Test Azure deployments in your VSTS Release Pipeline

pesterWhen deploying Azure Resources you want to know if all resources are deployed as expected. To check if the resources are correctly deployed you can open the portal and visually inspect the deployed recourses or you can also run some powershell to validate the resources. Why not automate these checks and add them to your deployment pipeline. To validate the resources, I extended the Pester Build Task to connect to Azure. A test that checks the deployment of a VM can look like:

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Versioning ARM Template deployments

Getting control over your deployment pipelines to Microsoft Azure Resources Manager with VSTS

When deploying resources on Azure with Azure Resource Manager you want to be in control of which resources are deployed and control their life span. To get the control you need to do deploy in a tested, standardized and reusable manner. This can be done by managing your resource creation as Infrastructure as Code.
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Use VSTS to deploy Functions as Infrastructure as Code

Create a VSTS release pipeline for Azure Functions

Azure Functions enable you to easily run small pieces of code in the cloud. To do this right, you need to setup continuous delivery of the infrastructure and the code involved. Otherwise you will end with an uncontrolled environment where nobody knows what code is actually running. In this blog post I’ll describe how to setup a deployment pipeline for Functions with VSTS. This will enable you to deploy Functions as Infrastructure as Code.

vstsfunctionpipelineFrom an deployment perspective an Azure Function contains of two parts:

  1. Azure infrastructure
  2. Function code

Both the ARM template and the code can be deployed from VSTS. By doing this, you can manage functions like any other Azure resource.
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Lock Azure resources to prevent accidental deletion

How a lock can prevent user from accidental deletion of a resource.

In some cases you want to protect critical resources from accidental deletion. Some examples are a storage account with source data for processing, a Key Vault with disk encryption keys, or another key component in your infrastructure. When losing some resources that are key in your infrastructure, recovery can be dramatic. Resource Manager locks will enable you to protect these critical resources from deletion.

Resource Manager locks
Resource Manager locks apply to the management function of the locked resources. The locks do not have any impact the normal functions of the resource. You have two possible types of locks on a resource:

Locking down a resource can save your contributors from accidently delete a critical resources. An ‘oeps… I deleted the wrong resources’ moment should be a thing of the past.

CannotDelete means authorized users can still read and modify a resource, but they can’t delete the resource.
ReadOnly means authorized users can read a resource, but they can’t delete or update the resource. Applying this lock is similar to restricting all authorized users to the permissions granted by the Reader role.
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Infrastructure as Code and VSTS

Written by Pascal Naber and Peter Groenewegen for the Xpirit Magazine

Your team is in the process of developing a new application feature, and the infrastructure has to be adapted. The first step is to change a file in your source control system that describes your infrastructure. When the changed definition file is saved in your source control system it triggers a new build and release. Your new infrastructure is deployed to your test environment, and the whole process to get the new infrastructure deployed took minutes while you only changed a definition file and you did not touch the infrastructure itself.
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Keep your ARM deployment secrets in the Key Vault

Keep your deployment secret secure in the key vault when using ARM templates to deploy into Azure

When creating new resource in Azure that have secrets like passwords or ssl certificates you can securely save them in the Key Vault and get them from the Key Vault when you deploy. Only the people who need access to the secrets can read and write them to the Key Vault. In a infrastructure as code scenario the secrets are supplied when deploying your templates to Azure. The code it self will be free of secrets.
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Deploy a Marketplace Linux VM with disk encryption using ARM templates

Protect your data at rest with disk encryption on Linux VMs and deploying them as Infrastructure as Code.

disk-encryption-vm-on-azure
VM with disk encryption

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