Add a private build agent to VSTS and configure for capabilities

VSTS or Visual Studio Team Services is a great DevOps tool from Microsoft and it comes as a Software-as-a-Service. While configuring build pipelines, once can choose the option to build and deploy using a hosted agent. A hosted agent is provided by Microsoft and is pre-configured with all major build tools installed like Visual Studio, Java, Ant, etc. So for many organizations, this is the simplest way to build and deploy.

However, the hosted agent might not suffice for your needs. For example, you may want to use your own testing engine or compilation engine, or you are working on a not so common programming language, etc. In such cases, you will need to setup your private build server. Private agents give you more control to install dependent software needed for your builds and deployments. In this blog post, we’ll learn how to add a build server to VSTS and also configure it for build capabilities.

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Configure CI/CD for dockerized apps using VSTS and deploy to ACS

n this blog post, we’ll discuss how to configure CI/CD for dockerized apps using Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) and deploy to a Linux based kubernetes cluster in Azure Container Services (ACS). For building dockerized app, we’ll use .NET core and build a linux based docker image. Also we’ll be using Azure Container Services to deploy Linux based Kubernetes cluster and Azure Container Registry for providing docker registry.

Deploy Kubernetes cluster on ACS

For this, please refer to this blog post here.

Deploy Azure Container Registry

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Deploy kubernetes cluster on Azure Container Service from Ubuntu based build server

Azure Container Service is an offering from Microsoft which makes it simple to create, configure, and manage a cluster of virtual machines that are preconfigured to run containerized applications.  The following guide is based on steps mentioned in https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/container-service/kubernetes/container-service-kubernetes-walkthrough but deviates a little. First, the guide is based on using Azure Cloud Shell which creates two issues. In my experience, this cloud shell is not ready for prime time usage as you will keep getting issues like authentication failure, for some reason the shell will expire after every 20 mins, etc. Also CI/CD cannot be build on top of the cloud shell.

Most likely scenario would be using a CI/CD tool like Jenkins, VSTS etc. using a custom agent and then you would need to run shell commands for deploying containers. In this blog post, we’ll examine how to prepare a ubuntu based workstation for this and deploy a kubernetes cluster on Azure Container Service.

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Stop a script from running if it’s not root

This is a very short post and relies on the knowledge that UID of root user is always 0 regardless of the name of the root account. If the effective UID returned by id -u is not zero, the user is not executing the script with root privileges. Below simple code can be used to check against if script is running as root or not:

#!/bin/sh

if [ "$(id -u)" -ne 0 ]; then
        echo 'This script must be run by root user' > &2
        exit 1
fi

 

Docker Cheat Sheet

I have spent some time to gather list of most used docker commands and below is a summary for same. These are not full blown commands, just to get you started and then you can use inbuilt command help.

Lifecycle

  • docker create Creates a container
  • docker rename Renames a container
  • docker run Creates and runs a container
  • docker rm Removes a container
  • docker update Updates a container resource limits

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Create a CI/CD pipeline in VSTS to deploy ARM templates

This is the final post in the series of basics for working on Infrastructure as a Code or IaaC. For first two posts, please refer below two links:

  1. Code virtual network configuration in Azure using ARM templates, Visual Studio and Git
  2. Sync local source code and commit history with Visual Studio Team Services

We learned how to create ARM template inside Visual Studio, enable versioning, deploy ARM template using Visual Studio, make new configuration changes, sync source and commit history to VSTS. In this blog post, we’ll learn how to create a CI/CD pipeline to deploy ARM templates.
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Auto assembly versioning in Visual Studio Team Services (or VSTS) build

Whenever a new .NET assembly project is created in Visual Studio, a file named AssemblyInfo is created that contains attributes used to define the version of the assembly during compilation. Using assembly versions effectively enables various team members to identify deployed assemblies and helps troubleshoot problems that may occur in a particular environment (e.g. Development, Test, or Production).

When building the solution, there are two version numbers that need to be considered: the file version number and the .NET assembly version number. As part of the best practices, the AssemblyFileVersion attribute should be incremented automatically as part of the build process. It is therefore intended to uniquely identify a build. The AssemblyVersion attribute is the version that .NET uses when linking assemblies. In this blog post, we’ll learn how to use the build process to auto specify the AssemblyFileVersion and AssemblyInformationalVersion.

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