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Azure DevOps Test Environment options

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Recently I’ve been going through different options to create Azure DevOps test environments. In order for people to perform changes without interfering with the existing business environment.

In addition, I’ve had to help some people sort out test environments for Azure DevOps as well. So, I thought I better do a post about the options that I have investigated here.

Now, I am aware that some of you are more experienced users. If that is the case then you can scroll towards the end of the post where I discuss some training sites.

Just to clarify, Azure DevOps is the new name for Visual Studio Team Services which is a cloud based service. I use it for SQL Server, however it can be used for so much more.

Anyway, in order of complexity (least to most), below are the options.

New project

Of course, the simplest way to create a test environment for you is to have your own private project created within your work organization.

However, it does limit your options into how much fine tuning you can do with your project options. In addition, you usually not have full reign over everything you can tailor. Unless, of course, you are an administrator.

Visual Studio subscription

On the other hand, if you have your own Visual Studio Subscription you are entitled to your own Azure DevOps development environment.

In truth, this option gives you full reign and gives you plenty of benefits depending on which subscription you have.

You can check yourself if you have an existing Visual Studio subscription in the workplace. To find out you can navigate to the Visual Studio Subscription benefits page here.

Usually it will tell you at the top of the page if you have a subscription. In fact, it should say “Welcome to your” followed by your subscription type at the top of the page.

Alternatively, you can look in the box that says Azure and see if you have a monetary value underneath it. If so, that means you have a subscription and the value there is your monthly Azure credit.

If that is the case, then in the Azure DevOps box you will see the option to activate your Azure DevOps environment. You can click activate and fill out any details required.

Another key point to remember about the two options above is that you don’t have to manage an underlying virtual machine, or patch the Azure DevOps you use.

Azure DevOps Server 2019

To clarify, Azure DevOps Server is the new name for Team Foundation Server which you can install on a server.

In addition, it has been updated to look and feel like the Azure DevOps service in the cloud so that you have a similar user experience.

Now this may be a good option to consider, especially if you want to test Azure DevOps without an internet connection. Or alternatively, on your own laptop when you are travelling around.

In reality, you can also install it on a virtual machine in Microsoft Azure. However, either method would mean multiple software installations and patches.

In addition, be aware that this option is more complex than the previous two. In fact, I did publish a post some time ago about installing RC1 which you can read in detail here.

With that in mind, it’s now being released. So now you can install a version on your laptop within a virtual machine. After the install, use it in a similar way I used the Release Candidate.

Training sites

Since I am talking about test environments it’s only fair I discuss a couple of sites you can use for training here.

Firstly, if you go to my previous post about study resources you can find links to various resources. Including the fairly new Microsoft Learn and edX. You can read that post in detail here.

If you look to do the MPP exam in DevOps through edX you can get exposure to Azure DevOps there as well.

Secondly, I want to mention Azure DevOps labs. Because is still fairly new, and it’s really good.

It certainly contains lots of prepared labs that you can do within Azure DevOps. Because they are popular topic at the moment, I better mention that it also includes labs for Kubernetes and Terraform.

You can find out more about Azure DevOps Labs in detail here.

Final word

Overall, I hope this post proved to be useful for some of you. You can leave a comment if you have any additional ideas about options, or alternatively any additional training resources.

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