Last updated : Aug 26,2019


This lab outlines the process to build custom Docker images of an ASP.NET Core application, push those images to a private repository in Azure Container Registry (ACR). These images will be used to deploy the application to the Docker containers in the Azure App Service (Linux) using VSTS.

The Web App for Containers allows creation of custom Docker container images, easily deploy and run them at scale on Azure. Combination of VSTS and Azure integration with Docker will enable the following:

  1. Build custom Docker images using VSTS Hosted Linux agent

  2. Push and store the Docker images in a private repository

  3. Deploy and run the images inside the Docker Containers

The below diagram details the VSTS DevOps workflow with Docker:

Image to be added here

Prerequisites for the lab

  1. Microsoft Azure Account: You will need a valid and active Azure account for the Azure labs. If you do not have one, you can sign up for a free trial

    • If you are an active Visual Studio Subscriber, you are entitled for a $50-$150 Azure credit per month. You can refer to this link to find out more information about this including how to activate and start using your monthly Azure credit.

    • If you are not a Visual Studio Subscriber, you can sign up for the FREE Visual Studio Dev Essentials program to create a Azure free account (includes 1 year of free services, $200 for 1st month).

  2. You will need a Visual Studio Team Services Account. If you do not have one, you can sign up for free here

  3. You will need a Personal Access Token to set up your project using the VSTS Demo Generator. Please see this article for instructions to create your token.

  4. Installation of the Docker Integration extension from Visual Studio Marketplace

Setting up the Environment

  1. Click on the Deploy to Azure button to initiate the configuration.

    Deploy to Azure

  2. In the Custom deployment window, select the Subscription type, leave the default selection for the resource group and select the Location. Provide the ACR Name, Site Name, DB Server Name, accept the Terms and Conditions and click on the Purchase button to provision the following resources:

    • Azure Container Registry

    • Azure Web App

    • Azure SQL Server Database

    Create Azure Components

  3. It takes approximately 3 to 4 minutes to provision the environment. Click on the Go to resource group to view the resource group.

    Environment Provision

  4. The following components are provisioned post deployment.

    Azure Components Description
    Azure Container RegistryAzure Container Registry Used to store images privately
    Storage Account Storage Account Container Registry resides in this storage account
    App Service App Service Docker images are deployed to containers in this App Service
    App Service Plan App Service Plan Resource where App Service resides
    SQL Server SQL Server SQL Server to host database
    SQL database SQL database SQL database to host MyHealthClinic data

    Post Azure Deployment

  5. Click on the mhcdb SQL database and make a note of the server details under the header Server name.

    DB Server URL

  6. Navigate back to the resource group. Click on the container registry and make a note of the server details under the header Login server. These details will be required in the Exercise 2.


Setting up the VSTS Project

  1. Use the VSTS Demo Generator to provision the team project on the VSTS account.

    VSTS Demo Generator helps you create team projects on your VSTS account with sample content that include source code, work items,iterations, service endpoints, build and release definitions based on the template you choose during the configuration.

    VSTS Demo Generator

  2. Once the team project is provisioned, click on the URL to navigate to the team project.

    VSTS Demo Generator

Exercise 1: Endpoint Creation

The connection between the VSTS and the Azure is not automatically established during the team project provisioning, and hence the endpoints need to be created manually. This endpoint will be used to connect the VSTS with Azure. Follow the steps outlined below to create the endpoint.

  1. In the VSTS home page, click on the Settings gear icon Admin Settings and then click on the Services option to navigate to the Services screen.

  2. Click on the +New Service Endpoint button and select the Azure Resource Manager option. Provide Connection name, select the Azure Subscription from the list and the click on the OK button. The Azure credentials will be required to be provided to authorize the connection.

    Endpoint Creation

Exercise 2: Configure Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD)

Now that the connection is established, the Azure endpoint and the Azure Container Registry need to be manually configured for the build and release definitions. The dacpac will also be deployed to the mhcdb database so that the schema and data is configured for the backend.

  1. Navigate to the Builds option under the Build and Release tab. Select the build definition, click on the ellipsis and select the Edit option.


  2. In the Process section, update the Azure subscription and the Azure Container Registry with the endpoint component from the dropdown. (use the arrow keys to choose Azure Container Registry for the first time). Click on the Save button.


    Tasks Usage
    Run services Run services prepares suitable environment by restoring required packages
    Build services Build services builds myhealth.web image
    Push services Push services pushes myhealth.web image tagged with $(Build.BuildId) to container registry
    Publish Build Artifacts Publish Build Artifacts used to share dacpac for database deployment through VSTS artifacts
  3. Navigate to the Releases section under the Build & Release tab. Select the release definition MHCDocker.release, click on the Edit option and then click on the Tasks section.


    Release Tasks

  4. The usage details of the agents are provided below:

    Agents Usage Details
    DB deployment The Hosted VS2017 agent is used to deploy the database
    Web App deployment The Hosted Linux Preview agent is used to deploy the application to the Linux Web App
  5. Under the Execute Azure SQL:DacpacTask section, select the Azure Subscription from the dropdown.

    Execute Azure SQL:DacpacTask: This task will deploy the dacpac to the mhcdb database so that the schema and data is configured for the backend.

    Update DB Task

  6. Under the Azure App Service Deploy task, update the Azure subscription and the Azure Service name tasks with the endpoint components from the dropdown.

    Azure App Service Deploy will pull the appropriate docker image corresponding to the BuildID from repository specified, and deploys the image to the Linux App Service.

    Update repository

  7. Click on the Variables section, update the ACR details and the SQLserver details with the details noted earlier while configuration of the environment. Click on the Save button.

    Update variables

    The Database Name is set to mhcdb, the Server Admin Login is set to sqladmin and the Password is set currently to P2ssw0rd1234.

Exercise 3: Initiating the CI-CD with source Code Change

In this exercise, the source code will be modified to trigger the CI-CD.

  1. Click on the Files section under the Code tab, and navigate to the Docker/src/MyHealth.Web/Views/Home folder and open the Index.cshtml file for editing.

    Edit code

  2. Modify the text JOIN US to CONTACT US on the line number 28 and then click on the Commit button.

    Line Edit

  3. In the Commit window, provide comments and then click on the Commit button to commit the changes to the repository.This action would initiate an automatic build for the source code.


  4. Select the Builds tab and click on the build number to view the build in progress.


  5. The Build will generate and push the docker image of the web application to the Azure Container Registry. Once the build is completed, the build summary will be displayed.

    Build Summary

  6. Navigate to the Azure Portal and click on the App Service that was created at the beginning of this lab. Select the Docker Container option and provide the information as suggested and then click the Save button.

    Field Value to be provided
    Image Source Select the value Azure Container Registry
    Registry Select the registry value from the dropdown
    image Select the value myhealth.web
    Tag Select the value latest. This is required to map Azure Container Registry with the Web App.

    Update registry

    Update registry

  7. Navigate to the Azure Container Portal and then select the Repositories option to view the generated docker images.


  8. Navigate to the Releases section under Build & Releases in the VSTS, and double-click on the latest release displayed on the page. Click on the Logs section to view the details of the release in progress.

    Release Progress

  9. The release will deploy the docker image to the App Service based on the BuildID tagged with the docker image. Once the release is completed, the release sumamry will be displayed.


  10. Navigate back to the Azure Portal and click on the Overview section of the App Service. Click on the link displayed under the URL field to browse the application and view the changes.

    Web app URL

    Final Result


Using the VSTS and the Azure, DevOps can be configured for dockerized applications by leveraging docker capabilities enabled on VSTS Hosted Agents.