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Azure DevOps vs. GitHub
Published:Oct 12, 2020

Azure DevOps vs. GitHub: Which One Is Right For You?

As more companies undergo digital transformation, there’s mounting pressure for software teams to build better apps, faster. DevOps enables organizations to increase their build velocity and develop better solutions to respond to fast-changing market conditions. 

Agile methodologies are the key to delivering high-quality work at an increasing speed. But which DevOps tool should you use?

Two of the biggest names in the game are Microsoft Azure DevOps (formerly Visual Studio Team Services) and GitHub. Let’s look at their similarities and differences, pros and cons, and see which one is the right tool for your team.

Azure DevOps vs. GitHub: Similarities and Differences

Azure DevOps and GitHub offer automation, source control, and code repository and project management features for software development. Microsoft owns both—when Microsoft acquired GitHub in 2018, it added integration features so Azure DevOps users could also use GitHub.

Additionally, both offer public and private repositories, plus a cloud-based and an on-premise option (as Azure DevOps server—formerly Team Foundation Server or TFS—and GitHub Enterprise Server.) Although teams can move fluidly between the two, most still prefer one over the other for their unique capabilities. 

Azure DevOps is a collection of services that allow teams to share their code, track their work, and deploy and ship software. These Azure DevOps services include:

  • Azure Boards
  • Azure Pipelines
  • Azure Repos
  • Azure Artifacts
  • Azure Test Plans

Favored by enterprise development teams, Azure DevOps integrates with various Microsoft products and offers cloud-specific development services. The extended features support continuous integration and continuous deployment/continuous delivery (CI/CD) in agile development:

  • Agile project management tools, including kanban boards, backlogs, and scrum boards.
  • Reporting via dashboards, widgets, and Microsoft Power BI.
  • Git repository for unlimited private hosting and pull requests.

GitHub is a massive, open-source code repository that has long been the go-to tool for code sharing and team collaboration. It has one of the best version control systems, plus cloud-based code sharing and social networking features that connect an expansive global developer community. 

While Azure DevOps has become more open-source friendly, GitHub is built for open-source software development and “social coding.” Users can collaborate on projects and share their code with these robust functionalities:

  • Gitlab for code management in private and public repositories.
  • GitHub Actions, GitHub Packages, code reviews, pull requests, and protected branches for managing code workflows.
  • Security and compliance tools, including customizable security alerts, automated code scanning, audit logs, and lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP.)
  • A marketplace for integrations with popular build tools, issue trackers, etc.

Azure DevOps vs. GitHub: Pros and Cons

Both Azure DevOps and GitHub offer robust feature sets, but each has different strengths and weaknesses. Here are the pros and cons to consider:

Azure DevOps Pros and Cons

This one-stop-shop, flexible, and powerful set of tools supports the agile methodology, DevOps sprints and processes. You can add more capabilities from its ecosystem of extensions. It’s free for five or fewer users and supports open-source projects.

However, some users describe it as a “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Also, the pricing structure is complex and can get expensive for large teams.

GitHub Pros and Cons

Users enjoy the community vibe of GitHub, which brings social aspects into programming. The platform offers fast and easy version control and is the industry standard for open-source projects. The basic plan is free, and higher-level plans are affordable. 

However, the user interface and commands may not be intuitive for new users, so expect a learning curve. Also, the cloud-based repository may not meet the security requirements of companies in highly regulated industries. 

Azure DevOps vs. GitHub: A Comparison

Azure DevOps vs. GitHub: A Comparison

Features: Tie

Both platforms offer comprehensive and feature-rich stacked tool sets. Developers can share their code, track their projects, collaborate with other teams, and set up environments for building CI/CD pipelines.

Ease of Use: Tie

Both Azure DevOps and GitHub are relatively easy to learn and use, but not everything is intuitive, so expect a learning curve. Their simple integration with popular tools means you can easily incorporate them into your existing workflows. 

Community Support: GitHub

GitHub takes the crown in the community aspect as it’s a social, collaborative platform at its core. But Azure DevOps users aren’t on their own—you can get help from its virtual assistants and purchase an Azure Support Plan for additional support.

Release Rate: Tie

Both platforms have evolved to include new features and capabilities to meet changing needs in the software development industry. They regularly release feature upgrades, new tools, and security updates to help users stay ahead of the curve.

Pricing: GitHub

GitHub is widely regarded as the more affordable option. You can host all public, open-source GitHub projects for free while the Team plan costs $4 per user per month and the GitHub Enterprise plan costs $21 per user per month. Azure DevOps’ basic plan costs $6 per user per month, but if you add the Test Plans services, the price shoots up to $52 per user per month.

API, Extensibility, and Third-Party Integrations: Tie

Both platforms have extensive marketplaces so users can integrate their favorite tools seamlessly (e.g., Slack, AWS, Semaphore, Travis CI.) Azure DevOps supports REST APIs, command-line tools, web-based tools, desktop client developers, and more. Meanwhile, GitHub Apps and Actions allow users to find and incorporate third-party software. 

Security: Tie

There are many criteria for evaluating the security of a platform. We turn to UpGuard, which publishes objective, data-driven security ratings, for some unbiased insights. Microsoft’s Azure gets 893 points out of 950, an A rating. GitHub got an A rating, coming in at 846 points.

Which DevOps Tool Is Better For You?

They’re both powerful tools with different pros and cons, delivering different values to meet various needs. When deciding which one to use, your team should evaluate them based on your requirements, objectives, and workflows. 

We know both are great tools, and we want to make them work even better for your team by allowing developers to integrate time tracking into their workflows. That’s why 7pace Timetracker is built into both platforms so you can track your time where you work no matter which tool you use.

Try 7pace to get more from your favorite DevOps tool.

Free eBook

Rethinking Timekeeping for Developers:

Turning a Timesuck Into Time Well Spent

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