Jan 21, 2021

Azure DevOps vs. GitHub Enterprise: Making Your Decision

Mirza Javed

Mirza Javed

Azure DevOps vs. GitHub Enterprise: Making Your Decision

Recently, many companies have scaled their operations team to integrate DevOps automation in both large enterprises and web-native organizations. This trend has only accelerated as more DevOps offerings become available from tech giants such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. According to a recently published report by Allied Market Research, the global DevOps market generated $2.9 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $9.40 billion by 2023. Software teams are expected to become more agile, which requires collaboration between the development and operations teams. Collaboration helps IT align the strategic needs of the business with higher levels of innovation and increased responsiveness, while also modernizing the portfolio to reduce business risk associated with running technology that is supported by an aging workforce.

Microsoft, with its offerings, finds itself in a unique position. After purchasing GitHub, it now offers two distinct DevOps solutions in both Azure DevOps and GitHub Enterprise. Both Azure DevOps and GitHub Enterprise offer similar features that are very mature and very popular. The challenge, however, is which one to choose, and the pros and cons of using one over the other.

Open Source

While Microsoft has traditionally focused on closed-source software development, it has more recently embraced the open-source community. The Azure DevOps platform caters to Microsoft’s traditional closed-source customer base.

GitHub and now GitHub Enterprise, on the other hand, have been the go-to place for open-source communities and boasts the largest developer community in existence with over 56 million developers, over 3 million organizations, and over 100 million repositories.

Azure DevOps & GitHub Enterprise Maturity

First known as Visual Studio Online and then as Visual Studio Team Services, Azure DevOps has been around for a very long time and is mature and feature-rich with enterprise tooling. However, this rebranding strategy has been more than just that. One of the fundamental changes Microsoft made was breaking out individual Azure DevOps services such as Azure Pipelines, Azure Repos, and Azure Artifacts. Azure DevOps gives organizations the flexibility to leverage these services or integrate with alternatives such as Bitbucket and JFrog Artifactory.

While GitHub has been around for a while, the GitHub Enterprise offering is still relatively new and unproven. GitHub Enterprise’s popularity stems from Git, which is a massively popular and competent distributed version control system. Besides being described as a platform for social coding it has also been touted as easy to use and has the potential for future improvement.

Azure DevOps & GitHub Enterprise Features & Costs

Azure DevOps has per-user licenses available for purchase. The basic plan is free for the first five users and then costs $6 per user per month after that. To add the Azure Test Plans service, the price goes significantly higher to $52 per user per month.

Some of the products available in Azure DevOps include:     

  • Azure Boards  

  • Azure Pipelines     

  • Azure Repos      

  • Azure Artifacts    

  • And more

GitHub Enterprise, on the other hand, is much more affordable at $21 per user per month.

Features that are available with GitHub include:

  • Actions

  • Projects

  • Code management with private and public repositories

  • Code reviews and pull requests

  • And more

GitHub has a relatively new feature called “Actions,” which can automate, customize, and execute your software development flows, including setting up a continuous improvement (CI) process. Azure DevOps features “Pipelines” a mature and fully featured service to handle both CI and continuous development (CD). A lot of the GitHub Actions is built on the same platform as Azure DevOps.

Another important ingredient of DevOps is effective project management. GitHub Project is a lesser-known part of GitHub offering a good project management platform. The Azure Boards instead has its roots in Team Foundation Service and is a very mature product. It also boosts over 1,000 extensions for integrating with almost any other necessary system.

Final Thoughts

So which one should you use? It really varies. GitHub can be a service for hosting any kind of code. It’s affordable and widely used for open-source projects boasting the largest developer community in the world.

For closed-source, CI/CD software development, Azure DevOps is the best fit. It is the go-to tool for many developers who are not only familiar with Team Foundation Service and Visual Studio Team Services, but also prefer the robust application lifecycle management tools ideal for Microsoft-centric shops and Azure-hosted applications.

However, if GitHub Enterprise ever matures to include robust CI/CD and application lifecycle management features it will be an undeniably compelling and dominant offering.  

Interested in building or optimizing a software development pipeline to enable you to quickly respond to the ever-changing demands of the marketplace? Reach out to us at

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