DevOps as a Service (DaaS) enables teams to centralize their tooling and workflow into one unified solution. This solution typically contains all necessary DevOps pipeline features, which replace legacy tooling. This article explains how DaaS works, including pros and cons, and an example showing how to migrate from Azure DevOps Server to Azure DevOps in the cloud.
What Is DaaS?
DaaS is a managed, cloud-based service that provides a unified DevOps toolchain. All or most of the tools necessary for a continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline are collected in a single platform. This platform is then provided to teams with the support of dedicated DevOps professionals.
The goal of DaaS is to enable organizations to focus on developing and delivering software without having to worry about managing or maintaining tools. It is designed to abstract away the intricacies of tool integration, deployment and maintenance. This enables teams to focus on higher-level tasks, and outsources significant manual effort.
DaaS can provide small to medium businesses with enterprise-level infrastructure and tooling without needing to hire more staff or build extensive expertise. Instead, these businesses can rely on the experience of DaaS providers to create, deploy and optimize a pipeline for them. These pipelines are created to be intuitive and to facilitate the smooth collaboration of all team members.
DaaS Pros and Cons
If you are looking to migrate your development processes to the cloud, there are several migration strategies you can use. One involves moving existing tools to cloud resources as microservices, which you must then integrate. The other may involve scraping existing tools and adopting a DaaS. Whichever the case, you need to understand the pros and cons of DaaS before you can make the right choice for your organization.
Pros of DaaS:
- Managed services provide access to dedicated DevOps engineers for support, expertise and optimization.
- Provider teams have experience across a range of organizations and industries, and can customize solutions for you based on that experience.
- DaaS teams can provide mentorship and guidance which helps your team improve their own skills. This enables teams to learn from the mistakes of others and prevents repeating mistakes.
Cons of DaaS:
- The importance of pipeline management and availability requires you to partner with a service provider that is reliable and can ensure zero to minimal interruptions.
- Outsourcing infrastructure demands and providing access to source code and other sensitive data and systems. This can create a security risk that you are not in control of.
- DevOps teams still need to understand the tools being implemented and the basics of how to manage and use those tools.
- Managed services often cost more than self-implemented pipelines and the costs may not be offset by an in-house reduction in IT responsibilities.
DevOps Cloud Migration Example: Migrating from Azure DevOps Server to Azure DevOps in the Cloud
Azure DevOps Server, formerly called Team Foundation Server (TFS), is a server hosted on-premises that enables you to build DevOps pipelines. While based on similar services to those offered in the Azure cloud, it requires you to manage and maintain your infrastructure and provides limited support for your configurations.
By migrating to the cloud, you can outsource many of your infrastructure responsibilities, focusing instead on producing quality software. Azure DevOps Services are an example of partially managed DaaS that you can use.
Below is a brief guide for how to transfer your data and projects from DevOps Server. This guide is adapted from the full DaaS guide provided by Microsoft.
- Preparation: Planning your migration requires taking an inventory of how you are currently using your tools, what data you need to migrate and how migration will impact your productivity. You also need to determine if you need additional licenses. For this step and those to follow, there is a tool you can use to assist you in the process.
- Configure Your Prerequisites: Before you can migrate your pipeline data you need to set-up a few prerequisites. You should synchronize your local Active Directory (AD) with Azure AD for authentication. You also need to set up security and compliance measures to ensure that your infrastructure remains secure.
- Update and Validate Your Server: Check to make sure that your server is up-to-date with the latest version of Azure DevOps Server. If you are still using TFS, this may mean a series of updates. Once you’re fully updated, you can use the migrator tool to validate the collection databases of each of your projects. If any errors are found, you need to fix those issues during this phase.
- Ready Your Cloud Resources: After all errors are eliminated, you can begin preparing your cloud resources for import. This requires assigning, activating and mapping your DevOps Services subscriptions. You also need to generate a template for your import settings through the migrator tool. These settings should be saved in your Import Specification file. Finally, you need to create a container instance in the data center you want to use your DevOps Services in.
- Migrate Your Pipelines: After all of your preparatory and planning stages are done, you are ready to migrate your workloads. During this phase, you should first run a test import to ensure that all configurations are correct and that the import process goes smoothly with no data corruption. This helps ensure that you don’t create unnecessary downtime.
Provided your test run goes smoothly, you can then proceed to import your data. Once uploaded, you need to assign your organization name, set up billing and redirect your on-premises build servers to the new cloud resources. After you are done, you can resume operations and begin operating your pipelines directly from the cloud.
DaaS is typically not just a centralized platform, but also a managed service that comes with certain levels of support and optimization. If you are short on DevOps talent and tooling, DaaS can fill this gap or even help you and your team learn DevOps skills.
However, since you are giving the DaaS of your choice control over your pipeline, you need to investigate and research. You will be giving your DaaS access to source code and security. Before signing a contract, make sure this service is trustworthy and meets your standards.