Microsoft Enhances DevOps Support in Visual Studio

As DevOps practices continue to gain momentum in enterprise IT shops, Microsoft is increasing its investment in DevOps support in its tooling platform.

DevOps practices

NEW YORK–Microsoft announced it is beefing up its support for DevOps in Visual Studio and Visual Studio Online.

At the company’s Connect(); event here Nov. 12, Microsoft said it continues to invest in technologies and services to help organizations embrace a DevOps culture. Through DevOps practices, organizations can deliver value to customers quickly while gaining better insights into the health and usage of applications.

DevOps, a portmanteau of Developer and Operations, as a concept and practice has been gradually gaining momentum, moving out of the IT shadows to wider acknowledgement and increasing acceptance across organizations of all sizes.

“The integration of Dev and Ops continues to enable new agility in the end-to-end application development process,” said S. “Soma” Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Developer Division, said in a blog post. “Visual Studio Online, TFS, Azure and Visual Studio are bringing a collection of integrated tools to help organizations embrace DevOps practices.”

For instance, Cloud Deployment Projects enable environment configuration to be captured as code and managed along with cloud projects and solutions in Visual Studio. Cloud Deployment Projects is part of the Azure SDK 2.5 tools for Visual Studio, which is available today.

Indeed, Cloud Deployment Projects in Visual Studio help organizations embrace infrastructure and configuration as code, a key DevOps practice. By modeling cloud resources as code, an organization can more easily and reliably provision and configure environments in Microsoft Azure, which can be used for development, testing and production. Cloud Deployment Projects ship with the Azure SDK 2.5, and also provides built-in blueprints that can help teams get started by providing them with the necessary infrastructure and configuration as code templates for brownfield solutions. Brownfield projects are new development efforts built to run alongside existing legacy applications.

Meanwhile, Release Management for Visual Studio is now available as a Visual Studio Online service preview. Release Management helps organizations to easily orchestrate deployments of source and configuration artifacts across their dev/test/production pipelines. This enables teams to release more frequently, with higher confidence and embrace a DevOps culture of software development, Somasegar said. This capability was previously available only to customers using Team Foundation Server. With Visual Studio Online, release management is provided as a hosted service in preview with no need for customers to set up or maintain any server infrastructure.

Also on Nov. 12 Microsoft provided an early preview into the next-generation build system for Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Online, referred to as Build vNext. The next-generation build system will allow teams to more easily create custom build workflows by introducing reusable tasks and a lightweight, web-based authoring environment. This build system will also be capable of building code from external systems such as GitHub by leveraging the REST APIs and service hooks infrastructure available in Visual Studio Online. And a new cross-platform build agent will allow teams to run builds on non-Windows machines. This makes it possible for the first time to build for iOS and OS X by running builds on Macs, Microsoft said.

"I have to say that the stuff they’ve been doing with VS Online is quite impressive," said Mik Kersten, CEO of Tasktop Technologies, which is delivering new integration support for Visual Studio Online.