Use CI/CD with Azure Dev Spaces

This article guides you through setting up continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) to Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) with Dev Spaces enabled. CI/CD to AKS allows app updates to be automatically deployed whenever committed code is pushed to your source repository. Using CI/CD in conjunction with a Dev Spaces enabled cluster is useful because it can keep a baseline of the application up-to-date for the team to work with.

Example CI/CD diagram

Although this article guides you with Azure DevOps, the same concepts would apply to CI/CD systems like Jenkins, TeamCity, etc.


Download sample code

For the sake of time, let's create a fork of our sample code GitHub repository. Go to and select Fork. Once the fork process is complete, Clone your forked version of the repository locally. By default the master branch will be checked out, but we've included some time-saving changes in the azds_updates branch, which should also have been transferred during your fork. The azds_updates branch contains updates we ask you to make manually in the Dev Spaces tutorial sections, as well as some pre-made YAML and JSON files for streamlining the deployment of the CI/CD system. You can use a command like git checkout -b azds_updates origin/azds_updates to check out the azds_updates branch in your local repository.

Dev Spaces setup

Create a new space called dev using the azds space select command. The dev space will be used by your CI/CD pipeline to push your code changes. It will also be used to create child spaces based on dev.

azds space select -n dev

When prompted to select a parent dev space, select <none>.

After your dev space has been created, you need to determine the host suffix. Use the azds show-context command to show the host suffix of the Azure Dev Spaces Ingress Controller.

$ azds show-context
Name   ResourceGroup    DevSpace  HostSuffix
-----  ---------------  --------  ----------------------
MyAKS  MyResourceGroup  dev

In the above example, the host suffix is This value is used later when creating your release definition.

The dev space will always contain the latest state of the repository, a baseline, so that developers can create child spaces from dev to test their isolated changes within the context of the larger app. This concept is discussed in more detail in the Dev Spaces tutorials.

Creating the build definition

Open your Azure DevOps team project in a web browser and navigate to the Pipelines section. First, click on your profile photo in the upper right of the Azure DevOps site, open the preview features pane, and disable the New YAML pipeline creation experience:

Opening preview features pane

The option to disable:

New YAML pipeline creation experience option


The Azure DevOps New YAML pipeline creation experience preview feature conflicts with creating pre-defined build pipelines at this time. You need to disable it for now in order to deploy our pre-defined build pipeline.

In the azds_updates branch we've included a simple Azure Pipeline YAML that defines the build steps required for mywebapi and webfrontend.

Depending on the language you've chosen, the pipeline YAML has been checked-in at a path similar to: samples/dotnetcore/getting-started/azure-pipelines.dotnetcore.yml

To create a Pipeline from this file:

  1. On your DevOps project main page, navigate to Pipelines > Builds.
  2. Select the option to create a New build pipeline.
  3. Select GitHub as the source, authorize with your GitHub account if necessary, and select the azds_updates branch from your forked version of the dev-spaces sampleapp repository.
  4. Select Configuration as code, or YAML, as your template.
  5. You are now presented with a configuration page for your build pipeline. As mentioned above navigate to the language-specific path for the YAML file path using the ... button. For example, samples/dotnetcore/getting-started/azure-pipelines.dotnet.yml.
  6. Go to the Variables tab.
  7. Manually add dockerId as a variable, which is the username of your Azure Container Registry administrator account. (Mentioned in the article prerequisites)
  8. Manually add dockerPassword as a variable, which is the password of your Azure Container Registry administrator account. Be sure to specify dockerPassword as a Secret (by selecting the lock icon) for security purposes.
  9. Select Save & queue.

You now have a CI solution that will automatically build mywebapi and webfrontend for any update pushed to the azds_updates branch of your GitHub fork. You can verify the Docker images have been pushed by navigating to the Azure portal, selecting your Azure Container Registry, and browsing the Repositories tab. It may take several minutes for the images to build and appear in your container registry.

Azure Container Registry repositories

Creating the release definition

  1. On your DevOps project main page, navigate to Pipelines > Releases

  2. If you're working in a brand-new DevOps Project that doesn't yet contain a release definition, you'll need to first create an empty release definition before proceeding. The Import option doesn't display in the UI until you have an existing release definition.

  3. On the left, click the + New button, then click Import a pipeline.

  4. Click Browse and select samples/release.json from your project.

  5. Click OK. Notice the Pipeline pane has loaded with the release definition edit page. Also notice there are some red warning icons indicating cluster-specific details that still must be configured.

  6. On the left of the Pipeline pane, click the Add an artifact bubble.

  7. In the Source dropdown, select the build pipeline you created earlier.

  8. For the Default version, choose Latest from the build pipeline default branch with tags.

  9. Leave Tags empty.

  10. Set the Source alias to drop. The Source alias value is used by the predefined release tasks so it must be set.

  11. Click Add.

  12. Now click the lightning bolt icon on the newly created drop artifact source, as shown below:

    Release artifact continuous deployment setup

  13. Enable the Continuous deployment trigger.

  14. Hover over the Tasks tab next to Pipeline and click dev to edit the dev stage tasks.

  15. Verify Azure Resource Manager is selected under Connection Type. and you see the three dropdown controls highlighted in red: Release definition setup

  16. Select the Azure subscription you're using with Azure Dev Spaces. You also may need to click Authorize.

  17. Select the resource group and cluster you're using with Azure Dev Spaces.

  18. Click on Agent job.

  19. Select Hosted Ubuntu 1604 under Agent pool.

  20. Hover over the Tasks selector at the top, click prod to edit the prod stage tasks.

  21. Verify Azure Resource Manager is selected under Connection Type. and select the Azure subscription, resource group, and cluster you're using with Azure Dev Spaces.

  22. Click on Agent job.

  23. Select Hosted Ubuntu 1604 under Agent pool.

  24. Click the Variables tab to update the variables for your release.

  25. Update the value of DevSpacesHostSuffix from UPDATE_ME to your host suffix. The host suffix is displayed when you ran the azds show-context command earlier.

  26. Click Save in the upper-right, and OK.

  27. Click + Release (next to the Save button), and Create a release.

  28. Under Artifacts, verify the latest build from your build pipeline is selected.

  29. Click Create.

An automated release process will now begin, deploying the mywebapi and webfrontend charts to your Kubernetes cluster in the dev top-level space. You can monitor the progress of your release on the Azure DevOps web portal:

  1. Navigate to the Releases section under Pipelines.
  2. Click on the release pipeline for the sample application.
  3. Click on the name of the latest release.
  4. Hover over dev box under Stages and click Logs.

The release is done when all tasks are complete.


If your release fails with an error message like UPGRADE FAILED: timed out waiting for the condition, try inspecting the pods in your cluster using the Kubernetes dashboard. If you see the pods are failing to start with error messages like Failed to pull image "": rpc error: code = Unknown desc = Error response from daemon: Get unauthorized: authentication required, it may be because your cluster has not been authorized to pull from your Azure Container Registry. Make sure you have completed the Authorize your AKS cluster to pull from your Azure Container Registry prerequisite.

You now have a fully automated CI/CD pipeline for your GitHub fork of the Dev Spaces sample apps. Each time you commit and push code, the build pipeline will build and push the mywebapi and webfrontend images to your custom ACR instance. Then the release pipeline will deploy the Helm chart for each app into the dev space on your Dev Spaces-enabled cluster.

Accessing your dev services

After deployment, the dev version of webfrontend can be accessed with a public URL like: You can find this URL by running the azds list-uri command:

$ azds list-uris

Uri                                           Status
--------------------------------------------  ---------  Available

Deploying to Production

To manually promote a particular release to prod using the CI/CD system created in this tutorial:

  1. Navigate to the Releases section under Pipelines.
  2. Click on the release pipeline for the sample application.
  3. Click on the name of the latest release.
  4. Hover over the prod box under Stages and click Deploy. Promote to production
  5. Hover over prod box again under Stages and click Logs.

The release is done when all tasks are complete.

The prod stage of the CI/CD pipeline uses a load balancer instead of the Dev Spaces Ingress controller to provide access to prod services. Services deployed in the prod stage are accessible as IP addresses instead of DNS names. In a production environment, you may choose to create your own Ingress controller to host your services based on your own DNS configuration.

To determine the IP of the webfrontend service, click on the Print webfrontend public IP step to expand the log output. Use the IP displayed in the log output to access the webfrontend application.

2019-02-25T22:53:02.3237187Z webfrontend can be accessed at
2019-02-25T22:53:02.3320366Z ##[section]Finishing: Print webfrontend public IP

Dev Spaces instrumentation in production

Although Dev Spaces instrumentation has been designed not to get in the way of normal operation of your application, we recommend running your production workloads in a Kubernetes namespace that is not enabled with Dev Spaces. Using this type of Kubernetes namespace means you should either create your production namespace using the kubectl CLI, or allow your CI/CD system to create it during the first Helm deployment. Selecting or otherwise creating a space using Dev Spaces tooling will add Dev Spaces instrumentation to that namespace.

Here is an example namespace structure that supports feature development, the 'dev' environment, and production, all in a single Kubernetes cluster:

Example namespace structure


If you've already created a prod space, and would simply like to exclude it from Dev Spaces instrumentation (without deleting it!), you can do so with the following Dev Spaces CLI command:

azds space remove -n prod --no-delete

You may need to delete all pods in the prod namespace after doing this so they can be recreated without Dev Spaces instrumentation.

Next steps