GitLab vs Azure DevOps – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons)

GitLab vs Azure DevOps – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons). So if you’re new to the tech space, and you’ve heard strange terms like GitLab and Azure DevOps being being used and you are not sure what they mean? Or maybe you’re not new, yet you still don’t understand what these terms are all about in detail. 

Allow me to walk you through how GitLab and Azure DevOps differ, along with the pros and cons of using each of them. However, to fully understand the relationship between both concepts, we must discuss them individually before comparing and contrasting them. 

Let’s start with GitLab vs Azure DevOps – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons).

What is GitLab?

First of all GitLab is a DevOps software platform created by Ukrainian developer Dmitriy Zaporozhets and Dutch developer Sytse Sijbrandij, released in October 2011. The open source software project combines the ability to develop, secure and operate software in a single application. Very popular software package implemented by more than 50,000 organizations. 

Over time, GitLab has improved to the point where it can now manage tens of thousands of users on a single server. Many of these servers are in an active group. Also GitLab is being updated every 22nd day of the month since it’s release. 

Besides hosting your code, GitLab also offers other features for managing the software development lifecycle. These features include: 

Features of GitLab

  • Hosting software projects for free.
  • Version control and storage management. 
  • Providing a Continuous Integration (CI) system for handling projects.

Generally GitLab gives you total control over your projects or repositories and lets you choose whether they should be public or private. The stable version of GitLab launched on January 22, 2018, is version 10.4 and released under an MIT license.

Pros of GitLab


Usability of GitLab provides an excellent interface for doing code reviews between two collaborators.

Steady Development And Customer Responsive

Development of GitLab is based on open source software, so you can benefit from all the improvements from thousands of developers worldwide. Constant updates, adding code and improving it. You can also contribute your ideas yourself.

DevOps Capabilities

Setting up CI/CD (continuous integration and continuous deployment) and then integrating it with other technologies is significantly simpler. Also, GitLab is an excellent tool for pipelines and is also very stable. 

Security and Transparency

Security of GitLab gives you visibility and traceability so you can know who modified what, where, and when within all DevOps functions. Also allows you to automate your security and compliance standards.


You can integrate GitLab into your digital infrastructure however and wherever you want.

Cons of GitLab

Unsupported Development of iOS Applications

Sadly GitLab does not have a feature to build iOS applications directly. iOS application build requires Mac machines and they are not provided by GitLab in their cloud.

Limited Integration

With GitLab, it is difficult to perform simple integration with project management tools like Jira and Kubernetes.


Well Gitlab does not integrate enough features into application security. Also, it has no published IP list for whitelisting

Now it is time with GitLab vs Azure DevOps – What’s the Difference? to learn about Azure DevOps.

What is Azure DevOps?

Second tool in this article is Azure DevOps. A sophisticated, versatile platform that launched in October 2018 and currently manages over 80,000 users at Microsoft. It is also a software-as-a-service (SaaS) program that offers an extensive collection of toolchains for organizing and executing software development projects. Basically it enables organizations to produce and enhance products faster than traditional software development methods.

What’s more with Azure DevOps you can create and deploy software, developers, project managers and contributors to work collaboratively under the umbrella of Azure DevOps. Altogether it is a great fit for users and a feasible solution for many organizations due to the versatility of the supported languages, platforms and cloud vendors. Another aspect of this tool is that it is a superb choice for coordinating a DevOps toolchain as it also integrates with the majority of top tools on the market.

However, Azure DevOps comes in two forms: the Azure DevOps Server(on-premises) and Azure DevOps Services(cloud based or online).

Previously known as the Team Foundation Server (TFS), the former is a DevOps server solution for on premise deployments. Users can install it in any environment, and it also comes with all the tools available in the cloud based DevOps service to power any DevOps channel. 

Meanwhile, the latter is a cloud service supported by the Microsoft Azure cloud platform and was formerly known as Visual Studio Online. Altogether it incorporates the latest features and also employs, with minimal adjustments, the same code as Azure DevOps on-premises version.

Azure DevOps Features

Pros of Azure DevOps

Easy Usage

Certainly Azure DevOps is easy to use and offers fast and stable performance that saves time. Let’s not forget it also has remarkable automation tools and it’s installation is straightforward. 

User History

User history can be provided by Azure DevOps. You can view a list of the users in your organization as well as their access level information via the online portal.

Dashboard Availability

Inbuilt Power BI, so it incorporates dashboard capabilities. As a result, you can easily navigate to various project sections, build and manage dashboards and set dashboard widgets using the DevOps dashboard functionality.

Suitable for Work Planning

Easily create a few different sorts of work items to track features, requirements, user stories, tasks, issues with the help of Azure DevOps tools. Furthermore, for planning purposes, you can use several types of backlogs and boards to support the major agile methods.

Code Collaboration

Tools of Azure DevOps allow teams to collaborate across all Azure DevOps services and operations. 

Quick Access to New Features

Equally DevOps users have access to new features every three weeks. Therefore, there’s no need to look around and wonder what’s new.

Maximum Security

Supreme protection is offered to prevent from hackers or cyber intruders. Accounts gain access to Azure DevOps by authenticating their security credentials and granting permission to access a feature or function.

Cons of Azure DevOps

Optimization Issues

Unfortunately the optimization feature is not compatible and project management is not enhanced. 

User Interface Difficulty

With the User Interface it can be challenging for newcomers to navigate their way around Azure DevOps. Especially with so many filters and options to utilize from and the new user may find it difficult in adapting. 

Only Compatible with Few Softwares

Any agent other than Microsoft Windows is unstable in systems. Integrates a few required software.

Set up Difficulty

Because of the number of metrics it records regarding projects, builds, test and deployment and the Azure DevOps is difficult to set up. Managing the monitoring of these key metrics requires a thorough understanding of Microsoft Azure DevOps.

It’s time for comparison, so GitLab vs Azure DevOps – What’s the Difference?

Differences between GitLab and Azure DevOps

Both GitLab and Azure DevOps are largely categorized as “Code Collaboration & Version Control” and “Project Management” technologies. Do GitLab and Azure DevOps seem similar? Yes but a closer inspection may reveal that GitLab has more important capabilities than Azure DevOps. Such features are remote management and other project arrangements. Primarily Azure DevOps is designed for closed source projects, whereas GitLab is designed for open source projects.

Furthermore let’s compare GitLab and Azure DevOps in these categories; 

Effortless Deployment


The two software are relatively simple to deploy. On one hand Gitlab is mostly used in the cloud and is known to be extremely fast. Only requires a few minutes to deploy even while it is being installed. 

Azure DevOps

Similarly, Azure DevOps is pretty straightforward. Most users report that the deployment is very simple. However, they experienced some challenges when transferring workloads to the cloud.



Cost with Gitlab offers you 3 basic plans. Firstly, it has a free plan that comes with essential features that are beneficial to individual users. The second plan is a subscription plan that comes with more features that you can use to enhance team coordination as well as productivity. Lastly, it has a subscription plan with even more features that focus on security, compliance and planning. Overall though users find the subscription plans to be expensive.

Azure DevOps

Whilst Azure DevOps is not the cheapest product in its class, the pricing is fairly reasonable for the capabilities you receive. Hence it offers free plans as well as subscription plans. Most of the subscription plans come with a “start free” option, so you can start using the service for free and pay later on.



Here the simple platform integration and user interface of GitLab are some of its strongest advantages. An additional benefit is an all inclusive product. 

Azure DevOps

For Azure DevOps, users enjoy that Microsoft always introduces new features. One of the best attributes is the integration of Azure DevOps with Jenkins and the built in power BI. Also, users value the ease of use of Azure DevOps for Microsoft users. But its API abilities are limited.

Support and Help Service


Microsoft has a large knowledge base and top notch support. They go above and beyond for their customers. On the other hand, the response time for Gitlab assistance has to be increased. 

Azure DevOps

From the above comparison, given Azure DevOps offers greater support and is more affordable than Gitlab. Furthermore Microsoft Azure DevOps appears to be the superior option, barring any unforeseen circumstances.



More than 25,000 users can be accommodated on a single GitLab server. Also, GitLab is used by about 10,302 companies and they are mostly found in Computer Software industries in the United States. 

Azure DevOps

Microsoft, Mews, Accurx, and 357 other organizations are said to employ Azure DevOps in their tech stacks. For instance Microsoft Azure is the cloud platform of choice for about 70% of businesses worldwide.



Secure authentication and authorization, the business team typically installs the GitLab on-premise. After which, the team connects it to both LDAP and Active Directory servers. 

Azure DevOps

To authenticate your app for a user and produce an access token, Azure DevOps Services utilizes the OAuth 2.0 protocol. The best authentication methods for on-premises users to employ are Windows Auth, Personal Access Tokens (PATs), and Client Libraries

Thank you for reading GitLab vs Azure DevOps – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons) until the very end. Let us conclude. 

GitLab vs Azure DevOps - What's the Difference? Conclusion

DevOps Software

After a deeper analysis, Azure DevOps is similar to GitLab and is less expensive. For that reason it also offers more significant functionality than Azure DevOps, like project schemes, secret management, AWS support, IDE in the browser and Google Cloud server support tools.

The primary distinction is that Azure DevOps only appears to be less expensive while binding the customer to the whole Microsoft ecosystem. When comparing the two products, it appears like Microsoft is making an effort to conceal the higher fees and is less open than GitLab. This implies that the true cost can be more than what was calculated through this comparison.

In addition, Azure DevOps and GitLab have a repository with hosting facilities for continuous integration and deployment for multiple staging DevOps lifecycles.

The choice is yours. For  recommendation to pick a given tool you have to analyse the needs of specific projects and companies structure and size.

Take a look at more GitLab content here

Avatar for Kamso Oguejiofor
Kamso Oguejiofor

Kamso is a mechanical engineer and writer with a strong interest in anything related to technology. He has over 2 years of experience writing on topics like cyber security, network security, and information security. When he’s not studying or writing, he likes to play basketball, work out, and binge watch anime and drama series.

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