Using Azure PowerShell with Azure Resource Manager

11 min to read Contributors
  • Tom FitzMacken

Azure Resource Manager implements a modern approach to Azure resources lifecycle control. Instead of creating and managing individual resources, you begin by imagining an entire solution, such as a blog, a photo gallery, a SharePoint portal, or a wiki. You use a template -- a declarative representation of the solution -- to define a resource group that contains all of the resources you need to support the solution. Then, you deploy and manage that resource group as a logical unit.

In this tutorial, you learn how to use Azure PowerShell with Azure Resource Manager. It walks you through the process of deploying a solution, and working with that solution. You will use Azure PowerShell and a Resource Manager template to deploy:

  • SQL server - to host the database
  • SQL database - to store the data
  • Firewall rules - to allow the web app to connect to the database
  • App Service plan - for defining the capabilities and cost of the web app
  • Web site - for running the web app
  • Web config - for storing the connection string to the database
  • Alert rules - for monitoring performance and errors
  • App Insights - for auto-scale settings

To get Azure PowerShell, see How to install and configure Azure PowerShell.

Get help for cmdlets

To get detailed help for any cmdlet that you see in this tutorial, use the Get-Help cmdlet.

Get-Help <cmdlet-name> -Detailed

For example, to get help for the Get-AzureRmResource cmdlet, type:

Get-Help Get-AzureRmResource -Detailed

To get a list of cmdlets in the Resources module with a help synopsis, type:

Get-Command -Module AzureRM.Resources | Get-Help | Format-Table Name, Synopsis

The output will look similar to the following excerpt:

Name                                   Synopsis
----                                   --------
Find-AzureRmResource                   Searches for resources using the specified parameters.
Find-AzureRmResourceGroup              Searches for resource group using the specified parameters.
Get-AzureRmADGroup                     Filters active directory groups.
Get-AzureRmADGroupMember               Get a group members.

To get full help for a cmdlet, type a command with the format:

Get-Help <cmdlet-name> -Full

Login to your Azure account

Before working on your solution, you must login to your account.

To login to your Azure account, use the Add-AzureRmAccount cmdlet.


The cmdlet prompts you for the login credentials for your Azure account. After logging in, it downloads your account settings so they are available to Azure PowerShell.

The account settings expire, so you need to refresh them occasionally. To refresh the account settings, run Add-AzureRmAccount again.


The Resource Manager modules requires Add-AzureRmAccount. A Publish Settings file is not sufficient.

If you have more than one subscription, provide the subscription id you wish to use for deployment with the Set-AzureRmContext cmdlet.

Set-AzureRmContext -SubscriptionID <YourSubscriptionId>

Create a resource group

Before deploying any resources to your subscription, you must create a resource group that will contain the resources.

To create a resource group, use the New-AzureRmResourceGroup cmdlet.

The command uses the Name parameter to specify a name for the resource group and the Location parameter to specify its location. Based on what we discovered in the previous section, we will use "West US" for the location.

New-AzureRmResourceGroup -Name TestRG1 -Location "West US"

The output will be similar to:

ResourceGroupName : TestRG1
Location          : westus
ProvisioningState : Succeeded
Tags              :
ResourceId        : /subscriptions/{guid}/resourceGroups/TestRG1

Your resource group has been successfully created.

Deploy your solution

This topic does not show you how to create your template or discuss the structure of the template. For that information, see Authoring Azure Resource Manager templates and Resource Manager Template Walkthrough. You will deploy the pre-defined Provision a Web App with a SQL Database template from Azure Quickstart Templates.

You have your resource group and you have your template, so you are now ready to deploy the infrastructure defined in your template to the resource group. You deploy resources with the New-AzureRmResourceGroupDeployment cmdlet. The template specifies many default values, which we will use so you do not need to provide values for those parameters. The basic syntax looks like:

New-AzureRmResourceGroupDeployment -ResourceGroupName TestRG1 -administratorLogin exampleadmin -TemplateUri 

You specify the resource group and the location of the template. If your template is a local file, you use the -TemplateFile parameter and specify the path to the template. You can set the -Mode parameter to either Incremental or Complete. By default, Resource Manager performs an incremental update during deployment; therefore, it is not essential to set -Mode when you want Incremental. To understand the differences between these deployment modes, see Deploy an application with Azure Resource Manager template.

Dynamic Template Parameters

If you are familiar with PowerShell, you know that you can cycle through the available parameters for a cmdlet by typing a minus sign (-) and then pressing the TAB key. This same functionality also works with parameters that you define in your template. As soon as you type the template name, the cmdlet fetches the template, parses it, and adds the template parameters to the command dynamically. This makes it very easy to specify the template parameter values.

When you enter the command, you are prompted for the missing mandatory parameter, administratorLoginPassword. And, when you type the password, the secure string value is obscured. This strategy eliminates the risk of providing a password in plain text.

cmdlet New-AzureRmResourceGroupDeployment at command pipeline position 1
Supply values for the following parameters:
(Type !? for Help.)
administratorLoginPassword: ********

If the template includes a parameter with a name that matches one of the parameters in the command to deploy the template (such as including a parameter named ResourceGroupName in your template which is the same as the ResourceGroupName parameter in the New-AzureRmResourceGroupDeployment cmdlet), you will be prompted to provide a value for a parameter with the postfix FromTemplate (such as ResourceGroupNameFromTemplate). In general, you should avoid this confusion by not naming parameters with the same name as parameters used for deployment operations.

The command runs and returns messages as the resources are created. Ultimately, you see the result of your deployment.

DeploymentName    : azuredeploy
ResourceGroupName : TestRG1
ProvisioningState : Succeeded
Timestamp         : 4/11/2016 7:26:11 PM
Mode              : Incremental
TemplateLink      :
            Uri            :
            ContentVersion :
Parameters        :
            Name             Type                       Value
            ===============  =========================  ==========
            skuName          String                     F1
            skuCapacity      Int                        1
            administratorLogin  String                  exampleadmin
            administratorLoginPassword  SecureString
            databaseName     String                     sampledb
            collation        String                     SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS
            edition          String                     Basic
            maxSizeBytes     String                     1073741824
            requestedServiceObjectiveName  String       Basic

Outputs           :
            Name             Type                       Value
            ===============  =========================  ==========
            siteUri          String           
            sqlSvrFqdn       String           

DeploymentDebugLogLevel :

In just a few steps, we created and deployed the resources required for a complex website.

Log debug information

When deploying a template, you can log additional information about the request and response by specifying the -DeploymentDebugLogLevel parameter when running New-AzureRmResourceGroupDeployment. This information may help you troubleshoot deployment errors. The default value is None which means no request or response content is logged. You can specify logging the content from request, response, or both. For more information about troubleshooting deployments and logging debug information, see Troubleshooting resource group deployments with Azure PowerShell. The following example logs the request content and response content for the deployment.

New-AzureRmResourceGroupDeployment -ResourceGroupName TestRG1 -DeploymentDebugLogLevel All -TemplateUri 

When setting the DeploymentDebugLogLevel parameter, carefully consider the type of information you are passing in during deployment. By logging information about the request or response, you could potentially expose sensitive data that is retrieved through the deployment operations.

Get information about your resource groups

After creating a resource group, you can use the cmdlets in the Resource Manager module to manage your resource groups.

  • To get a resource group in your subscription, use the Get-AzureRmResourceGroup cmdlet:

      Get-AzureRmResourceGroup -ResourceGroupName TestRG1

    Which returns the following information:

      ResourceGroupName : TestRG1
      Location          : westus
      ProvisioningState : Succeeded
      Tags              :
      ResourceId        : /subscriptions/{guid}/resourceGroups/TestRG

    If you do not specify a resource group name, the cmdlet returns all of the resource groups in your subscription.

  • To get the resources in the resource group, use the Find-AzureRmResource cmdlet and its ResourceGroupNameContains parameter. Without parameters, Find-AzureRmResource gets all resources in your Azure subscription.

      Find-AzureRmResource -ResourceGroupNameContains TestRG1

    Which returns a list of resources formated like:

      Name              : sqlservers5wdai7p2k2g4
      ResourceId        : /subscriptions/{guid}/resourceGroups/TestRG1/providers/Microsoft.Sql/servers/sqlservers5wdai7p2k2g4
      ResourceName      : sqlservers5wdai7p2k2g4
      ResourceType      : Microsoft.Sql/servers
      Kind              : v2.0
      ResourceGroupName : TestRG1
      Location          : westus
      SubscriptionId    : {guid}
      Tags              : {System.Collections.Hashtable}
  • You can use tags to logically organize the resources in your subscription, and retrieve resources with the Find-AzureRmResource and Find-AzureRmResourceGroup cmdlets.

      Find-AzureRmResource -TagName displayName -TagValue Website
      Name              : webSites5wdai7p2k2g4
      ResourceId        : /subscriptions/{guid}/resourceGroups/TestRG1/providers/Microsoft.Web/sites/webSites5wdai7p2k2g4
      ResourceName      : webSites5wdai7p2k2g4
      ResourceType      : Microsoft.Web/sites
      ResourceGroupName : TestRG1
      Location          : westus
      SubscriptionId    : {guid}
    There is much more you can do with tags. For more information, see [Using tags to organize your Azure resources](

Add to a resource group

To add a resource to the resource group, you can use the New-AzureRmResource cmdlet. However, adding a resource this way might cause future confusion because the new resource does not exist in your template. If you re-deployed the old template, you would deploy an incomplete solution. If you are deploying often, you will find it easier and more reliable to add the new resource to your template and re-deploy it.

Move a resource

You can move existing resources to a new resource group. For examples, see Move Resources to New Resource Group or Subscription.

Export template

For an existing resource group (deployed through PowerShell or one of the other methods like the portal), you can view the Resource Manager template for the resource group. Exporting the template offers two benefits:

  1. You can easily automate future deployments of the solution because all of the infrastructure is defined in the template.
  2. You can become familiar with template syntax by looking at the JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) that represents your solution.

Through the PowerShell, you can either generate a template that represents the current state of your resource group, or retrieve the template that was used for a particular deployment.

Exporting the template for a resource group is helpful when you have made changes to a resource group, and need to retrieve the JSON representation of its current state. However, the generated template contains only a minimal number of parameters and no variables. Most of the values in the template are hard-coded. Before deploying the generated template, you may wish to convert more of the values into parameters so you can customize the deployment for different environments.

Exporting the template for a particular deployment is helpful when you need to view the actual template that was used to deploy resources. The template will include all of the parameters and variables defined for the original deployment. However, if someone in your organization has made changes to the resource group outside of what is defined in the template, this template will not represent the current state of the resource group.


The export template feature is in preview, and not all resource types currently support exporting a template. When attempting to export a template, you may see an error that states some resources were not exported. If needed, you can manually define these resources in your template after downloading it.

Export template from resource group

To view the template for a resource group, run the Export-AzureRmResourceGroup cmdlet.

Export-AzureRmResourceGroup -ResourceGroupName TestRG1 -Path c:\Azure\Templates\Downloads\TestRG1.json

Download template from deployment

To download the template used for a particular deployment, run the Save-AzureRmResourceGroupDeploymentTemplate cmdlet.

Save-AzureRmResourceGroupDeploymentTemplate -DeploymentName azuredeploy -ResourceGroupName TestRG1 -Path c:\Azure\Templates\Downloads\azuredeploy.json

Delete resources or resource group

  • To delete a resource from the resource group, use the Remove-AzureRmResource cmdlet. This cmdlet deletes the resource, but does not delete the resource group.

    This command removes the TestSite website from the TestRG1 resource group.

      Remove-AzureRmResource -Name TestSite -ResourceGroupName TestRG1 -ResourceType "Microsoft.Web/sites" -ApiVersion 2015-08-01
  • To delete a resource group, use the Remove-AzureRmResourceGroup cmdlet. This cmdlet deletes the resource group and its resources.

      Remove-AzureRmResourceGroup -Name TestRG1

    You are asked to confirm the deletion.

      Are you sure you want to remove resource group 'TestRG1'
      [Y] Yes  [N] No  [S] Suspend  [?] Help (default is "Y"): Y

Deployment script

The earlier deployment examples in this topic showed only the individual cmdlets needed to deploy resources to Azure. The following example shows a deployment script that creates the resource group, and deploys the resources.

  Deploys a template to Azure

  Deploys an Azure Resource Manager template

  .PARAMETER subscriptionId
  The subscription id where the template will be deployed.

  .PARAMETER resourceGroupName
  The resource group where the template will be deployed. Can be the name of an existing or a new resource group.

  .PARAMETER resourceGroupLocation
  Optional, a resource group location. If specified, will try to create a new resource group in this location. If not specified, assumes resource group is existing.

  .PARAMETER deploymentName
  The deployment name.

  .PARAMETER templateFilePath
  Optional, path to the template file. Defaults to template.json.

  .PARAMETER parametersFilePath
  Optional, path to the parameters file. Defaults to parameters.json. If file is not found, will prompt for parameter values based on template.





  $templateFilePath = "template.json",

  $parametersFilePath = "parameters.json"

# Script body
# Execution begins here 
$ErrorActionPreference = "Stop"

# sign in
Write-Host "Logging in...";

# select subscription
Write-Host "Selecting subscription '$subscriptionId'";
Set-AzureRmContext -SubscriptionID $subscriptionId;

#Create or check for existing resource group
$resourceGroup = Get-AzureRmResourceGroup -Name $resourceGroupName -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
  Write-Host "Resource group '$resourceGroupName' does not exist. To create a new resource group, please enter a location.";
  if(!$resourceGroupLocation) {
    $resourceGroupLocation = Read-Host "resourceGroupLocation";
  Write-Host "Creating resource group '$resourceGroupName' in location '$resourceGroupLocation'";
  New-AzureRmResourceGroup -Name $resourceGroupName -Location $resourceGroupLocation
  Write-Host "Using existing resource group '$resourceGroupName'";

# Start the deployment
Write-Host "Starting deployment...";
if(Test-Path $parametersFilePath) {
  New-AzureRmResourceGroupDeployment -ResourceGroupName $resourceGroupName -TemplateFile $templateFilePath -TemplateParameterFile $parametersFilePath;
} else {
  New-AzureRmResourceGroupDeployment -ResourceGroupName $resourceGroupName -TemplateFile $templateFilePath;

Next Steps