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Create a DevOps Project

At this point we know that we are using DevOps Service rather than the on premesis DevOps Server so go to

To get to your initial DevOps page

Which gives you three routes in. Do you…

  • Start Free?
  • Start Free with GitHub?
  • Or Sign in to Azure DevOps if you already have an account?

At this point, we don’t have an account

Making Sense of DevOps Pricing

Start Free or Start Free with Github

Start free with GitHub

Use this option if you already have a GitHub account

In this example Start for free option is used. Because [I] have an azure account, DevOps is already logged in and it knows what my tenant is.

At this point there is no suggestion of a 30 day trial or any other information. so for the time being lets get started by adding a project (This is because I have a Visual Studio account. This may be different for uses without a Visual Studio Subscription)

Also Note the level

This is the organisation level and this is my own personal devOps account. What happens if you want to set up a New Organisation to connect related projects and scale out to enterprise Level?

Select New organisation

And New Project

the New Organisation level has been set up with the Companies name

I can now start working with DevOps at an organisational level. We can have 5 basic users for free so for the time being, this is what we will stick to.

We know we want a Private DevOps area

Version Control Git has been selected because this seems to be the one that other team members are the most comfortable with

Work Item Process Agile, Basic, CMMI, Scrum

The default is Agile but lets have a quick look at each of these processes


The simplest model.


Agile includes scrum, Works great if you want to track user stories and bugs on a kanban board


Supports the Scum methodology. Really good for tracking backlog items and bugs on a kanban board.


if your team follows more formal methods use CMMI (capability Maturity Model Integration.

For this Project, the Agile approach is selected

Invite a user into the Project.

Under 5 users and DevOps is free. We wont be doing anything with test plans at the moment so lets add one other user into this area

DevOps Access Levels

  • Stakeholder can be assigned to users with no license or subscriptions and need a limited set of features
  • Basic Provides access to most features. up to 5 users is free
  • Basic + Test Plans The user has access to test plans but this costs around £34 a month extra and you dont get any free accounts
  • Visual Studio Subscription – Assign to users with a Visual Studio Subscription

Check Levels of Access

Go back up to the organisational level and select Organisation settings in the bottom left hand corner of the screen

Next go to users and you can check the settings. Note that one account is under a Visual Studio Enterprise Subscription so this is assigned to users who already have a Visual studio Subscription.

We have 1 basic account which will be free at the moment

Checking Spending

Obviously the one thing you want to do is check that you aren’t spending money unnecessarily.

Still in Organisation Settings

Currently there is no billing applicable but this section will need a more detailed how to later on

Checking what has been done at organisation level

Here you can see that Tess has been added by myself to a Group and her access was set to basic.

There should be a post coming a long soon that will look into Organisational Setting in more detail

We have created a project and set up new users with Basic level accounts.

Getting back to your Project

Close Devops down and then re open

This time you can sign in and go straight to your new project

Next time we will start using some of the services on offer like Boards, Repos, pipelines, test Plans and Artifacts


Making Sense of Pricing for Azure DevOps to get started

You decide that Azure DevOps is the way to go because you want to make use of all the features. Specifically

  • Azure pipelines to build and release code
  • Boards to do all your planning
  • Repos so you can use, for example GiT as your code repository
  • Artifacts to share packages across projects
  • Test Plans to help you test what you have built

Azure DevOps Services Costings

DevOps is free for Open Source projects and small projects up to 5 users

Azure DevOps Services

Individual Services

Taking Azure DevOps Services as the starting point, The first area to look at is Individual Services

There are only two individual services to choose from. Pipelines and Artifacts. this would be useful if you choose if you simply want to be able to build code and release it into specific environments and save your artifacts for use across projects

CI/CD -Continuous Integrations and Continuous Delivery or deployment

Along with these two services there are sliders so you can optimise the services for your requirements and it would be helpful if there were more information about the different options

Azure pipeline Options

First of all we need to understand the Microsoft Hosted will be in the public cloud. The jobs are run on a pool of Microsoft Hosted Agents. Basically, each time a job is run, a fresh VM gets created and then discarded after use. and Self Hosted will be ion premises using self hosted agents. .

With the above option you can only run one job at a time for free that runs for 1,800 mins at a time. And remember that your job is building and releasing code.

lets see what happens with Microsoft hosted if move the Microsoft hosted slider to 10?

Its not clear what this actually means. would you be paying £298 per month at the top end if you had 10 developers using the service concurrently, or do you simply pay for what you use.? So if you don’t go to more than one concurrent job at a time its still free?

Azure Artifact Options

This is clearer. Artifacts are stored so you are paying for storage.

User Licenses

If you want to use all or most of the services you can get an individual user License, Much in the same way that you would but in Power BI Pro per user license.

The only difference between the Basic plan and the Basic + Test plans is Test plans but there is a fairly big price difference.

The question is, how useful is testing plans and can you do with out them? Testing plans will be looked at in more detail later

Basic Plan

If you are happy to go without Test plans its worth looking in more detail at the fine points


Azure Pipelines: Includes the free offer from INDIVIDUAL SERVICES and the free offer is specifically for 1 Free parallel job

Does that mean that even paying 4.48 per license you may have extra charges if you run a job in parallel to another developer?

If two developers are running at the same time who gets hit with the charges?

Could this be understood as being if a user puts two jobs out concurrently and if two users have a job running each, this wouldn’t be charged as its per user?

Artifacts 2 GB free per month and then the assumption is that you move on to pay for extra storage. Is this a pay as you go model?

Basic + Test Plans

The same criteria applies to the plan so the same questions still apply

There are no Free plans with this and the cost is £38.76 per user per month so this assumption is that this plan would only be required for users who will need to test the system?

More information is required in regards to Test plans and are they worth the extra £34.28 a month?

Azure DevOps Server

DevOps Server is the on premises offering built on a SQL Server backend. DevOps Server is a good option when all your services are on premises and you have, for instance Microsoft SQL Server 2019

You can either pay month to month through Azure or buy a 3 year software license.

If you buy through Azure it entitles you to use the cloud service.

With either option you need Windows or Windows Server Licenses for the Servers running Azure DevOps Server 2019

Team Foundation Server is now Azure DevOps Server.

Pricing is not established on the web site so it may need to be a call to the Microsoft Sales team to ensure you get the right fit for your needs.

If you already use the cloud the recommendation will be to go for a DevOps Service

However there are still some questions in relation to this and what is the best option, and can these options be mixed and matched when dealing with different types of users?

Introduction to Azure DevOps

What is Azure?

Taking the first part of Azure DevOps, Azure is Microsoft’s Cloud computing platform. It hosts hundreds of Services in over 58 regions (e.g. North Europe,West US, UK South) and available in over 140 countries.

As you can see, lots of Azure services have already been consumed throughout these blogs. Azure SQL Databases, Azure Data Lake gen2, Azure Blob Storage, Azure Data Factory, Azure Logic Apps, Cognitive Services etc.

Business Processes are split into Infrastructure as a Service Iaas (VMs etc) , Platform as a Service PaaS (See the services above) and Software as a Servie SaaS (Office 365, DropBox, etc)

You can save money by moving to this OpEx model (Operational Expenditure) from the CapEx model (Capital Expenditure) because you pay for what you need as you go, rather that having to spend money on your hardware, software, data centers etc

Cloud Services use Economies of Scale, in that Azure can do everything at a lower cost because its operating at such a large scale and these savings are passed to customers.

On Demand Provisioning

When there are suddenly more demands on your service you don’t have to buy in more hardware etc. You can simply provision extra resources very quickly

Scalability in Minutes

Once demand goes down you can easily scale down and reduce your costs. Unlike on Premises when you have to have maximum hardware requirements just in case.

Pay as you Consume

You only pay for what you use

Abstract Resources

You can focus on your business needs and not on the hardware specs (Networking, physical servers, patching etc)


Every unit of usage is managed and measurable.

What is DevOps?

A set of practices intended to reduce the time between committing a change to a system and the change being placed into normal production, also ensuring high quality

Testing, Reviews, Moving to production. This is the place where developers and the Operations team meet and work together

Pre DevOps

If we dont work within a DevOps Framework. What do we do?

Developers will build their apps, etc and finally add it into Source Control

Source Control or Version Control allows you to track and manage code changes. Source Control Management Systems provide a history of development. They can help resolve conflicts when merging code from different sources

Once in Source Code the Testing team can take the source code and create their own builds to do testing

This will then be pushed back to the development team and will go back and forwards until everyone is happy. Here we can see that the environments we are using are Dev and Test

Once Complete, it is released into Production.

This is a very siloed approach. Everyone is working separately and things can take time and you will get bottlenecks

The DevOpsApproach

Everyone works together. You become a team and time to market becomes faster. Developers and Operations are working as a single team

DevOps Tools

Each stage uses specific tools from a variety of providers and here are a few examples

  • Code – Eclipse, Visual Studio, Team Foundation Services, Jira, Git
  • Build – Maven, Gradle, Apache Ant
  • Test – JUnit, Selenium
  • Release – Jenkins, Bamboo
  • Deploy – Puppet, Chef, Ansible, SaltStack
  • Monitor -New Relic, SENSU, Splunk, Nagios

We need all these tools to work together so we don’t need to do any manual intervention. This means that you can choose the ones that you have experience in.

Components of Azure DevOps

Azure Boards

People with a Scrum and Project Management background will know how to create the features within the Boards. Epics, Stories, Tasks etc

Developers create and work on tasks. Bugs can be logged here by the testers

Azure Repos

Push the development into Source Control to store your information. Check in your code within Azure Repos.

There are lots of repositories to choose from in Repos to suit your needs like GIT or TFS

Azure Pipelines

Developers build code and that code need to get to the Repos via a Pipeline. The code is built within the Pipeline.

The code is then released into Dev, Test, Prod, Q&A etc, And from, say the test or Dev environments we can……..

Azure Test Plans

Test, using Azure Test plans. For example, if you have deployed a web service, you want to make sure its behaving correctly. Once tested the code will go back to the pipeline to be built and pushed to another environment

Azure Artifacts

Collect dependencies and put them into Azure Artifacts

What are dependencies?

Dependencies are logical relationships between activities or tasks that means that the completion of one task is reliant on another.

Azure Boards

Work Items

The artifact that is used to track work on the Azure board.

  • Bug
  • Epic
  • Feature
  • Issue
  • Task
  • Test Case
  • User Story

So you create work items here and interact with them on the board


Work with Epics, Features, Tasks, Bugs etc.

Includes support for Scrum (agile process framework for managing complex work with an emphasis on software development) and Kanban (a method for managing and improving work across human systems. Balances demands with capacity)


How do you prioritise your work items?


Say your Sprint is 20 days (2 weeks) What work can be accomplished within this sprint?


Overall picture of the particular sprint or release


We can use GIT or Team Foundation Server TFS. The example uses GIT

  • Files
  • Commits
  • Pushes
  • Branches
  • Tags
  • Pull Requests

You create your own branch from the master branch. Do your testing and changes and push back from your branch to the master branch.


Where is your Code? Its in GiT

Select the GiT source like Azure Repos GIT or GiTHub etc

Get the code from the master branch

How do you want to build the project?

Choose from lots of templates, Azure Web App, , Mavern, Ant, ASP.NET, ASP.NET with containers, C# function, Python package, Andriod etc

Next provide the Solution path and the Azure Subscription that you want to deploy to

This takes the source code from the GiT repository and builds the source code.

The build will then give you logs to show you how the build of the project happened

Next time when you check in code, it will automatically trigger the pipeline to build the code

Then the build needs to be Released via a Release Pipeline

This is where you release to the correct Azure Subscription and the code will be deployed. You can also add in approvals to ensure you get the pre approval required to release the code.


This is just a whistle stop tour of Dev Ops. Test Plans and Artifacts haven’t been discussed in much detail but it gives you the basics of what is included in DevOps and how you can start to think about using it.

What do you create in Azure and can it be handled within DevOps?

Can we start using the Boards?

How do we can started with Azure Devops?

Which teams members have the right interests in the specific DevOps areas?