Microsoft-hosted agents

Microsoft-hosted agents are only available with Azure DevOps. You cannot use Microsoft-hosted agents or the Azure Pipelines agent pool with TFS or Azure DevOps Server. With these server versions, you must use self-hosted agents.

If your pipelines are in Azure Pipelines, then you've got a convenient option to run your jobs using a Microsoft-hosted agent. With Microsoft-hosted agents, maintenance and upgrades are taken care of for you. Each time you run a pipeline, you get a fresh virtual machine. The virtual machine is discarded after one use. Microsoft-hosted agents can run jobs directly on the VM or in a container.

Azure Pipelines provides a pre-defined agent pool named Azure Pipelines with Microsoft-hosted agents.

For many teams this is the simplest way to run your jobs. You can try it first and see if it works for your build or deployment. If not, you can use a self-hosted agent.

Tip

You can try a Microsoft-hosted agent for no charge.

Software

The Azure Pipelines agent pool offers several virtual machine images to choose from, each including a broad range of tools and software.

Image Classic Editor Agent Specification YAML VM Image Label Included Software
Windows Server 2019 with Visual Studio 2019 windows-2019 windows-latest OR windows-2019 Link
Windows Server 2016 with Visual Studio 2017 vs2017-win2016 vs2017-win2016 Link
Ubuntu 18.04 ubuntu-18.04 ubuntu-latest OR ubuntu-18.04 Link
Ubuntu 16.04 ubuntu-16.04 ubuntu-16.04 Link
macOS X Mojave 10.14 macOS-10.14 macOS-10.14 Link
macOS X Catalina 10.15 macOS-10.15 macOS-latest OR macOS-10.15 Link

You can see the installed software for each hosted agent by choosing the Included Software link in the table. When using macOS images, you can manually select from tool versions. See below.

Note

In March 2020, we removed the following Azure Pipelines hosted images:

Customers are encouraged to migrate to vs2017-win2016, macOS-10.14, or a self-hosted agent respectively.

For more information and instructions on how to update your pipelines that use those images, see Removing older images in Azure Pipelines hosted pools.

Note

The Azure Pipelines hosted pool replaces the previous hosted pools that had names that mapped to the corresponding images. Any jobs you had in the previous hosted pools are automatically redirected to the correct image in the new Azure Pipelines hosted pool. In some circumstances, you may still see the old pool names, but behind the scenes the hosted jobs are run using the Azure Pipelines pool. For more information about this update, see the Single hosted pool release notes from the July 1 2019 - Sprint 154 release notes.

Important

To request additional software to be installed on Microsoft-hosted agents, don't create a feedback request on this document or open a support ticket. Instead, open an issue on our repository, where we manage the scripts to generate various images.

Use a Microsoft-hosted agent

In YAML pipelines, if you do not specify a pool, pipelines will default to the Azure Pipelines agent pool. You simply need to specify which virtual machine image you want to use.

jobs:
- job: Linux
  pool:
    vmImage: 'ubuntu-latest'
  steps:
  - script: echo hello from Linux
- job: macOS
  pool:
    vmImage: 'macOS-latest'
  steps:
  - script: echo hello from macOS
- job: Windows
  pool:
    vmImage: 'windows-latest'
  steps:
  - script: echo hello from Windows

Note

The specification of a pool can be done at multiple levels in a YAML file. If you notice that your pipeline is not running on the expected image, make sure that you verify the pool specification at the pipeline, stage, and job levels.

Avoid hard-coded references

When you use a Microsoft-hosted agent, always use variables to refer to the build environment and agent resources. For example, don't hard-code the drive letter or folder that contains the repository. The precise layout of the hosted agents is subject to change without warning.

Hardware

Microsoft-hosted agents that run Windows and Linux images are provisioned on Azure general purpose virtual machines Standard_DS2_v2. These virtual machines are colocated in the same geography as your Azure DevOps organization.

Agents that run macOS images are provisioned on Mac pros. These agents always run in US and Europe irrespective of the location of your Azure DevOps organization. If data sovereignty is important to you and if your organization is not in one of these geographies, then you should not use macOS images. Learn more.

All of these machines have 10 GB of free disk space available for your pipelines to run. This free space is consumed when your pipeline checks out source code, downloads packages, pulls docker images, or generates intermediate files.

Important

We cannot honor requests to increase disk space on Microsoft-hosted agents, or to provision more powerful machines. If the specifications of Microsoft-hosted agents do not meet your needs, then you should consider self-hosted agents or scale set agents.

Networking

In some setups, you may need to know the range of IP addresses where agents are deployed. For instance, if you need to grant the hosted agents access through a firewall, you may wish to restrict that access by IP address. Because Azure DevOps uses the Azure global network, IP ranges vary over time. We publish a weekly JSON file listing IP ranges for Azure datacenters, broken out by region. This file is published every Wednesday with new planned IP ranges. The new IP ranges become effective the following Monday. We recommend that you check back frequently to ensure you keep an up-to-date list. If agent jobs begin to fail, a key first troubleshooting step is to make sure your configuration matches the latest list of IP addresses. The IP address ranges for the hosted agents are listed in the weekly file under AzureCloud.<region>, such as AzureCloud.westus for the West US region.

Your hosted agents run in the same Azure geography as your organization. Each geography contains one or more regions. While your agent may run in the same region as your organization, it is not guaranteed to do so. To obtain the complete list of possible IP ranges for your agent, you must use the IP ranges from all of the regions that are contained in your geography. For example, if your organization is located in the United States geography, you must use the IP ranges for all of the regions in that geography.

To determine your geography, navigate to https://dev.azure.com/<your_organization>/_settings/organizationOverview, get your region, and find the associated geography from the Azure geography table. Once you have identified your geography, use the IP ranges from the weekly file for all regions in that geography.

Important

You cannot use private connections such as ExpressRoute or VPN to connect Microsoft-hosted agents to your corporate network. The traffic between Microsoft-hosted agents and your servers will be over public network.

To identify the possible IP ranges for Microsoft-hosted agents

  1. Identify the region for your organization in Organization settings.
  2. Identify the Azure Geography for your organization's region.
  3. Map the names of the regions in your geography to the format used in the weekly file, following the format of AzureCloud.<region>, such as AzureCloud.westus. You can map the names of the regions from the Azure Geography list to the format used in the weekly file by reviewing the region names passed to the constructor of the regions defined in the source code for the Region class, from the Azure Management Libraries for .NET.

    Note

    Since there is no API in the Azure Management Libraries for .NET to list the regions for a geography, you must list them manually as shown in the following example.

  4. Retrieve the IP addresses for all regions in your geography from the weekly file. If your region is Brazil South or West Europe, you must include additional IP ranges based on your fallback geography, as described in the following note.

Note

Due to capacity restrictions, some organizations in the Brazil South or West Europe regions may occasionally see their hosted agents located outside their expected geography. In these cases, in addition to including the IP ranges as described in the previous section, additional IP ranges must be included for the regions in the capacity fallback geography.

If your organization is in the Brazil South region, your capacity fallback geography is United States.

If your organization is in the West Europe region, the capacity fallback geography is France.

Our Mac IP ranges are not included in the Azure IPs above, though we are investigating options to publish these in the future.

Example

In the following example, the hosted agent IP address ranges for an organization in the West US region are retrieved from the weekly file. Since the West US region is in the United States geography, the IP addresses for all regions in the United States geography are included. In this example, the IP addresses are written to the console.

using Newtonsoft.Json.Linq;
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.IO;
using System.Linq;

namespace WeeklyFileIPRanges
{
    class Program
    {
        // Path to the locally saved weekly file
        const string weeklyFilePath = @"C:\MyPath\ServiceTags_Public_20200504.json";

        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            // United States geography has the following regions:
            // Central US, East US 2, East US, North Central US, 
            // South Central US, West Central US, West US, West US 2
            List<string> USGeographyRegions = new List<string>
            {
                "centralus",
                "eastus",
                "eastus2",
                "northcentralus",
                "southcentralus",
                "westcentralus",
                "westus",
                "westus2"
            };

            // Load the weekly file
            JObject weeklyFile = JObject.Parse(File.ReadAllText(weeklyFilePath));
            JArray values = (JArray)weeklyFile["values"];

            foreach (string region in USGeographyRegions)
            {
                string azureCloudRegion = $"AzureCloud.{region}";
                Console.WriteLine(azureCloudRegion);

                var ipList =
                    from v in values
                    where (string)v["name"] == azureCloudRegion
                    select v["properties"]["addressPrefixes"];

                foreach (var ip in ipList.Children())
                {
                    Console.WriteLine(ip);
                }
            }
        }
    }
}

Service tags

Microsoft-hosted agents can't be listed by service tags. If you're trying to grant hosted agents access to your resources, you'll need to follow the IP range allow listing method.

Security

Microsoft-hosted agents run on secure Azure platform. However, you must be aware of the following security considerations.

  • Although Microsoft-hosted agents run on Azure public network, they are not assigned public IP addresses. So, external entities cannot target Microsoft-hosted agents.
  • Microsoft-hosted agents are run in individual VMs, which are re-imaged after each run. Each agent is dedicated to a single organization, and each VM hosts only a single agent.
  • There are several benefits to running your pipeline on Microsoft-hosted agents, from a security perspective. If you run untrusted code in your pipeline, such as contributions from forks, it is safer to run the pipeline on Microsoft-hosted agents than on self-hosted agents that reside in your corporate network.
  • When a pipeline needs to access your corporate resources behind a firewall, you have to whitelist the IP address range for the Azure geography. This may increase your exposure as the range of IP addresses is rather large and since machines in this range can belong to other customers as well. The best way to prevent this is to avoid the need to access internal resources.
  • Hosted images do not conform to CIS hardening benchmarks. To use CIS-hardened images, you must create either self-hosted agents or scale-set agents.

Capabilities and limitations

Microsoft-hosted agents:

  • Have the above software. You can also add software during your build or release using tool installer tasks.
  • Provide 10 GB of storage for your source and build outputs.
  • Provide a free tier:
    • Public project: 10 free Microsoft-hosted parallel jobs that can run for up to 360 minutes (6 hours) each time, with no overall time limit per month. Contact us to get your free tier limits increased.
    • Private project: One free parallel job that can run for up to 60 minutes each time, until you've used 1,800 minutes (30 hours) per month. You can pay for additional capacity per parallel job. Paid parallel jobs remove the monthly time limit and allow you to run each job for up to 360 minutes (6 hours). Buy Microsoft-hosted parallel jobs.
  • Run on Microsoft Azure general purpose virtual machines Standard_DS2_v2
  • Run as an administrator on Windows and a passwordless sudo user on Linux
  • (Linux only) Run steps in a cgroup that offers 6 GB of physical memory and 13 GB of total memory

Microsoft-hosted agents do not offer:

  • The ability to remotely connect.
  • The ability to drop artifacts to a UNC file share.
  • The ability to join machines directly to your corporate network.
  • The ability to get bigger or more powerful build machines.
  • The ability to pre-install custom software (other than through tool installer tasks in your pipeline).
  • Potential performance advantages that you might get by using self-hosted agents that might start and run builds faster. Learn more
  • The ability to run XAML builds.

If Microsoft-hosted agents don't meet your needs, then you can deploy your own self-hosted agents or use scale set agents.

FAQ

How can I see what software is included in an image?

You can see the installed software for each hosted agent by choosing the Included Software link in the Use a Microsoft-hosted agent table.

How does Microsoft choose the software and versions to put on the image?

More information about the versions of software included on the images can be found at Guidelines for what's installed.

When are the images updated?

Images are typically updated weekly. You can check the status badges which are in the format 20200113.x where the first part indicates the date the image was updated.

What can I do if software I need is removed or replaced with a newer version?

You can let us know by filing a GitHub issue by choosing the Included Software links in the Use a Microsoft-hosted agent table.

You can also use a self-hosted agent that includes the exact versions of software that you need. For more information, see Self-hosted agents.

What if I need a bigger machine with more processing power, memory, or disk space?

We can't increase the memory, processing power, or disk space for Microsoft-hosted agents, but you can use self-hosted agents or scale set agents hosted on machines with your desired specifications.

I can't select a Microsoft-hosted agent and I can't queue my build or deployment. What should I do?

Microsoft-hosted agents are only available in Azure Pipelines and not in TFS or Azure DevOps Server.

By default, all project contributors in an organization have access to the Microsoft-hosted agents. But, your organization administrator may limit the access of Microsoft-hosted agents to select users or projects. Ask the owner of your Azure DevOps organization to grant you permission to use a Microsoft-hosted agent. See agent pool security.

My pipelines running on Microsoft-hosted agents take more time to complete. How can I speed them up?

If your pipeline has recently become slower, review our status page for any outages. We could be having issues with our service. Or else, review any changes that you made in your application code or pipeline. Your repository size during check-out might have increased, you may be uploading larger artifacts, or you may be running more tests.

If you are just setting up a pipeline and are comparing the performance of Microsoft-hosted agents to your local machine or a self-hosted agent, then note the specifications of the hardware that we use to run your jobs. We are unable to provide you with bigger or powerful machines. You can consider using self-hosted agents or scale set agents if this performance is not acceptable.

I need more agents. What can I do?

All Azure DevOps organizations are provided with several free parallel jobs for open-source projects, and one free parallel job and limited minutes each month for private projects. If you need additional minutes or parallel jobs for your open-source project, contact support. If you need additional minutes or parallel jobs for your private project, then you can buy more.

My pipeline succeeds on self-hosted agent, but fails on Microsoft-hosted agents. What should I do?

Your self-hosted agent probably has all the right dependencies installed on it, whereas the same dependencies, tools, and software are not installed on Microsoft-hosted agents. First, carefully review the list of software that is installed on Microsoft-hosted agents by following the link to Included software in the table above. Then, compare that with the software installed on your self-hosted agent. In some cases, Microsoft-hosted agents may have the tools that you need (for example, Visual Studio), but all of the necessary optional components may not have been installed. If you find differences, then you have two options:

My build succeeds on my local machine, but fails on Microsoft-hosted agents. What should I do?

Your local machine probably has all the right dependencies installed on it, whereas the same dependencies, tools, and software are not installed on Microsoft-hosted agents. First, carefully review the list of software that is installed on Microsoft-hosted agents by following the link to Included software in the table above. Then, compare that with the software installed on your local machine. In some cases, Microsoft-hosted agents may have the tools that you need (e.g., Visual Studio), but all of the necessary optional components may not have been installed. If you find differences, then you have two options:

  • You can create a new issue on the repository, where we track requests for additional software. This is your best bet for getting new software installed. Contacting support will not help you with setting up new software on Microsoft-hosted agents.

  • You can use self-hosted agents or scale set agents. With these agents, you are fully in control of the images that are used to run your pipelines.

My pipeline fails with the error: "no space left on device".

Microsoft-hosted agents only have 10 GB of disk space available for running your job. This space is consumed when you check out source code, when you download packages, when you download docker images, or when you produce intermediate files. Unfortunately, we cannot increase the free space available on Microsoft-hosted images. You can restructure your pipeline so that it can fit into this space. Or, you can consider using self-hosted agents or scale set agents.

My pipeline running on Microsoft-hosted agents requires access to servers on our corporate network? How do we get a list of IP addresses to whitelist in our firewall?

See the section Agent IP ranges

Our pipeline running on Microsoft-hosted agents is unable to resolve the name of a server on our corporate network. How can we fix this?

If you refer to the server by its DNS name, then make sure that your server is publicly accessible on the Internet through its DNS name. If you refer to your server by its IP address, make sure that the IP address is publicly accessible on the Internet. In both cases, ensure that any firewall in between the agents and your corporate network has the agent IP ranges whitelisted.

How can I manually select versions of tools on the Hosted macOS agent?

Xamarin

To manually select a Xamarin SDK version to use on the Hosted macOS agent, before your Xamarin build task, execute this command line as part of your build, replacing the Mono version number 5.4.1 as needed (also replacing '.' characters with underscores: '_'). Choose the Mono version that is associated with the Xamarin SDK version that you need.

/bin/bash -c "sudo $AGENT_HOMEDIRECTORY/scripts/select-xamarin-sdk.sh 5_4_1"

Mono versions associated with Xamarin SDK versions on the Hosted macOS agent can be found here.

This command does not select the Mono version beyond the Xamarin SDK. To manually select a Mono version, see instructions below.

In case you are using a non-default version of Xcode for building your Xamarin.iOS or Xamarin.Mac apps, you should additionally execute this command line:

/bin/bash -c "echo '##vso[task.setvariable variable=MD_APPLE_SDK_ROOT;]'$(xcodeRoot);sudo xcode-select --switch $(xcodeRoot)/Contents/Developer"

where $(xcodeRoot) = /Applications/Xcode_10.1.app

Xcode versions on the Hosted macOS agent pool can be found here.

Xcode

If you use the Xcode task included with Azure Pipelines and TFS, you can select a version of Xcode in that task's properties. Otherwise, to manually set the Xcode version to use on the Hosted macOS agent pool, before your xcodebuild build task, execute this command line as part of your build, replacing the Xcode version number 8.3.3 as needed:

/bin/bash -c "sudo xcode-select -s /Applications/Xcode_8.3.3.app/Contents/Developer"

Xcode versions on the Hosted macOS agent pool can be found here.

This command does not work for Xamarin apps. To manually select an Xcode version for building Xamarin apps, see instructions above.

Mono

To manually select a Mono version to use on the Hosted macOS agent pool, before your Mono build task, execute this script in each job of your build, replacing the Mono version number 5.4.1 as needed:

SYMLINK=5_4_1
MONOPREFIX=/Library/Frameworks/Mono.framework/Versions/$SYMLINK
echo "##vso[task.setvariable variable=DYLD_FALLBACK_LIBRARY_PATH;]$MONOPREFIX/lib:/lib:/usr/lib:$DYLD_LIBRARY_FALLBACK_PATH"
echo "##vso[task.setvariable variable=PKG_CONFIG_PATH;]$MONOPREFIX/lib/pkgconfig:$MONOPREFIX/share/pkgconfig:$PKG_CONFIG_PATH"
echo "##vso[task.setvariable variable=PATH;]$MONOPREFIX/bin:$PATH"

.NET Core

.NET Core 2.2.105 is default on VM images but Mono version 6.0 or greater requires .NET Core 2.2.300+. If you use the Mono 6.0 or greater, you will have to override .NET Core version using .NET Core Tool Installer task.

Boost

The VM images contain prebuilt Boost libraries with their headers in the directory designated by BOOST_ROOT environment variable. In order to include the Boost headers, the path $BOOST_ROOT/include should be added to the search paths.

Example of g++ invocation with Boost libraries:

g++ -I "$BOOST_ROOT/include" ...

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