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GitHub vs. Azure DevOps: which Microsoft tool should you choose?

GitHub and Azure DevOps are two powerful and popular Microsoft developer tools. Which one fits your organization best?

Reading time 5 minutes. Published: 24 May 2022

Microsoft has had Azure DevOps as a development platform for some time (taking the history of Microsoft TFS and Visual Studio with it). With the purchase of GitHub in 2018, Microsoft now has two powerful and popular developer tools.

When Microsoft acquired GitHub in 2018, it immediately went to work on adding integration features that allow Azure DevOps users to link to GitHub. The two tools integrate seamlessly, but many users still prefer one or the other.

There is no single answer to the question of which platform is better. It depends entirely on the needs of your organization. We've written before about Azure DevOps’ and have developed the  Azure DevOps Starter Guide. In this article, we dive deeper into GitHub and compare this tool to Azure DevOps so that you can make the best choice for your organization.


What is GitHub?

GitHub is a well-known open-source development platform and has been the darling of many developers for years. Git is a version control system, and Hub represents the open-source sharing of Git repositories with the developer community.

GitHub and Azure DevOps has many similar functionalities these days. In both tools, you can manage projects, work together on code, and use CI/CD workflows (Azure DevOps Pipelines or GitHub Actions).

The most significant difference is that compared to GitHub, Azure DevOps is considered more of a project management tool for ‘closed’ projects within an organization. This is why many larger organizations opt for Azure DevOps.


GitHub Enterprise

But know this: there is also such a thing as GitHub Enterprise, designed to meet the requirements of organizations looking for enterprise-level collaboration, security, and management.

This allows GitHub and Azure DevOps to be used as a development platform within an organization. So with closed projects that authorized users can only access.


Azure DevOps vs. GitHub

To choose between Azure DevOps and GitHub or know how to combine the best of both, you need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each tool. And you will need to compare these to your organization's needs, goals, and workflows.

Since Microsoft has invested heavily to make Azure DevOps functionality possible in GitHub, the differences are slight. Below we list the most important ones:


The benefits of Azure DevOps


1. Project management in Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps is more mature when it comes to project management for enterprises. Does your organization need an agile project management system like Scrum or Kanban? Then Azure Boards, part of Azure DevOps, is an indispensable tool for your organization.

You can then choose to work entirely with Azure DevOps. But do you prefer GitHub? Then you can also integrate Azure Boards with GitHub to combine the best of both worlds.

2. Workflow development in Azure DevOps

Another big advantage of Azure DevOps over GitHub is the visual builder of the workflow. Developers can configure tasks with an easy-to-use UI editor and drag them into the pipeline. At GitHub, every pipeline must be developed with YAML code.


The benefits of Github


1. GitHub community & support

For the learning curve of your developer team, GitHub is a user-friendly platform. Most developers master GitHub as a work environment faster than Azure DevOps. In addition - when you use GitHub as an open-source platform - you have access to an extensive social network of developers with the corresponding support. And with GitHub Learning Lab, your developers can learn new skills in an accessible way.

2. GitHub vs. Azure DevOps pricing

All open-source projects with public repositories can be hosted for free within GitHub. If you use private repositories or GitHub Enterprise, as with Azure DevOps, you pay a per-user license.

3. GitHub security features

Organizations are now placing a strong emphasis on security. In this, GitHub has the edge over Azure DevOps. GitHub (the open-source platform) has fully integrated security features because you are using public repositories. For example, your code is scanned for vulnerabilities and errors and keys and passwords that should not be shared with others.

If you want to use GitHub Enterprise, you can purchase an additional license for these Advanced Security  features. And with that, GitHub Enterprise is again on par with Azure DevOps because you also need to purchase extensions for this extra security within this environment.


Need advice on GitHub or Azure DevOps for your organization?

As you have read, the differences between Azure DevOps and GitHub are negligible. After all, both tools are owned by Microsoft, and the functionalities are almost the same. 


DevOps Workshop at Intercept

Want to know all the ins and outs of Azure DevOps? Then visit our free workshop: Azure DevOps.