Azure DevOps Server 2019 Nears Final Release

Microsoft's Azure DevOps Server 2019 product, which succeeds Team Foundation Server 2018, is now available as Release Candidate 2 (RC2).

RC2 marks the product's last release before becoming production-ready, according to Microsoft's announcement on Tuesday.

Organizations would typically use Azure DevOps Server 2019 for developer team collaborations, particularly when there's a need to have the server deployed locally, although it's possible to run the server on Azure infrastructure, too. Microsoft also offers its Azure DevOps service, a rebranding of Visual Studio Team Services, which provides the same developer team collaboration service but it's hosted from Microsoft's Azure datacenters.

One difference between Azure DevOps Server 2019 and the earlier Team Foundation Server releases is that Azure DevOps Server 2019 doesn't support integration with SharePoint, according to a Microsoft requirements document. Azure DevOps Server 2019 also has a dependency on SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 1 or SQL Server 2017, or it'll work with the Azure SQL service in a "hybrid" configuration. While users can test running Azure DevOps Server 2019 on a recent Windows 10 client operating system version, running it for production use will require using Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2016 or Windows Server 2019.

Microsoft is promising the ability to directly upgrade from Team Foundation Server 2012 or newer versions to the new Azure DevOps Server 2019 product, according to an earlier Microsoft blog post on RC1:

If you are able to run TFS 2018 you can easily upgrade to Azure DevOps Server, as we will continue all operating systems and SQL Server support in this release. A direct upgrade to Azure DevOps Server is supported from any version of TFS, which includes Team Foundation Server 2012 and newer.

Azure DevOps Server 2019 includes support for Azure Pipelines, a continuous integration/continuous development service that "works with any language, platform and cloud," according to a Microsoft blog description. Project tracking happens via the Azure Boards service, which enables Kanban boards and team dashboards. The Azure Artifacts component provides support for various package feeds. There's integration with Git repos via the Azure Repos service. Microsoft also provides a testing toolkit with its Azure Test Plans component.

With RC2, Microsoft now permits integration between Azure Boards and GitHub Enterprise repositories. Microsoft also added the ability to build YAML-based pipelines for more readable configuration files. RC2 also adds the ability to create "draft pull requests."

Microsoft offers free and paid extensions to Azure DevOps Server, while other extensions come with Visual Studio Enterprise subscription plans, according to Microsoft's pricing page. Microsoft's licensing for Azure DevOps Server is based on a combination of server charges and charges for Client Access Licenses for individual "stakeholder" access, which gets tallied on a month-to-month basis. Organizations need to buy "at least one Visual Studio subscription for the server license," according to the pricing page.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.