Environments change and the solutions to support them have to keep up. I was very entertained with my old deployment solution for a good while. However, we eventually moved to Azure, and I needed to scramble to find something new. Tom Hollander’s Automated Build and Deployment with Windows Azure SDK 1.6 filled that void until I upgraded my project type to the 1.7 SDK. At that point, I realized I had to roll up my sleeves and cobble something new together.
From an automated deployment standpoint, the crippling change between the 1.6 to the 1.7 SDK, is the lack of an “ImportAfter” folder, which allowed us to include legacy msbuild files to attach to the build process. This is what Tom used to attach a Powershell deployment script to the SDK’s Publish build target. However, with the Azure 1.7 SDK, I had to figure out how to execute that PowerShell script myself.
Microsoft: Downloads for Managing Services in Windows Azure
Creating a Management Certificate & Publish Settings file
Visual Studio has a link which allows you to download a publish settings file, without completely explaining what the side effects are. I myself didn’t understand the problem when I encountered the first symptom, you have reached the maximum number of management certificates. I was forced to understand the situation when I tried to get publish settings files for the 2nd and 3rd Azure Subscriptions my account was associated with. The link creates a management certificate, uploads it to your azure account and provides you with a .publishSettings file to install onto your machine. Life is actually easier when we start taking control of our management certificates.
It is easy enough to create a management certificate. Gaurav Mantri’s blog post really helped on this.
makecert -sky exchange -r -n "CN=JustAProgrammer" -pe -a sha1 -len 2048 -ss My "JustAProgrammer.cer"
We can take this certificate and upload it to the Management Certificates console in Azure. Take note of your subscription id and the thumbprint of the certificate. As you will need it to create your publish Settings file.
Using the PublishSettingsCreator utility, we can create a publish settings file to carry our management information.
PublishSettingsCreator.exe "AzureExample" "ecd7cc1d-12ec-8cf6-a60b-0cf14db32020" "99DFFB9D05D0B5B92893FBBA35988DE281E01E9E"
In order to use the Azure Powershell Cmdlets we have to import the Azure Modules into our Powershell session.
PS C:UsersAdministratorDesktop> Import-Module 'C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft SDKsWindows AzurePowerShellAzureAzure.psd1'
And now we can import the publish settings file.
PS C:UsersAdministratorDesktop> Import-AzurePublishSettingsFile .ecd7cc1d-12ec-8cf6-a60b-0cf14db32020.publishsettings
Setting: AzureExample as the default and current subscription. To view other subscriptions use Get-AzureSubscription
Importing the settings file sets the subscription as default. We can get the default subscription as follows.
PS C:UsersAdministratorDesktop> Get-AzureSubscription
SubscriptionName : AzureExample
SubscriptionId : ecd7cc1d-12ec-8cf6-a60b-0cf14db32020
Certificate : [Subject]
10/18/2012 8:21:06 AM
12/31/2039 6:59:59 PM
ServiceEndpoint : https://management.core.windows.net/
IsDefault : True
Before we can use this subscription to deploy, we have to set the storage account for the subscription. You can CurrentStorageAccount is not set in the subscription definition above.
PS C:UsersAdministratorDesktop> Set-AzureSubscription -SubscriptionName "AzureExample" -CurrentStorageAccount "azureexample"
With the publish settings file and Import-AzurePublishSettingsFile, Set-AzureSubscription commands we can allow any machine to deploy using said Management Certificate. The certificate and publish settings file should be guarded well, either of these files allow access to your azure subscription.
Customizing the Build
Create a new build definition and configure it to build the solution. Be sure to add the “Publish” target to your build. The argument will cause the Azure 1.7 SDK to create the deployment package during build.
If you are using TFSBuild, you can do this while configuring your build, look for the field ‘MSBuild Arguments’, add set the value ‘/t:Publish’.
Finish configuring the build definition and queue the build. We are going to use the output from the build to test the powershell script.
Testing the Powershell script
Using the output from the build, we should be able to execute the powershell script. Copy the script over to your build server. Execute it with the path to the publish file, location where the output Package and Configuration file can be found and the name of the package file in that location. A tag can optionally be specified to help identify the build. I usually use the version number of the binary here, but the build label works just as fine.
PS C:UsersAdministratorDesktop> C:BuildsAzureDeploy.ps1
Note: I’ve had some problems with the Azure Powershell Cmdlets and relative paths.
If your machine is configured correctly, this should deploy without any problems. If you are using TFS the next section is useful for you to wrap this all together. If you are using a build system other than TFS, you already have what you need to continue. Enjoy!
TFS Build Process Template
The Build Process Template included in the package takes a few arguments and handles the execution of the Powrshell script rather nicely. After choosing it as the template for your build, you just have to specify a few arguments.
Deployment Configuration: The build configuration of the Azure project, “Debug” or “Release”
Deployment Profile: The name of the profile file to be used
Deployment Project Name: The name of the project Azure project
Deployment Script: (Optional) In case you dont keep your deployment script in the same spot as mine
The build process template uses the Build Label as a tag for the build. It might be a bit more useful to use something like github: martinbuberl/VersionTasks to tag the builds.
Enjoy Continuous Integration
It never seems worth the effort until after you are done with it.