Automating a multi region deployment with Azure Devops

For a recent project we’ve invested a lot of time into Azure Devops, and in the most part found it a very useful toolset for deploying our code to both Azure and AWS.

When we started on this process, YAML pipelines weren’t available for our source code provider – this meant everything had to be setup manually 🙁

However, recently this has changed 🙂 This post will run through a few ways you can optimize your release process and automate the whole thing.

First a bit of background and then some actual code examples.

Why YAML?

Setting up your pipelines via the UI is a really good way to quickly prototype things, however what if you need to change these pipelines to mimic deployment features alongside code features. Yaml allows you to keep the pipeline definition in the same codebase as the actual features. You deploy branch XXX and that can be configured differently to branch YYY.

Another benefit, the changes are then visible in your pull requests so validating changes is a lot easier.

Async Jobs

A big optimization we gained was to release to different regions in parallel. Yaml makes this very easy by using Jobs – each job can run on an agent and hence push to multiple regions in parallel.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/devops/pipelines/process/phases?view=azure-devops&tabs=yaml

Yaml file templates

If you have common functionality you want to duplicate, e.g. ‘Deploy to Eu-West-1’, templates are a good way to split your functionality. They allow you to group logical functionality you want to run multiple times.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/devops/pipelines/process/templates?view=azure-devops

Azure Devops rest API

All of your build/releases can be triggered via the UI portal, however if you want to automate that process I’d suggest looking into the rest API. Via this you can trigger, monitor and administer builds, releases and a whole load more.

We use powershell to orchestrate the process.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/rest/api/azure/devops/build/builds/queue?view=azure-devops-rest-5.1

Variables, and variable groups

I have to confess, this syntax feels slightly cumbersome, but it’s very possible to reference variables passed into a specific pipeline along with global variables from groups you setup in the Library section of the portal.

Now, some examples

The root YAML file:

The ‘DeployToRegion’ template:

And finally some powershell to fire it all off:

Happy deploying 🙂

One thought on “Automating a multi region deployment with Azure Devops

  1. If you run into issues with the nuget restore, consider replacing the step: ‘NuGet restore’ with:

    – task: DotNetCoreCLI@2
    displayName: ‘dotnet restore’
    inputs:
    command: restore
    projects: ‘**/*.csproj’
    feedsToUse: config
    nugetConfigPath: ‘Website/nuget.config’

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