Make your VSTS extensions smarter with Endpoints Datasource bindings

At the current customer I am working for I am creating a lot of VSTS Extensions to deploy Azure Resources.
I want my tasks to be so much user friendly as possible, and one of the things to accomplish this is with Data Source Bindings.

What are Data Source Bindings?

Data source bindings bind a drop-down input field in the UI (e.g. task input) which needs to be dynamically populated with values from ta REST API that needs to be invoked to fetch the list of values.

Where are the Data Sources defined?

The Data sources are defined in the Service Endpoints.

Service endpoints support querying data from external services through REST API.

The data queried can be used to populate task input drop-downs. Continue reading “Make your VSTS extensions smarter with Endpoints Datasource bindings”

Create a sharded MongoDB in Azure Cosmos DB

During my last project I was setting up a Release Pipeline in VSTS and one of the steps was to create a Sharded MongoDB in Cosmos DB.

I am a big fan of the Azure CLI, which I use quiet often.

I started to create in bash an Azure CLI script but soon I discovered that it was not working well. The script gave no errors, everything seemed to be ok, but I was getting an error when inserting a document that the sharded key was not found/provided. Continue reading “Create a sharded MongoDB in Azure Cosmos DB”

Get Cognitive Services Keys and Endpoint in an ARM Template

For a demo Azure Logic App I need to setup an Azure Cognitive Services account for the Computer Vision API.
I set up the resources in Azure using an ARM template so that everything is created in a reproducible way.
My logic app needs a connection to the Cognitive Services, which consists in an API Key and an endpoint.

I was not able to find a template in the Azure Quickstart Templates repo to get this information, so I find it out myself. Continue reading “Get Cognitive Services Keys and Endpoint in an ARM Template”

Mount your Azure Cloud Shell to another Storage Account

I am a heavy user of the Azure Cloud Shell, I use it every day working with the CLI 2.0 to deal with my Azure Resources.

If, like me, the first time you started the Cloud Shell and followed the wizard and clicked on the button “Create Storage”, you ended up with a new Resource Group containing a Storage Account with a random name.

I don’t like random names with my resources, so I will show you how to control this and mount the Azure Cloud Shell with a Storage Account of your choice.

Continue reading “Mount your Azure Cloud Shell to another Storage Account”

Create output variables with Azure CLI 2.0

I’m using more and more the Azure CLI 2.0, which makes my scripting life with Azure Resources a lot easier.

The default output of the Azure CLI is json, but you can also use other kind of output formats, as described in this blog.

I want to have some variables that I can reuse in other commands, so let’s say I want to get the name of all the Resource Groups which have a tag called Kind with a value VM, I can use the following JMESPath query:

az group list --query "[?tags.Kind=='VM'].name"

The output will be:

[
  "Development",
  "Mystique"
]

Continue reading “Create output variables with Azure CLI 2.0”

Solve Docker for Windows error: A firewall is blocking file Sharing between Windows and the containers

For the quick answer jump to the conclusion.

Yesterday I was trying to mount a data volume in a Docker container and using Docker Community Edition for Windows (aka Docker CE for Windows) you first need to share your drives in the Docker settings:

ShareDrives

Unfortunately after clicking on “Apply” I got the following error:

A firewall is blocking file Sharing between Windows and the containers.

Continue reading “Solve Docker for Windows error: A firewall is blocking file Sharing between Windows and the containers”

Azure Hidden Gems: Resource Policies

Today I want to show a really useful Azure feature to help you with the governance of your Azure Subscriptions: Azure Resource Policies:

Resource policies enable you to establish conventions for resources in your organization. By defining conventions, you can control costs and more easily manage your resources. For example, you can specify that only certain types of virtual machines are allowed, or you can require that all resources have a particular tag. Policies are inherited by all child resources. So, if a policy is applied to a resource group, it is applicable to all the resources in that resource group.

How Resource Policies works

First of all, you need a policy definition.

Here a description of the structure.

Let’s create one!

You can create policies definitions directly with the Azure Rest API or using PowerShell, the Azure CLI 1.0 or 2.0.

I prefer using PowerShell:

First login in Azure with: Login-AzureRmAccount and if you have more subscriptions, select the right one with Select-AzureRmSubscription.

Continue reading “Azure Hidden Gems: Resource Policies”

A better way (and script) to add a Service Principal in Azure for VSTS

From Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) it’s possible to deploy to an Azure Subscription using an Active Directory Service Principal.

The Microsoft documentation refers to a blog post which describes a 3-clicks and a manual way to setup this principal.

For both the suggested ways (3-clicks or manual), there are some concerns from my side about the principal setup, which I think they could be improved:

  • The principal which is created during the process gets the “Contributor” role granted on the whole Azure subscription, and using the manual powershell script, the default role is even “Owner” (this can be modified).
  • The name of the Active Directory Application/Principal is some random guid which is difficult to be identified, see this picture:

principalcreatedrandom

Continue reading “A better way (and script) to add a Service Principal in Azure for VSTS”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑