Why we use Git

Having all of our scripts and configurations in a single source code repository provides us with a single source of truth which is available to all team members. As we move towards having more systems built using Infrastructure as Code, this removes knowledge silos and reliance on single domain-experts. Everything being version controlled means that we have a full audit of changes; who made what change, when, and why. That means we can roll backwards and forwards in time to use scripts and configurations in different states.

On the Windows side, we initially used Microsoft’s Team Foundation source control, as part of Visual Studio Team Services, since this was used on a smaller project. We’d also used Subversion to manage configs on the Unix/Linux side of the estate. When expanding out the usage to a larger team of people, and for more systems, we felt that it made sense to migrate to Git for a number of reasons:

  • Git has excellent cross-platform support. You can use it with whichever editor/IDE you want on Windows, Linux, or Mac.
  • Git supports branching, which offers more flexibility for a diverse team working on different areas and merging into a single source control repository. It also allows us to ensure that anything going into the Master (or production) branch has passed tests.
  • Git is widely used in the community. We are increasingly finding community resources on GitHub, and we would aspire to contribute some of our work back to the community. It makes sense to be using the same tool.
  • The message we’re hearing from the DevOps community is “Use source control. Whatever source control you’ve got is fine, but if you don’t currently have any; use Git.”
  • Visual Studio Team Services is just as comfortable to use with Git as it is with TFS, if not more so.

Hosting our Git repository on Visual Studio Team Services offers a number of advantages:

  • When something is checked in to Git, we have VSTS set up to automatically trigger tests on everything. For example, as a bare minimum any PowerShell code needs to pass the PowerShell Script Analyser tests, and we are writing unit tests for specific PowerShell functions using Pester. If any of these fail, we don’t merge the changes into the Master code branch for production use.
  • Changes to code can be linked to Work Items on the VSTS Kanban board.
  • Microsoft’s Code Search extension in VSTS allows rich searching through everything in the repository.

In addition to our scripts and configurations, there are advantages using a version controlled repository for certain documents. By checking documents in to Git, we can see the history of edits, which may be important when it would help to know how a document and a configuration both looked at some point in the past. By having documents in a cloned Git repository, we also have access to them when network conditions may otherwise not allow.

This entry was posted in Automation, DevOps, PowerShell by Jonathan. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jonathan

Windows Server infrastructure administrator at Newcastle University since 1999. Microsoft MVP for Cloud and Datacenter Management (& previously for PowerShell). Member of the Microsoft Technical Community Council. Co-founder of the NEBytes user group. @jonoble on Twitter.

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