Unlocking the Full Potential of CI/CD Pipeline for Azure Kubernetes Services

Are you looking to set up a CI/CD pipeline for AKS (Azure Kubernetes Service) but don’t know where to start? Look no further. In this article, we will cover the basics of setting up a CI/CD pipeline with Azure DevOps – from creating builds and releases, deploying resources, automating deployment processes with Azure Pipelines, and best practices for configuring pipelines. By the end of this guide, you’ll have everything you need to get your CI/CD pipeline up and running in no time! So let’s dive right in!

Overview of AKS and Azure DevOps

Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is a managed container orchestration service that provides an efficient way to deploy and manage containers in the cloud. AKS simplifies setting up, scaling, and managing containerized applications by taking care of all the underlying infrastructure so you can focus on developing and deploying your applications.

Azure DevOps is Microsoft’s cloud-based development platform that provides a suite of services to help teams build, deploy, and manage applications in the cloud. It enables developers to quickly set up CI/CD (Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery) pipelines for their AKS clusters, allowing them to automate deployment processes and ensure consistent delivery of their applications. With Azure DevOps, teams can easily create builds for their AKS clusters using built-in tools such as Azure Pipelines or Jenkins. They can also use it to configure releases for AKS deployments, giving them control over how their application is deployed on the cluster. Additionally, they can use Azure DevOps to monitor performance metrics from AKS clusters in order to identify any issues with the application or infrastructure before they become too serious. By leveraging all these features together, teams can streamline their AKS workflow and ensure the smooth operation of their applications in production environments.

Setting up a Build in Azure Pipelines

Setting up a build in Azure Pipelines is a quick and simple process that can be accomplished in a few steps. The first step is to create an AKS cluster using the AKS service in the Azure portal. Once the AKS cluster has been created, it can be configured with the build configuration settings you need for your application.

Next, you’ll need to set up an Azure Pipeline project and connect it to your AKS cluster. This will allow the pipeline to run builds on AKS from within the Azure DevOps portal. In order to configure the settings for your project, you can use the ‘Pipeline’ tab available in the AKS dashboard of the Azure portal. You can also access other AKS-related settings like resource quotas, storage settings, networking policies, etc., from this tab.

Once you’ve configured all of your desired settings for your AKS cluster, you’ll need to create a new pipeline job and configure it with your build configurations. This includes setting up triggers for when builds should be run as well as any integration or deployment tasks needed for the successful completion of those builds. After configuring these parameters, you can test them out by running a few sample builds on AKS before going live with your CI/CD pipeline.

Finally, once all of these steps have been completed, you’re ready to start running builds on AKS using Azure Pipelines! With this setup complete, teams will have everything in place they need to ensure their applications are built properly and reliably deployed on their AKS clusters quickly and efficiently – allowing them more time to focus on coding instead of worrying about manual processes and deployments. The high-level process is shown here:

We need to follow these steps for Build pipelines:

  1. Create a resource group and deploy ACR and AKS.
  2. Set up the Git repository

See we have kept the deployment and loadbalancer in one YAML file but you can keep them seperately.

3. Connect to AKS with AKS credentials.

STEP1. Git setup
cd C:\Users\kalpa\build-and-push-to-aks
git init
echo "# Azure DevOps App1 Demo with AKS, Github and ACR" >> README.md
git add .
git commit -am "V1 Base Commit"
git remote add origin https://github.com/rajaniesh/build-and-push-to-aks.git
git push --set-upstream origin master
STEP2: Run the build pipeline manually and verify the ACR 
Once the pipeline ran successfully

STEP3: Test if pipeline is triggering after checkin

#first do git pull
git pull
#update the index.html and Change the TEXT in the index file 
notepad index.html
git commit -am "V2 commit index.html"
git push

STEP 4: Change the repo from app1nginx  to app1/app1nginx and do commit again and verify the ACR
git pull
#update the index.html 
notepad index.html
git add .
git push
STEP 5:Get credentials and verify the nodes
az login
az account set --subscription <Your subscription ID>
az aks get-credentials --name myaksdevops --resource-group aks

STEP 6:Verify the nodes
# Verify Nodes
kubectl get nodes 
kubectl get nodes -o wide

4. Now we need create two steps in the build pipeline:

Step 1: Build image from docker file and push it to Azure Container registry.

Step 2: Copy the kube manifest file into Artifact staging directory.

Step 3: Publish the build Artifact.

# Docker
# Build and push an image to Azure Container Registry
# https://docs.microsoft.com/azure/devops/pipelines/languages/docker

- master

- repo: self

  # Container registry service connection established during pipeline creation
  dockerRegistryServiceConnection: '5d7051bf-83c8-46b9-8488-3a262ff3122f'
  imageRepository: 'starterdockerimage'
  containerRegistry: 'acr7fordemo.azurecr.io'
  dockerfilePath: '$(Build.SourcesDirectory)/Dockerfile'
  tag: '$(Build.BuildId)'

  # Agent VM image name
  vmImageName: 'ubuntu-latest'

- stage: Build
  displayName: Build and push stage
  - job: Build
    displayName: Build
      vmImage: $(vmImageName)
    - task: Docker@2
      displayName: Build and push an image to container registry
        command: buildAndPush
        repository: $(imageRepository)
        dockerfile: $(dockerfilePath)
        containerRegistry: $(dockerRegistryServiceConnection)
        tags: |

    - bash: echo Contents in System Default Working Directory; ls -R $(System.DefaultWorkingDirectory)        
    - bash: echo Before copying Contents in Build Artifact Directory; ls -R $(Build.ArtifactStagingDirectory)   
    # Task-2: Copy files (Copy files from a source folder to target folder)
    # Source Directory: $(System.DefaultWorkingDirectory)/kube-manifests
    # Target Directory: $(Build.ArtifactStagingDirectory)
    - task: CopyFiles@2
        SourceFolder: '$(System.DefaultWorkingDirectory)/kube-manifests'
        Contents: '**'
        TargetFolder: '$(Build.ArtifactStagingDirectory)'
        OverWrite: true
    - bash: echo After copying Contents in Build Artifact Directory; ls -R $(Build.ArtifactStagingDirectory)         
    - task: PublishBuildArtifacts@1
        PathtoPublish: '$(Build.ArtifactStagingDirectory)'
        ArtifactName: 'kube-manifests'
        publishLocation: 'Container'

Creating a Release in Azure Pipelines

Setting up a release in Azure Pipelines is designed to be straightforward and simple, allowing developers to deploy their applications on AKS quickly. The process begins with creating a release definition for AKS in Azure DevOps. This will provide developers with an interface to configure the parameters that are needed for their AKS deployment.

Once the AKS release definition has been created, it’s time to configure the settings for AKS deployments. This can include setting up triggers for when releases should be triggered, as well as defining variables, environment settings, and authentication methods related to AKS deployments. Additionally, teams can also setup Git repository connections within their AKS releases in order to automatically pull source code from GitHub or other repositories before running a release on AKS.

The next step is providing more information about the AKS cluster itself that is being deployed on. This includes details such as resource quotas, container sizes, networking policies, and storage settings – all of which can be configured within the Azure portal while creating an AKS cluster. After these settings have been configured, developers can begin setting up tasks related to their AKS deployments such as build tasks (for compiling applications) or container tasks (for deploying containers).

Once these tasks have been set up, teams can define any additional steps they need for the successful completion of their AKS deployment including testing or validation tasks such as load testing or security scans. Finally, once all steps have been defined and configured correctly with the right parameters and settings, developers can save and run their AKS release in Azure Pipelines – allowing them to automate the entire process of deploying applications on AKs with ease!

Now we need to create release pipeline and here are the steps:

1. Create 4 namespaces (one for each environment):

# List Namespaces
kubectl get ns

# Create Namespaces
kubectl create ns dev
kubectl create ns qa
kubectl create ns staging
kubectl create ns prod

# List Namespaces
kubectl get ns

2. Create a release pipeline and in the artifact select the files.

3. Now create Dev, QA, PROD, and Staging stages by clicking the add button.

This is what it looks like:

4. we need to create two steps in each stage:

Stage 1: It is self-explanatory. Actually, it creates a secret.

Stage 2:It is used to deploy the image to AKS Dev Namespace

5. Similarly we need to create QA, staging and PROD pipelines.

6. Create pre-deployment conditions.

7. Add the approver email id as follows

8. Now commit the code after updating the index file.

9. It will trigger the build pipeline and then release pipeline.

10. For QA, Staging, and Prod deployment it will send a mail for approval, and once the user approves it will deploy the build.

11. To verify the deployment use this command to find the IP address of the app installed on the namespaces and browse them.

# Get Public IP
kubectl get svc -n dev
kubectl get svc -n qa
kubectl get svc -n staging
kubectl get svc -n prod
kubect get svc --all-namespaces

# Access Application

Deploying Resources with AKS

Deploying resources with AKS is a great way to quickly and efficiently deploy applications on AKS clusters. AKS provides simple automation tools that can be used to create, manage, and scale AKS clusters in a matter of minutes. With these tools, developers can get their applications up and running in no time and with minimal effort.

Before deploying resources with AKS, developers must first decide what type of AKS cluster they want to use as well as the specifications for the cluster – such as resource quotas, storage settings, networking policies, etc. Once these parameters have been determined, developers can then create an AKS cluster using the Azure Portal or by using the Azure CLI tools. After creating the AKS cluster, developers will need to provision resources on the cluster including virtual machines (VMs), networks, storage accounts, containers, and more.

Once all of these components have been deployed on the AKS cluster successfully, developers can then start deploying their applications. This involves building a containerized application within a docker image and pushing it onto AKS with Kubernetes command-line tools like kubectl or helm. This process allows teams to quickly deploy their application onto AKS without any manual steps. After this step is completed successfully, developers can then start configuring their application by setting up environment variables for different stages of development such as test or production environments.

When deploying resources with AKS clusters there are also several options for scaling up or down depending on demand. Developers can choose from autoscaling options that help manage surges or dips in traffic or manually scale their application by adding more nodes or containers when needed. By utilizing autoscaling features provided by AKS as well as configuring resource quotas intelligently according to need – teams can ensure that their applications are always running optimally in production environments at all times!

Automating Deployment Processes with Azure Pipelines

Automating deployment processes with Azure Pipelines is an efficient and cost-effective way to deploy applications on AKS clusters. Azure Pipelines allows developers to create end-to-end CI/CD pipelines that not only build their application but also deploy it onto AKS clusters in a secure and reliable manner.

The first step to setting up continuous integration (CI) with AKS using Azure Pipelines is creating a pipeline from scratch or selecting a pre-defined template that contains all the necessary tasks for AKS deployment. This template can include tasks such as building Docker images, pushing them onto the AKS cluster, and configuring AKS settings such as scaling strategies, container sizes, resource quotas, etc. After choosing the right tasks for AKS deployments, developers can then configure these tasks according to their needs – either manually or by using predefined configuration files like YAML files.

Once the pipeline has been configured correctly with the right parameters and settings, developers can save and run the AKS release in Azure Pipelines – allowing them to automate the entire process of deploying applications on AKs with ease! Additionally, Azure Pipelines offers various other features that allow teams to ensure that their deployments are always successful – such as running tests after each deployment or setting up multiple stages of development for different environments (test or production).

By utilizing automation tools provided by Azure Pipelines and AKS together, teams can streamline their CI/CD process significantly while ensuring that all deployments are secure and reliable. Furthermore, teams can take advantage of version control systems like GitHub which help track changes made to their codebase – allowing them to monitor any new changes quickly and easily without manual effort. Ultimately automating deployment processes with AKs and Azure Pipelines helps teams increase efficiency while reducing costs associated with manual error-prone processes!

Best Practices for Configuring an AKS CI/CD Pipeline

When configuring a CI/CD pipeline for AKS, there are certain best practices that developers should follow in order to ensure a secure and reliable deployment process. Firstly, developers should establish strong security policies around AKS deployments by configuring access control settings like RBAC or AD authentication. By doing this, developers can set specific roles that allow their team members or other third parties to access AKS resources while ensuring that all confidential information remains secure.

In addition to setting up the right security policies, teams should also create detailed documentation around AKS clusters in order to facilitate faster onboarding of new team members and better collaboration throughout the organization. Documentation should include descriptions of AKS resources such as nodes, pods, and services as well as any relevant configuration settings such as resource quotas and autoscaling options.

Moreover, teams should also verify their AKS applications by running tests with automated tools such as open-source suites like Kubernetes Conformance Test Suite or commercial products like JFrog Xray – which provide deep insights into applications deployed on AKS clusters. This helps teams detect bugs early on in the development process and prevents them from deploying faulty application containers onto AKS clusters.

Finally, teams should also monitor AKS deployments regularly in order to ensure the high availability of their application at all times. This involves tracking metrics such as CPU utilization or memory consumption – which allows teams to identify any problems quickly and take necessary steps such as scaling up or down AKs nodes accordingly. Additionally, developers can use feature-rich monitoring tools like Azure Monitor which provides real-time updates about AKs deployments – allowing them to take proactive measures if something goes wrong with their application!

By following these best practices when configuring an AKS CI/CD Pipeline, teams can ensure that their applications are secure, reliable, and always available for end users!

Wrapping Up – Get Your CI/CD Pipeline Running Now!

AKS and Azure DevOps provide an efficient way to automate deployment processes with AKS, allowing teams to save time and resources. By utilizing the power of AKS together with Azure Pipelines, developers can streamline their CI/CD process significantly while ensuring that all deployments are secure and reliable. Furthermore, best practices such as setting up strong security policies or running automated tests should be followed in order to ensure the high availability of applications at all times. With these tips in mind, you should now have a better understanding of how AKs and Azure DevOps work together for automating the deployment process – so get your own CI/CD pipeline running today!

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