Switching from Azure DevOps to Github? Here’s What You Need To Know - 7pace
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Published:Aug 04, 2022

Switching from Azure DevOps to Github? Here’s What You Need To Know

Every software team needs a DevOps tool. Azure DevOps and GitHub are the two usual suspects. While both offer robust features, they have very different philosophies and workflows.

If you’re considering switching from Azure DevOps to GitHub, here’s what you need to know to orchestrate a seamless and successful transition.

Azure DevOps vs. GitHub

Azure DevOps is a suite of developer services that help streamline the planning, collaboration, communication, and deployment of software projects. You can use the individual services (e.g., Azure Pipelines, Azure Repos, and Azure Test Plans) on their own or alongside each other.

GitHub is a website and cloud-based service for developers to store and share their code. They can also track and manage code changes using various features such as version control through Git to facilitate branching and merging projects.

Both have robust project management features and integrate well with popular software development tools, platforms, and services, such as Microsoft Azure. Each has its automation and CI/CD tool—Azure Pipelines and GitHub Actions—to support hosted agents for public and private projects.

Azure DevOps vs. GitHub

Replacing Azure DevOps Functionalities With GitHub Features

An essential step in switching from Azure DevOps to GitHub is to identify the current functionalities your team uses in Azure DevOps and find 1:1 replacements in GitHub or augment or extend GitHub features to meet your needs.

Data Residency

You can replace Azure DevOps Server with GitHub Enterprise Server to keep data within your network. Like Azure DevOps, you have to install and maintain the software and machine. However, there’s a difference if you use the cloud-hosted version. While you can choose your Azure region to reduce networking latency, GitHub doesn’t have this feature.

Project Management and Bug Tracking

GitHub Issues can replace Azure Boards to help you plan, track, and discuss work items (e.g., features and bugs.) The Kanban-style board is easy to use, and the description field supports markdown syntax. You can associate issues with each other, assign an issue to multiple team members, and link it to a pull request.

Automation

GitHub Actions can replace Azure Pipelines to create automated workflows for building, testing, and deploying applications. Like Azure DevOps, you can download extensions developed by the community from the marketplace to augment and extend automation capabilities.

CI/CD Workflows

Both Azure DevOps and GitHub have similar CI/CD pipeline structure. They handle build and release pipelines in the same place and offer multi-stage workflows.

Testing

Each platform allows you to add extra testing steps for unit tests, load tests, and more. While Azure DevOps’ automated testing functionality comes from third-party extensions, GitHub includes rich native capabilities. For instance, Dependabot verifies that your dependencies are up to date. However, GitHub doesn’t have built-in capabilities for manual testing.

testing

How To Plan Your Migration To GitHub

Moving from a centralized version control system, such as Azure DevOps, to Git requires careful planning because Git stores information on file history and branches differently to support distributed development. Here are some best practices to ensure a successful migration:

Evaluate Your Tools and Processes

Take the opportunity to improve existing workflows as you set up new processes on GitHub. If you haven’t already, implement continuous integration and continuous delivery pipeline and automate the deployment process. Also, leverage GitHub’s branching model to facilitate a pull request-based code review workflow.

Select a Branching Strategy

Use short-lived topic branches, which allow developers to work close to the main branch and integrate the changes quickly to avoid merging issues. If your team has been using a long-lived feature branch strategy, ease the transition by first adopting feature flags to reduce the number of branches and simplify the migration.

Also, map legacy branches in Azure DevOps to the new branches in Git so everyone knows where they should commit new work.

Use GitHub Importing Tools

GitHub offers various ways to import your source code. You can use GitHub Importer to quickly and accurately import source code repositories, including commits and revision history, into GitHub. You can also import a Git repository using the command line if the existing code is hosted on a private network.

Maintain the Old Version Control System

Developers may still need to refer back to the Azure DevOps version control system during and after the migration, especially if you perform a tip migration. Doing so is particularly important in a highly regulated environment where you may need the version control history to meet legal and auditing requirements.

Set the old version control system to “read-only” after the migration and place breadcrumbs in Git to let users know how to access the old version control system.

Remove Binary Files and Tools

Because of how Git stores histories, developers should avoid adding binary files to a repository. When you migrate, take the opportunity to remove binaries from your codebase and exclude libraries, tools, and build output from your repositories. You can use package management systems like NuGet to manage dependencies.

Migrate the Code

Before performing the final migration, verify that all code files are transferred and confirm that users have the appropriate permissions to fetch and push. Also, ensure that all branches are available and builds are successful. Perform the migration at a time when few people are working—ideally between milestones to minimize disruptions.

Keep Track of Your Work No Matter Where You Work

Whether you decide to migrate to GitHub now, later, or never, keeping track of your time is key to improving your effectiveness and efficiency as a development team.

7pace allows developers to track time where they work—whether you’re using Azure DevOps or GitHub. You can associate your time spent with each work item or issue, generate real-time reports to ensure that you’re on track, and use the insights to create accurate estimates.

Try 7pace to see how you can manage your projects more effectively with a time-tracking solution built for developers.

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Turning a Timesuck Into Time Well Spent

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