Variable iteration in ARM templates

This article shows you how to create more than one value for a variable in your Azure Resource Manager (ARM) template. By adding the copy element to the variables section of your template, you can dynamically set the number of items for a variable during deployment. You also avoid having to repeat template syntax.

You can also use copy with resources, properties in a resource, and outputs.

Syntax

The copy element has the following general format:

"copy": [
  {
    "name": "<name-of-loop>",
    "count": <number-of-iterations>,
    "input": <values-for-the-variable>
  }
]

The name property is any value that identifies the loop. The count property specifies the number of iterations you want for the variable.

The input property specifies the properties that you want to repeat. You create an array of elements constructed from the value in the input property. It can be a single property (like a string), or an object with several properties.

Copy limits

The count can't exceed 800.

The count can't be a negative number. It can be zero if you deploy the template with a recent version of Azure CLI, PowerShell, or REST API. Specifically, you must use:

  • Azure PowerShell 2.6 or later
  • Azure CLI 2.0.74 or later
  • REST API version 2019-05-10 or later
  • Linked deployments must use API version 2019-05-10 or later for the deployment resource type

Earlier versions of PowerShell, CLI, and the REST API don't support zero for count.

Variable iteration

The following example shows how to create an array of string values:

{
    "$schema": "https://schema.management.azure.com/schemas/2019-04-01/deploymentTemplate.json#",
    "contentVersion": "1.0.0.0",
    "parameters": {
        "itemCount": {
            "type": "int",
            "defaultValue": 5
        }
     },
    "variables": {
        "copy": [
            {
                "name": "stringArray",
                "count": "[parameters('itemCount')]",
                "input": "[concat('item', copyIndex('stringArray', 1))]"
            }
        ]
    },
    "resources": [],
    "outputs": {
        "arrayResult": {
            "type": "array",
            "value": "[variables('stringArray')]"
        }
    }
}

The preceding template returns an array with the following values:

[
    "item1",
    "item2",
    "item3",
    "item4",
    "item5"
]

The next example shows how to create an array of objects with three properties - name, diskSizeGB, and diskIndex.

{
    "$schema": "https://schema.management.azure.com/schemas/2019-04-01/deploymentTemplate.json#",
    "contentVersion": "1.0.0.0",
    "parameters": {
        "itemCount": {
            "type": "int",
            "defaultValue": 5
        }
    },
    "variables": {
        "copy": [
            {
                "name": "objectArray",
                "count": "[parameters('itemCount')]",
                "input": {
                    "name": "[concat('myDataDisk', copyIndex('objectArray', 1))]",
                    "diskSizeGB": "1",
                    "diskIndex": "[copyIndex('objectArray')]"
                }
            }
        ]
    },
    "resources": [],
    "outputs": {
        "arrayResult": {
            "type": "array",
            "value": "[variables('objectArray')]"
        }
    }
}

The preceding example returns an array with the following values:

[
    {
        "name": "myDataDisk1",
        "diskSizeGB": "1",
        "diskIndex": 0
    },
    {
        "name": "myDataDisk2",
        "diskSizeGB": "1",
        "diskIndex": 1
    },
    {
        "name": "myDataDisk3",
        "diskSizeGB": "1",
        "diskIndex": 2
    },
    {
        "name": "myDataDisk4",
        "diskSizeGB": "1",
        "diskIndex": 3
    },
    {
        "name": "myDataDisk5",
        "diskSizeGB": "1",
        "diskIndex": 4
    }
]

Note

Variable iteration supports an offset argument. The offset must come after the name of the iteration, such as copyIndex('diskNames', 1). If you don't provide an offset value, it defaults to 0 for the first instance.

You can also use the copy element within a variable. The following example creates an object that has an array as one of its values.

{
    "$schema": "https://schema.management.azure.com/schemas/2019-04-01/deploymentTemplate.json#",
    "contentVersion": "1.0.0.0",
    "parameters": {
        "itemCount": {
            "type": "int",
            "defaultValue": 5
        }
    },
    "variables": {
        "topLevelObject": {
            "sampleProperty": "sampleValue",
            "copy": [
                {
                    "name": "disks",
                    "count": "[parameters('itemCount')]",
                    "input": {
                        "name": "[concat('myDataDisk', copyIndex('disks', 1))]",
                        "diskSizeGB": "1",
                        "diskIndex": "[copyIndex('disks')]"
                    }
                }
            ]
        }
    },
    "resources": [],
    "outputs": {
        "objectResult": {
            "type": "object",
            "value": "[variables('topLevelObject')]"
        }
    }
}

The preceding example returns an object with the following values:

{
    "sampleProperty": "sampleValue",
    "disks": [
        {
            "name": "myDataDisk1",
            "diskSizeGB": "1",
            "diskIndex": 0
        },
        {
            "name": "myDataDisk2",
            "diskSizeGB": "1",
            "diskIndex": 1
        },
        {
            "name": "myDataDisk3",
            "diskSizeGB": "1",
            "diskIndex": 2
        },
        {
            "name": "myDataDisk4",
            "diskSizeGB": "1",
            "diskIndex": 3
        },
        {
            "name": "myDataDisk5",
            "diskSizeGB": "1",
            "diskIndex": 4
        }
    ]
}

The next example shows the different ways you can use copy with variables.

{
  "$schema": "https://schema.management.azure.com/schemas/2019-04-01/deploymentTemplate.json#",
  "contentVersion": "1.0.0.0",
  "parameters": {},
  "variables": {
    "disk-array-on-object": {
      "copy": [
        {
          "name": "disks",
          "count": 5,
          "input": {
            "name": "[concat('myDataDisk', copyIndex('disks', 1))]",
            "diskSizeGB": "1",
            "diskIndex": "[copyIndex('disks')]"
          }
        },
        {
          "name": "diskNames",
          "count": 5,
          "input": "[concat('myDataDisk', copyIndex('diskNames', 1))]"
        }
      ]
    },
    "copy": [
      {
        "name": "top-level-object-array",
        "count": 5,
        "input": {
          "name": "[concat('myDataDisk', copyIndex('top-level-object-array', 1))]",
          "diskSizeGB": "1",
          "diskIndex": "[copyIndex('top-level-object-array')]"
        }
      },
      {
        "name": "top-level-string-array",
        "count": 5,
        "input": "[concat('myDataDisk', copyIndex('top-level-string-array', 1))]"
      },
      {
        "name": "top-level-integer-array",
        "count": 5,
        "input": "[copyIndex('top-level-integer-array')]"
      }
    ]
  },
  "resources": [],
  "outputs": {
    "exampleObject": {
      "value": "[variables('disk-array-on-object')]",
      "type": "object"
    },
    "exampleArrayOnObject": {
      "value": "[variables('disk-array-on-object').disks]",
      "type" : "array"
    },
    "exampleObjectArray": {
      "value": "[variables('top-level-object-array')]",
      "type" : "array"
    },
    "exampleStringArray": {
      "value": "[variables('top-level-string-array')]",
      "type" : "array"
    },
    "exampleIntegerArray": {
      "value": "[variables('top-level-integer-array')]",
      "type" : "array"
    }
  }
}

Example templates

The following examples show common scenarios for creating more than one value for a variable.

Template Description
Copy variables Demonstrates the different ways of iterating on variables.
Multiple security rules Deploys several security rules to a network security group. It constructs the security rules from a parameter. For the parameter, see multiple NSG parameter file.

Next steps