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How to Use Azure DevOps to Deploy to a Liquid Web VPS Remote Server

Posted on by Michael Pruitt
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Azure DevOps and CI/CD

Azure DevOps is a set of tools and services provided by Microsoft that helps developers and teams collaborate and automate the process of building, testing, and deploying software. One of the key features of Azure DevOps is its ability to support continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD), a software development practice that helps teams deliver code changes more frequently and with higher quality.

Note:
Microsoft Azure DevOps Starter simplifies remote deployments using Azure DevOps. This article intentionally does not address the use of Azure DevOps Starter as it will be retired on March 31, 2023.

What is Azure DevOps, and What are its Key Features?

DevOps is a software engineering culture and practices emphasizing collaboration, communication, and integration between software development and operations teams. Azure DevOps is a cloud-based platform that provides tools for software development teams to collaborate and manage their work. It includes source control, work item tracking, build and release management, and testing.

Some of the key features of Azure DevOps include:

  • Source Control: Azure DevOps provides built-in support for Git and Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC), both popular source control systems.
  • Work Item Tracking: Azure DevOps includes a built-in work item tracking system that allows developers to track and manage tasks, bugs, and user stories.
  • Build and Release Management: Azure DevOps includes a robust build and release management system that allows teams to build and deploy their code to various environments automatically.
  • Testing: Azure DevOps includes manual and automated testing features, such as manual test plans and cases, and an automated testing framework.
  • Integrations: Azure DevOps integrates with many other tools and services, such as Visual Studio, Slack, and Jira, making it easy to integrate into existing workflows.

How Can Azure DevOps Help You Automate Your CI/CD Process?

Azure DevOps provides a set of tools and services that can help teams automate their CI/CD process, which includes the following steps:

  • Build: Azure DevOps includes a build system that can automatically build and compile your code.
  • Test: Azure DevOps includes a testing framework that can automatically run unit tests, integration tests, and other types of tests on your code.
  • Deploy: Azure DevOps includes a release management system that can automatically deploy your code to various environments, such as test, staging, and production.

By automating these steps, teams can save time and ensure thorough testing of their code before deploying it to production.

What are Some Benefits of Using Azure DevOps for CI/CD?

There are several benefits of using Azure DevOps for CI/CD, including:

  • Faster delivery: By automating the build, test, and deploy process, teams can deliver code changes more quickly and with higher quality.
  • Reduced errors: By automating the testing process, teams can catch and fix errors before they make it to production, which can reduce the number of bugs and issues that users encounter.
  • Improved collaboration: Azure DevOps provides a suite of tools for teams to collaborate and manage their work, which can help improve communication and coordination.
  • Integration: Azure DevOps integrates with a wide range of other tools and services, which can help teams integrate it into their existing workflows.

How to use Azure DevOps to create a CI/CD pipeline

Azure DevOps is useful for creating a basic CI/CD pipeline. To accomplish this, you will need to:

  • Configure access to your code: To use Azure DevOps to create a CI/CD pipeline, you will need to configure access to your code repository. This can be done by connecting Azure DevOps to a source control system such as Git or Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC).
  • Choose a framework: Azure DevOps supports a variety of frameworks, such as .NET, Java, Python, and more. You will need to choose a framework that is appropriate for your project.
  • Configure Azure DevOps and an Azure subscription: Before using Azure DevOps to create a CI/CD pipeline, you will need an Azure subscription the you must configure Azure DevOps. This is done by signing in to Azure DevOps and creating a new project.
  • Commit changes to Liquid Web VPS: Once you have configured Azure DevOps, you can commit changes to your Liquid Web VPS repository. This will trigger the CI/CD pipeline, automatically building and deploying your code.
  • Examine the Azure Pipelines CI/CD pipeline: After you have committed changes to your Liquid Web VPS repository, you can examine the Azure Pipelines CI/CD pipeline to see the build and deployment status.
  • Clean up resources: Once your code is deployed, you can clean up resources that are no longer needed, such as test environments and build artifacts.

Create a CI/CD pipeline for Liquid Web VPS Remote Server repo using Azure DevOps

Step 1: Configure Access to Your Liquid Web Repo and Choose a Framework

To configure access to your local Liquid Web VPS git repo:

1. Sign in to your Azure DevOps account and create a new project.

2. In the project, navigate to the Repos section and select the option to import a repository.

3. Provide the necessary details for your Liquid Web VPS git repository, such as the repository URL and credentials. (ex.: https://my-lw-vps.com/repo.git or git@my-lw-vps.com:/home/my-lw-username/repo.git)

4. Choose a framework that is appropriate for your project. Azure DevOps supports a variety of frameworks, such as .NET, Java, Python, and more. 

Step 2: Configure Azure DevOps and an Azure Subscription

To configure Azure DevOps and an Azure subscription:

1. From your browser, sign in to your Azure organization using the address, https://dev.azure.com/{yourorganization}. Replace the {yourorganization} portion with your organization name.

2. Under Organization Settings, select Billing and then + New Azure subscription.

3. Once the subscription has been configured using Azure DevOps, the next step is to create an Azure Web App as the destination for deploying your code. 

4. In the Azure DevOps project, navigate to the Service connections and select the option to create a new service connection to your Azure subscription.

5. Provide the necessary details for your service connection, such as your subscription name and the Web App you created.

Step 3: Commit Changes to Azure DevOps Project and Automatically Deploy Them to Your Liquid Web VPS

Once you have configured access to your Liquid Web VPS repository and set up your CI/CD pipeline, you can start committing changes to your code and automatically deploying them to Azure.

To commit changes to your Liquid Web VPS and automatically deploy them to Azure:

1. Make changes to your code in your local repository.

2. Commit the changes to the local repository and push them to the remote Azure Repo.

3. The CI/CD pipeline will be triggered automatically and will build, test, and deploy your code to your Liquid Web VPS repository.

4. You can monitor the pipeline's progress and view the logs for any errors or issues.

By committing changes to your Azure DevOps project and automatically deploying them to your Liquid Web VPS using the CI/CD pipeline, you ensure your code is updated, and any errors or issues are caught and addressed quickly.

Step 4: Examine the Azure Pipelines CI/CD Pipeline

After creating a CI/CD pipeline and committing changes to your Liquid Web VPS repository, you can examine the pipeline to ensure it is working as expected.

To examine the Azure Pipelines CI/CD pipeline:

1. In your Azure DevOps project, navigate to the Pipelines section and select the pipeline associated with your Liquid Web VPS repository.

2. View the pipeline runs and check the status of the build, test, and deployment tasks.

3. You can also view the logs and artifacts of each task. This way, you can check for errors and issues that may have occurred during the pipeline run.

4. You can also view the pipeline run history to see the status of previous pipeline runs and identify any trends or patterns.

5. Examining the pipeline ensures that your code is being built, tested, and deployed correctly and that any issues are caught and addressed quickly.

Regularly monitoring the pipeline and checking the status of pipeline runs will help you catch any issues early on and resolve them before they become more significant problems.

Step 5: Clean Up Resources

It is essential to delete resources and app registrations that are no longer needed to avoid unnecessary charges.

1. Navigate to the Azure portal and check the resources created during the deployment process.

2. Identify resources no longer needed, such as test environments and build artifacts.

3. In the Azure portal, delete the unnecessary resources.

4. Repeat this process regularly to ensure that your resources are being used efficiently.

What Common Issues Can Occur During a CI/CD Process, and How Can They Be Resolved?

  • Deployment failures: If a deployment is failing, it could be due to issues with the environment, such as a lack of resources or a configuration issue. To resolve this issue, you can view the deployment logs to identify the specific error and address it in the environment.
  • Build failures: If a build is failing, it could be due to issues with the code, such as syntax errors or missing dependencies. To resolve this issue, you can view the build logs to identify the specific mistake and address it in your code.
  • Test failures: If tests fail, it could be due to issues with the test code, such as test data that is no longer valid or test cases that are no longer applicable. To resolve this issue, you can view the test logs to identify the specific error and update the test code accordingly.
  • Security vulnerabilities: Security vulnerabilities exist in all stages of the CI/CD pipeline, from development to deployment. It's essential to scan for vulnerabilities early in the pipeline and fix them as soon as possible to avoid a security breach.

These are just a few common issues that can occur during a CI/CD process, and many other problems can arise. You can ensure that your pipeline is running smoothly and that your code is being delivered with high quality and on time by simply monitoring your pipeline and addressing issues as soon as they occur.

Conclusion

Azure DevOps is a powerful tool that can help you automate your CI/CD process and deploy your code to a Liquid Web VPS remote server. With Azure DevOps, you can create a CI/CD pipeline that will easily build, test, and deploy your code. This article covered the basics of Azure DevOps and how it can help you automate your CI/CD process.

It's vital to keep in mind that while CI/CD pipelines can help streamline the software development process, some common issues can occur. By monitoring your pipeline and addressing problems as soon as they occur, you can ensure that your pipeline is running smoothly and that your code is being delivered with high quality and on time.

If you have any questions or need help getting started, Azure has a wealth of documentation and tutorials for understanding how to use Azure DevOps to its full potential and make the most out of your CI/CD pipeline. You can quickly set up your Liquid Web VPS Hosting by contacting our sales team for assistance.

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About the Author: Michael Pruitt

Michael Pruitt is a Support Systems Administrator for Nexcess. He brings over a decade of experience to his current role. When not working, Michael can be found officiating roller derby bouts.

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