Eugene  Lockman

Eugene Lockman


Create and Set up Azure DevOps Pipelines Agent

In the process of learning Azure DevOps, you’ll face numerous challenges, but the most sophisticated of them is setting up the CI Pipeline to work appropriately.

The pivotal point is the Azure Pipelines Agent that establishes and monitors connection with the machine running the DevOps CI Pipeline. Though it is a regular practice, the procedure has its peculiarities. The current article will focus on them and explain how to choose the CI Pipeline agent and how to configure it correctly.

Have a look at the figure below. It demonstrates the interrelations between the Azure CI Pipeline workflow, the Microsoft-hosted agent, and a self-hosted agent.

You need to set up the pipeline to work in an operating environment, where the Microsoft-hosted agent and a self-hosted agent manage the execution of the tasks.

Note that the operating environment differs depending on the agent you use.

  • The MS-Agent executes in the ready-made operating environments available in Azure Windows, Ubuntu, and macOS. They are provided as SaaS, and you can deploy these environments to Azure easily. Each time you run a pipeline you have a virtual machine in the cloud.
  • A self-hosted agent executes in the on-premise environment (your machine or a virtual machine).

These are the most significant differences, but there are more of them. Let’s consider the distinction features more precisely.


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Create and Set up Azure DevOps Pipelines Agent
Noah  Rowe

Noah Rowe


Azure DevOps Pipelines: Multi-Stage Pipelines

The last couple of posts have been dealing with Release managed from the Releases area under Azure Pipelines. This week we are going to take what we were doing in that separate area of Azure DevOps and instead make it part of the YAML that currently builds our application. If you need some background on how the project got to this point check out the following posts.

Getting Started with Azure DevOps

Pipeline Creation in Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps Publish Artifacts for ASP.NET Core

Azure DevOps Pipelines: Multiple Jobs in YAML

Azure DevOps Pipelines: Reusable YAML

Azure DevOps Pipelines: Use YAML Across Repos

Azure DevOps Pipelines: Conditionals in YAML

Azure DevOps Pipelines: Naming and Tagging

Azure DevOps Pipelines: Manual Tagging

Azure DevOps Pipelines: Depends On with Conditionals in YAML

Azure DevOps Pipelines: PowerShell Task

Azure DevOps Releases: Auto Create New Release After Pipeline Build

Azure DevOps Releases: Auto Create Release with Pull Requests

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The current setup we have uses a YAML based Azure Pipeline to build a couple of ASP.NET Core web applications. Then on the Release side, we have basically a dummy release that doesn’t actually do anything but served as a demo of how to configure a continuous deployment type release. The following is the current YAML for our Pipeline for reference.

name: $(SourceBranchName)_$(date:yyyyMMdd)$(rev:.r)

  - repository: Shared
    name: Playground/Shared
    type: git 
    ref: master #branch name

trigger: none

  buildConfiguration: 'Release'

- job: WebApp1
  displayName: 'Build WebApp1'
    vmImage: 'ubuntu-latest'

  - task: PowerShell@2
      targetType: 'inline'
      script: 'Get-ChildItem -Path Env:\'

  - template: buildCoreWebProject.yml@Shared
      buildConFiguration: $(buildConfiguration)
      project: WebApp1.csproj
      artifactName: WebApp1

- job: WebApp2
  displayName: 'Build WebApp2'
  condition: and(succeeded(), eq(variables['BuildWebApp2'], 'true'))
    vmImage: 'ubuntu-latest'

  - template: build.yml
      buildConFiguration: $(buildConfiguration)
      project: WebApp2.csproj
      artifactName: WebApp2

- job: DependentJob
  displayName: 'Build Dependent Job'
    vmImage: 'ubuntu-latest'

  - WebApp1
  - WebApp2

  - template: buildCoreWebProject.yml@Shared
      buildConFiguration: $(buildConfiguration)
      project: WebApp1.csproj
      artifactName: WebApp1Again

- job: TagSources
  displayName: 'Tag Sources'
    vmImage: 'ubuntu-latest'

  - WebApp1
  - WebApp2
  - DependentJob
  condition: |
      eq(dependencies.WebApp1.result, 'Succeeded'),
      in(dependencies.WebApp2.result, 'Succeeded', 'Skipped'),
      in(dependencies.DependentJob.result, 'Succeeded', 'Skipped')

  - checkout: self
    persistCredentials: true
    clean: true
    fetchDepth: 1

  - task: PowerShell@2
      targetType: 'inline'
      script: |
        $env:GIT_REDIRECT_STDERR` = '2>&1'
        $tag = "manual_$(Build.BuildNumber)".replace(' ', '_')
        git tag $tag
        Write-Host "Successfully created tag $tag" 

        git push --tags
         Write-Host "Successfully pushed tag $tag"     

      failOnStderr: false

#azure-pipelines #azure #azure-devops #devops

Automating deployments to on premise servers with Azure DevOps

As someone who has spent most of their (very short) career doing one click cloud resource deployments, I was shocked when I jumped onto a legacy project and realised the complexity of the deployment process to staging and production. Using a traditional .NET Framework application stack, the deployment process consisted of the following steps:

  1. Set the configuration target in Visual Studio to release
  2. Build the project
  3. Copy the .dlls using a USB to a client laptop which was configured for VPN access
  4. Copy the .dlls via RDP to the target server
  5. Go into IIS Manager and point the file path to the new version of the application

As you can see and may have experienced, this is a long, slow and error-prone process which can often take over an hour given likelihood of one of those steps not working correctly. For me it was also a real pain point having to use the client laptop, as it had 3 different passwords to get in, none of which I set or could remember. It also meant if we needed to do a deployment I had to be in the office to physically use the laptop — no working from home that day.

My first step was to automate the build process. If we could get Azure Pipelines to at least build the project, I could download the files and copy them over manually. There are plenty of guides online on how to set this up, but the final result meant it gave me a .zip artifact of all the files required for the project. This also took away a common hotspot for errors, which was building locally on my machine. This also meant regardless of who wrote the code, the build process was always identical.

The second step was to** set up a release pipeline**. Within Azure Pipelines, what we wanted to do was create a deployment group, and then register the server we want to deploy to as a target within that deployment group. This will allow us to deploy directly to an on premise server. So, how do we do this?


  • PowerShell 3.0 or higher. On our Windows Server 2003 box, we needed to upgrade from PowerShell 2.0. This is a simple download, install and restart.
  • .NET Framework x64 4.5 or higher


  1. Navigate to Deployment Groups under Pipelines in Azure DevOps:

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Deployment groups menu item in Azure DevOps > Pipelines

2. Create a new deployment group. The idea is you can have several servers that are in the same group and deploy the code to all of them simultaneously (for example for load balancing reasons). In my case I only have one target in my deployment group, so the idea of a group is a bit redundant.

#azure #azure-pipelines #deployment-pipelines #windows-server #azure-devops #devops

How to Extend your DevOps Strategy For Success in the Cloud?

DevOps and Cloud computing are joined at the hip, now that fact is well appreciated by the organizations that engaged in SaaS cloud and developed applications in the Cloud. During the COVID crisis period, most of the organizations have started using cloud computing services and implementing a cloud-first strategy to establish their remote operations. Similarly, the extended DevOps strategy will make the development process more agile with automated test cases.

According to the survey in EMEA, IT decision-makers have observed a 129%* improvement in the overall software development process when performing DevOps on the Cloud. This success result was just 81% when practicing only DevOps and 67%* when leveraging Cloud without DevOps. Not only that, but the practice has also made the software predictability better, improve the customer experience as well as speed up software delivery 2.6* times faster.

3 Core Principle to fit DevOps Strategy

If you consider implementing DevOps in concert with the Cloud, then the

below core principle will guide you to utilize the strategy.

  • It is indispensable to follow a continuous process, including all stages from Dev to deploy with the help of auto-provisioning resources of the target platform.
  • The team always keeps an eye on major and minor application changes that can typically appear within a few hours of development to operation. However, the support of unlimited resource provisioning is needed at the stage of deployment.
  • Cloud or hybrid configuration can associate this process, but you must confirm that configuration should support multiple cloud brands like Microsoft, AWS, Google, any public and private cloud models.

Guide to Remold Business with DevOps and Cloud

Companies are now re-inventing themselves to become better at sensing the next big thing their customers need and finding ways with the Cloud based DevOps to get ahead of the competition.

#devops #devops-principles #azure-devops #devops-transformation #good-company #devops-tools #devops-top-story #devops-infrastructure

Agnes  Sauer

Agnes Sauer


Azure DevOps Multi-Stage Pipelines: Require Stage Approval

In last week’s post, we covered taking our existing build pipeline and making it a multi-stage Pipeline with a build stage and a deploy stage. This week we are going to add another stage to our pipeline for production. Since we don’t want the production stage deployed before it has been through QA we will need to hold the stage until it is verified ready, which is what this post is going to be about. If you haven’t read last week’s post, Azure DevOps Pipelines: Multi-Stage Pipelines, you might want to start there before reading the rest of this post if you are new to multi-stage pipelines.

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Add an Environment

In order to require approval on a stage is to associate it with and environment and add the approval requirement to the environment. In Azure DevOps under Pipelines select Environments and then click the Create environment button.

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On the New environment dialog fill in a Name. If you had actual resources associated with the environment they can be added to provide traceability, but in this example, we are going to stick with the None option.

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Require Approval for an Environment

Now that the resource has been created on its details page we can use the three dots to open the menu and click Approvals and checks.

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On the next screen click the **+**button in the upper right corner and then from the lists of check select Approvals and then click Next. As you can see from the partial list in the screenshot the range of check available for approvals is massive.

#azure-devops #azure #azure-pipelines #devops

Nella  Brown

Nella Brown


Use Azure Static Web Apps with Azure DevOps pipelines

In this post, we discuss how to use Azure Static Web Apps from a pipeline in Azure DevOps.Last year, Microsoft released Azure Static Web Apps, a great way to bundle your static app with a serverless Azure Functions backend. If you have a GitHub repository, Azure Static Web Apps has you covered. You create an instance in Azure, select a GitHub repository, and Azure creates a GitHub Actions CI/CD pipeline for you that’ll automatically trigger when you merge a pull request into your main branch. It’s still in preview, but a GA release isn’t too far off.

To borrow from a famous Henry Ford quoteyou can have it from any repo you want, so long as it’s GitHub.

That has changed. Azure Static Web Apps now provides Azure DevOps support. If you have a repository in Azure DevOps, you can wire up an Azure Pipelines YAML file that builds and deploys your app to Azure Static Web Apps. While it isn’t as streamlined and elegant as the GitHub experience—you need to configure your deployment token manually, and you don’t get automatic staging environments—it sure beats the alternative for Azure DevOps customers (that is, no Azure Static Web Apps support at all).

#devops #azure #azure devops #pipelines