Category Archives : DevOps

13

Nov

https://azure.microsoft.com/blog/getting-started-with-azure-cognitive-services-in-containers/Building solutions with machine learning often requires a data scientist. Azure Cognitive Services enable organizations to take advantage of AI with developers, without requiring a data scientist. We do this by taking the machine learning models and the pipelines and READ MORE

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12

Nov

Developing hybrid applications with Azure Stack
Developing hybrid applications with Azure Stack

More and more we hear from our customers that building hybrid applications is necessary for their business. While Microsoft Azure continues to be the platform of choice for building applications, Azure Stack and Azure together enable building hybrid applications. The consistent experience across both makes it easy. You can use Azure services from anywhere, whether at the bottom of a mine, from inside a container on a cargo ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, or from the top of Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Andes. Literally, you can run apps that you developed in Azure any place where traditional data centers don’t exist.

You can use Azure Stack close to your operations while using your favorite tools and programming language. Push your apps through dev, test, and into production with a single integrated DevOps pipeline.

Nothing illustrates the power of hybrid apps like the disaster relief prototype my team designed and implemented. This is a great demo of Azure services in a mobile deployment, disconnected in a remote environment. The solution supports data collection and decision making, and we can also see it being tested in areas such as healthcare.

Azure Stack offers capabilities today that make

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08

Nov

The importance of Azure Stack for DevOps
The importance of Azure Stack for DevOps

This blog post was co-authored by Steve Buchanan, Cloud & Datacenter MVP.

DevOps focuses on aligning culture, people, processes, and technology. It is sometimes thought that the technology part does not play a critical role in DevOps. This is wrong! Tools and technology help facilitate DevOps methodology and processes. Having the wrong tools and technology when trying to roll out DevOps can make it a challenge and can even become a blocker. Cloud platforms enable DevOps and are often the catalyst for rolling out DevOps. A recent Gartner report says that 75 percent of organizations plan to pursue a hybrid cloud strategy. An organization that implements a hybrid cloud strategy will need a consistent DevOps model across both an on-premises and public cloud. Microsoft Azure Stack extends Azure cloud services and capabilities to the on-premises environment, which is why it is so valuable for DevOps. Now let’s dive in to see what DevOps on Azure Stack looks like.

Azure Stack and Azure give you the ability to stand up a hybrid continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) pipeline. With hybrid CI/CD, workloads can land on either an on-premises or public cloud, and they can be moved. Code that’s written for Azure Stack

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07

Nov

Azure SQL Data Warehouse provides frictionless development using SQL Server Data Tools

The highly requested feature for SQL Data Warehouse (SQL DW) is now in preview with the support for SQL Server Data Tool (SSDT) in Visual Studio! Teams of developers can now collaborate over a single, version-controlled codebase and quickly deploy changes to any instance in the world. SQL DW is a flexible, secure, and fully managed analytics platform for the enterprise optimized for running complex queries quickly across petabytes of data.

Currently, change management and deployment for SQL DW is a non-trivial effort where customers must build SQL and PowerShell scripts. This becomes an unmanageable experience as modern data warehouse solutions can have over hundreds of data pipelines and thousands of database objects. This issue is exacerbated as data warehouse deployments typically have multiple environments for development, tests, and production. A stable continuous integration and deployment process becomes critical at this point.

With SSDT, database project support enables a first-class enterprise-grade development experience for your modern data warehouse. You can check data warehouse scripts into source control and leverage Microsoft Azure DevOps within Visual Studio. As your business requirements around data evolve, increase your development velocity with SQL DW by seamlessly applying and deploying changes using features such as schema

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22

Oct

Seven best practices for Continuous Monitoring with Azure Monitor

Whether you are a developer, site reliability engineer, IT Ops specialist, program manager, or a DevOps practitioner monitoring is something you definitely care about! With modern applications evolving from an on-premises world to becoming more hybrid or microservices based, there is also a need to evolve skill sets and adopt some best practices for a successful monitoring strategy on a hybrid/public cloud.

Azure Monitor is Microsoft’s unified monitoring solution that provides full-stack observability across applications and infrastructure. Depending on the hat you are wearing at the moment, you can start with end-to-end visibility across the health of your resources, drill down to the most probable root cause of a problem, even to actual lines of code, fix the issue in your app or infrastructure, and re-deploy in a matter of minutes. If you have a robust monitoring pipeline setup, you should be able to find and fix issues way before it starts impacting your customers.

Continuous Monitoring

Many of you already know how Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) as a DevOps concept can help you deliver software faster and more reliably to provide continuous value to your users. Continuous Monitoring (CM) is a new follow-up concept where you can

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25

Sep

Azure Pipelines is the CI/CD solution for any language, any platform, any cloud

As previously announced, Azure Pipelines is the Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) solution for any language, application, or platform. Azure Pipelines has evolved in last couple of years as we are seeing customers use this service for both enhanced CI/CD functionality, and as a dedicated CI/CD service to use in their DevOps toolchains.

Simple Pipeline

Any language, any platform, any cloud

Azure Pipelines’ key value proposition is to build, test any language, and deploy to any platform or any cloud.

Using Azure Pipelines you can build and test any language including Go, Node.js, Python, Java, PHP, Ruby, C/C++, .NET, Android, and iOS apps. Azure Pipelines supports hosted agents for Windows, Mac, and Linux apps without you worrying about the infrastructure for building and testing applications. You can configure CI whether your application code is stored in Azure Repos, GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket.

Once the application is built, you can use Azure Pipelines to target any platform including Linux/Windows VMs, Kubernetes, Azure PaaS Services. You can also target any cloud, such as AWS for GCP. 

Kubernetes deployments

Azure Pipelines can be used to easily setup a reliable continuous delivery service for deploying your containerized apps to any Kubernetes cluster,

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21

Sep

Deep dive into Azure Artifacts
Deep dive into Azure Artifacts

Azure Artifacts manages the dependencies used in your codebase and provides easy tools to ensure the immutability and performance of those components. Released as one of the new services available for developers in Azure DevOps, the current features in Artifacts will help you and your users produce and consume artifacts. For teams that use or produces binary packages, Azure Artifacts provides a secure, highly performant store and easy feed.

Getting started with Artifacts: Package feeds

Azure Artifacts groups packages in to feeds, which are containers for packages that help you consume and publish.

We’ve optimized default settings to be most useful to feed users, such as making your feed account visible to easily share a single source of packages across your entire team. However, if you’d like to customize your settings, simply access the settings tab to refresh your preferences.

New feature: Universal Packages

Azure Artifacts is a universal store for all the artifacts you use as part of development and deployment. In addition to NuGet, npm, and Maven packages, feeds now support Universal Packages, which can store any file or set of files. You create and consume Universal Packages via the Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) CLI. Consider

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20

Sep

Getting AI/ML and DevOps working better together
Getting AI/ML and DevOps working better together

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies extend the capabilities of software applications that are now found throughout our daily life: digital assistants, facial recognition, photo captioning, banking services, and product recommendations. The difficult part about integrating AI or ML into an application is not the technology, or the math, or the science or the algorithms. The challenge is getting the model deployed into a production environment and keeping it operational and supportable. Software development teams know how to deliver business applications and cloud services. AI/ML teams know how to develop models that can transform a business. But when it comes to putting the two together to implement an application pipeline specific to AI/ML — to automate it and wrap it around good deployment practices — the process needs some effort to be successful.

The need for aligned development approaches

DevOps has become the de-facto development standard for cloud services. It places an emphasis on process, automation, and fosters a culture that encourages new ways of working together across teams. DevOps is an application-centric paradigm that focuses on the platform, instrumentation, and process to support applications: what is the infrastructure needed to support the application? What tools can

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19

Sep

Deep dive into Azure Test Plans
Deep dive into Azure Test Plans

Azure Test Plans, a service launched with Azure DevOps earlier this month, provides a browser-based test management solution for exploratory, planned manual, and user acceptance testing. Azure Test Plans also provides a browser extension for exploratory testing and gathering feedback from stakeholders.

Manual and exploratory testing continue to be important techniques for evaluating quality of a product/service, alongside the DevOps emphasis on automated testing. In modern software development processes, everybody in the team contributes to or owns quality – including developers, testers, managers, product owners, user experience advocates, and more. Azure Test Plans addresses all these needs. Let’s take a closer look.

Note: For automated testing as part of your CI/CD workflow, consider leveraging Azure Pipelines. It provides mechanisms for continuous build, test, and deployment to any platform and cloud.

Testing is integral to DevOps and Agile teams

A common practice is to base tests on user stories, features, or scenarios that are managed on a Kanban board as in Azure Boards. With Azure Test Plans, a team can leverage manual testing right from within their Kanban board. This provides end-to-end traceability because tests and defects are automatically linked to the requirements and builds being tested, which also helps you

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17

Sep

Jenkins Azure ACR Build plugin now in public preview
Jenkins Azure ACR Build plugin now in public preview

Last year at Jenkins World, we announced Jenkins on Azure support for Kubernetes. We shipped the Azure Container Agent which allows you to scale out to Azure and run a Jenkins Agent on Azure Container Instances (ACI) and/or Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). Using the Kubernetes Continuous Deploy or Deploy to Azure Container Services (AKS) plugins, you can deploy containers to Kubernetes.

Back in April, we published a blog post in Kubernetes.io sharing with the community how to achieve Blue/Green deployment to Azure Container Services (AKS). Some questions remained to be answered though:

What if I need to build a Docker image when I use ACI as my Jenkins build agent? If I run Docker Build on AKS, is it secured?

Earlier this year, the Azure Container Registry team released a preview of a native container build capability called Azure Container Registry (ACR) Build, which solves just these problems. One of the best things about ACR build is you only pay for the compute you use to build your images.

Build from local directory

Let’s say you have an existing pipeline that uses Maven to build your Java project and then deploys to AKS:

node { /* … snip… */

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