October 10, 2016

DevOps Digest 202: Setting Up Your Environment for Success



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It’s time for us to start setting up. We need to provision some hardware to receive the software essential to building out our DevOps pipeline. We’ve created a single, virtual machine (VM) with Windows 2012 Server. Its network name is DevOps with a single user named Perforce.

Version Control

We’re also going to need to build a sample application, so the first tool we’re going to want is a version control system (VCS). Unsurprisingly, we’ll choose the Helix Versioning Engine, leveraging its DVCS capabilities. Fortunately, installing the Perforce Helix Server is very simple. Get complete instructions here.

Development Environment

The next thing we’re going to need for our sample application is a development environment. Let’s choose the community edition of Visual Studio 2015 (VS2015).

To be clear, you wouldn’t normally install everything on a server machine, but we’re keeping it all on a single VM for simplicity. More typically, you’d install only the build tools on build machines and include the development environment on developers’ machines.

Installing everything on the server gives us access to the build tools where we need them, and it also gives us the IDE to do the coding for our project. With that in mind, let’s wrangle those bits into place. Get the complete VS2015 installation instructions here.

P4VS Plugin

Helix offers a broad range of client applications and tools, including a plugin built for VS2015, known as P4VS. Developers who prefer the Helix Visual Client or command line can use those, but P4VS integrates deeply with VS2015, automatically handling the most common versioning functions.

P4VS tracks files added and deleted from a project, provides the ability to view history, allows reverting mistakes, displays file differences. Also, users can submit new work directly from the IDE. Developers who prefer minimal interaction with their version control system, appreciate how it streamlines activities, allowing them to focus on their work.

Get the complete P4VS installation instructions here.

Continuous Integration

There are a number of different tools available, both free and commercial, that tackle the CI process. We’ll go with Jenkins because it’s widely used, broadly supported, and enjoys a large suite of plugins to customize aspects of its operation. Jenkins is a web application, so we’ll also need a web server.

Although it adds to our work as we build out a DevOps pipeline, Windows Server still doesn’t include a web server as part of its default install at the time of this issue. So we need to configure our VM with a web server, Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS) in this case.

This used to be trickier, but the process has mercifully been simplified in recent years. Get step-by-step setup instructions for the web server and Jenkins here.

At this point, we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and start coding. Alas, that is a job for our next issue. So get ready and stay tuned for what’s next in our automation adventures.

You Ask, We Answer

As previously mentioned, this is your roadmap to creating a successful DevOps pipeline. Don’t understand something? Just ask. Need to dive a little deeper? Send an email to [email protected] with your questions. Then, stay tuned for a live Q&A webinar at the end of this series.


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Catch up on DevOps Digest:

DevOps Digest 201: Building a Modern Web Application Using Version Control

DevOps Digest 103: Starting Our Journey

DevOps Digest 102: DevOps Past and Present

DevOps Digest 101: Charting the Course