Delivering a compelling DevOps demo

Jonathan Gardner - connect on Twitter jgardner04

Prior to working at Microsoft, I worked with partners as a technical sales resource. One of my responsibilities - a challenging one - was to create and deliver a demo that was compelling to both business and IT leadership. I was constantly creating demo scripts and environments to meet the needs of the sales process. Then Microsoft released the Customer Immersion Experience (CIE), a program that showcases business value through integrated tools and hands-on opportunities based on a customer's specific industry scenario. I had an Office 365 environment that was designed to sell the front end and also allowed access to the management backend for a deeper dive into how it worked. I could spin up this environment the day before meeting with a customer, and it was one of the most powerful sales tools I had.

When working with partners, I am always interested in finding new ways to replicate that experience. Earlier this year, I published a series of blog posts for partners that explain the main principles of DevOps:

These posts don't discuss specific technologies, though, and I'm often asked about DevOps tooling, how to demonstrate this functionality to customers, and companies that already use open source technologies. In this post, I'll talk about resources for partners around DevOps and Visual Studio Team Services.

DevOps with Parts Unlimited

There's a popular novel about IT and DevOps called The Phoenix Project. The novel, written by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford, details the DevOps journey of a fictional company called Parts Unlimited.

We have used this theme - the Parts Unlimited DevOps journey - to create a hands-on lab that that helps answer the tooling question. The Parts Unlimited Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) application includes both Microsoft and open source technologies.


  • Front end service - runs Apache Tomcat and talks to order service
  • Order and Integration service - runs Java and calls MongoDB
  • Integration service - present to integrate with Parts Unlimited Website
  • Includes a Dockerfile and sample publishing profile to publish to a Docker container
  • Includes Azure RM JSON templates and PowerShell automation scripts to easily build and provision your environment

Advanced topics

  • Microservices using Azure Container Service or Docker Swarm
  • Automated security
  • Testing in production
  • A/B testing
  • Scaling
  • Fault injection

The documentation on the Parts Unlimited MRP site takes you through the details for setting up the environment, and the 30-minute video below is helpful, too.

#TalkDevOps: Deploying a Java application with Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS)

Watch this video online

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