking for an end-to-end solution that provides a wide range of services, updates regularly, integrates with Visual Studio as well as other tools, this is one of the top solutions to consider.

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