From Slow to Swift: Improving Azure DevOps Pipeline Performance published 2/20/2023 | 4 min read

What is Azure DevOps Pipelines?

Azure DevOps Pipelines is a cloud-based continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) tool that helps teams automate the software development lifecycle from build to deployment. It provides a fully featured pipeline and release management system that allows developers to easily build, test, and deploy their applications to any platform or cloud.

You're mostly working in an enterprise

The reason why Azure DevOps Pipelines is being used widely in enterprises is that it provides a fully integrated platform for DevOps that supports continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment. It provides a highly scalable and flexible system that is easy to use, allowing teams to quickly and efficiently deploy applications to production with minimal downtime. In addition, it supports a wide range of programming languages, platforms, and cloud providers, which makes it an attractive option for teams with diverse technology stacks. With the ability to automate build and deployment processes, teams can save time and increase productivity while maintaining high-quality standards for their software.

There are many ways you can improve your Azure DevOps Pipeline performance!

1. Optimize pipeline structure

This includes minimizing the number of stages, jobs, tasks, and conditions in your pipeline. A good approach is to use multi-stage pipelines and leverage templates to reuse common tasks across pipelines. This can greatly reduce build times and improve performance.

2. Use parallelism

Using parallelism is a great way to speed up your Azure DevOps pipeline. By breaking down the pipeline into smaller parts, you can run them in parallel, which reduces the overall time taken to execute the pipeline. There are different ways to use parallelism in Azure DevOps, depending on the specific task you're trying to achieve.

One approach is to use parallel jobs, where you split the pipeline into multiple jobs and execute them concurrently. For example, you can run multiple unit tests in parallel, or build and publish multiple packages concurrently. Another approach is to use parallel tasks within a job. For example, if you have a job that requires several steps to be completed, you can break it down into smaller parallel steps that can be executed at the same time.

In addition, you can also use parallel deployments to deploy your application to multiple environments concurrently. This can be useful if you have several environments with similar configurations, as you can deploy them at the same time instead of waiting for each deployment to complete before starting the next one.

3. Cache dependencies

Caching dependencies such as npm, NuGet, or Maven packages can help to reduce the build time. This is especially useful when you have large dependencies that are downloaded repeatedly. Azure DevOps provides built-in caching options for some package managers, and you can also implement custom caching solutions.

4. Optimize scripts

The pipeline scripts can also impact the pipeline's performance. You can optimize the scripts by reducing the use of loops and optimizing queries to databases or APIs. For example, you can use REST APIs to query data more efficiently and avoid unnecessary calls.

5. Use faster agents

Choosing the right agent for your pipeline can also impact the pipeline's performance. You can use faster agents, such as self-hosted agents or Azure-hosted agents with faster hardware. Additionally, you can use agents in a specific region close to your application servers to reduce network latency.

6. Monitor pipeline performance

Finally, you should continuously monitor the pipeline's performance to identify bottlenecks and optimize accordingly. Azure DevOps provides built-in analytics and telemetry for pipelines that can be used to monitor performance and identify areas for improvement.


By following these tips and best practices, you can improve the performance of your Azure DevOps pipelines and deliver software faster and more reliably. Remember to continuously monitor and measure pipeline performance, and make adjustments as needed to optimize the development process. With these improvements, you can go from slow to swift and achieve success in your software delivery.

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