Deploy your app to Linux VMs using Jenkins and Team Services

Continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD) is a pipeline by which you can build, release, and deploy your code. Team Services provides a complete, fully featured set of CI/CD automation tools for deployment to Azure. Jenkins is a popular 3rd-party CI/CD server-based tool that also provides CI/CD automation. You can use both together to customize how you deliver your cloud app or service.

In this tutorial, you use Jenkins to build a Node.js web app, and Visual Studio Team Services to deploy it to a deployment group containing Linux virtual machines.

You will:

  • Build your app in Jenkins
  • Configure Jenkins for Team Services integration
  • Create a deployment group for the Azure virtual machines
  • Create a release definition that configures the VMs and deploys the app

Before you begin

Get the sample app

You need an app to deploy stored in a Git repository. For this tutorial, we recommend you use this sample app available from GitHub.

  1. Create a fork of this app and take note of the location (URL) for use in later steps of this tutorial.

  2. Make the fork public to simplify connecting to GitHub later.


For more information, see Fork a repo and Making a private repository public.


The app was built using Yeoman; it uses Express, bower, and grunt; and it has some npm packages as dependencies. The sample app contains a set of Azure Resource Manager templates that are used to dynamically create the virtual machines for deployment on Azure. These templates are used by tasks in the Team Services release definition. The main template creates a network security group, a virtual machine, and a virtual network. It assigns a public IP address and opens inbound port 80. It also adds a tag that is used by the deployment group to select the machines to receive the deployment.

The sample also contains a script that sets up Nginx and deploys the app. It is executed on each of the virtual machines. Specifically, the script installs Node, Nginx, and PM2; configures Nginx and PM2; then starts the Node app.

Configure Jenkins plugins

First, you must configure two Jenkins plugins for NodeJS and Integration with Team Services.

  1. Open your Jenkins account and choose Manage Jenkins.

  2. In the Manage Jenkins page, choose Manage Plugins.

  3. Filter the list to locate the NodeJS plugin and install it without restart.

    Adding the NodeJS plugin to Jenkins

  4. Filter the list to find the Team Foundation Server plugin and install it. (This plug-in works for both Team Services and Team Foundation Server.) Restarting Jenkins is not necessary.

Configure Jenkins build for Node.js

In Jenkins, create a new build project and configure it as follows:

  1. In the General tab, enter a name for your build project.

  2. In the Source Code Management tab, select Git and enter the details of the repository and the branch containing your app code.

    Add a repo to your build


    If your repository is not public, choose Add and provide credentials to connect to it.

  3. In the Build Triggers tab, select Poll SCM and enter the schedule H/03 * * * * to poll the Git repository for changes every three minutes.

  4. In the Build Environment tab, select Provide Node & npm bin/ folder PATH and enter NodeJS for the Node JS Installation value. Leave npmrc file set to "use system default."

  5. In the Build tab, enter the command npm install to ensure all dependencies are updated.

Configure Jenkins for Team Services integration

  1. In the Post-build Actions tab, for Files to archive, enter **/* to include all files.

  2. For Trigger release in TFS/Team Services, enter the full URL of your account (such as, the project name, a name for the release definition (created later), and the credentials to connect to your account. You need your user name and the PAT you created earlier.

    Configuring Jenkins Post-build Actions

  3. Save the build project.

Create a Jenkins service endpoint

A service endpoint allows Team Services to connect to Jenkins.

  1. Open the Services page in Team Services, open the New Service Endpoint list, and choose Jenkins.

    Add a Jenkins endpoint

  2. Enter a name you will use to refer to this connection.

  3. Enter the URL of your Jenkins server, and tick the Accept untrusted SSL certificates option.

  4. Enter the user name and password for your Jenkins account.

  5. Choose Verify connection to check that the information is correct.

  6. Choose OK to create the service endpoint.

Create a deployment group

You need a deployment group to contain the virtual machines.

  1. Open the Releases tab of the Build & Release hub, then open the Deployment groups tab, and choose + New.

  2. Enter a name for the deployment group, and an optional description. Then choose Create.

The Azure Resource Group Deployment task creates and registers the VMs when it runs using the Azure Resource Manager template. You don't need to create and register the virtual machines yourself.

Create a release definition

A release definition specifies the process Team Services will execute to deploy the app. To create the release definition in Team Services:

  1. Open the Releases tab of the Build & Release hub, open the + drop-down in the list of release definitions, and choose the Create release definition.

  2. Select the Empty template and choose Next.

  3. In the Artifacts section, click on Link an Artifact and choose Jenkins. Select your Jenkins service endpoint connection. Then select the Jenkins source job and choose Create.

  4. In the new release definition, choose + Add tasks and add an Azure Resource Group Deployment task to the default environment.

  5. Choose the drop down arrow next to the + Add tasks link and add a deployment group phase to the definition.

    Adding a deployment group phase

  6. In the Task catalog, open the Utility section and add an instance of the Shell Script task.

  7. The parameters template used in the Azure Resource Group Deployment task sets the admin password used to connect to the VMs. You provide this password with the variable $(adminpassword):

    • Open the Variables tab and, in the Variables section, enter the name adminpassword.

    • Enter the administrator password.

    • Choose the "padlock" icon next to the value textbox to protect the password.

Configure the Azure Resource Group Deployment task

The Azure Resource Group Deployment task is used to create the deployment group. Configure it as follows:

  • Azure Subscription: Select a connection from the list under Available Azure Service Connections. If no connections appear, choose Manage, select New Service Endpoint then Azure Resource Manager, and follow the prompts. Return to your release definition, refresh the AzureRM Subscription list, and select the connection you created.

  • Resource group: Enter a name of the resource group you created earlier.

  • Location: Select a region for the deployment.

    Create a new resource group

  • Template location: URL of the file

  • Template link: {your-git-repo}/ARM-Templates/UbuntuWeb1.json

  • Template parameters link: {your-git-repo}/ARM-Templates/UbuntuWeb1.parameters.json

  • Override template parameters: A list of the override values, for example: -location {location} -virtualMachineName {machine] -virtualMachineSize Standard_DS1_v2 -adminUsername {username} -virtualNetworkName fabrikam-node-rg-vnet -networkInterfaceName fabrikam-node-websvr1 -networkSecurityGroupName fabrikam-node-websvr1-nsg -adminPassword $(adminpassword) -diagnosticsStorageAccountName fabrikamnodewebsvr1 -diagnosticsStorageAccountId Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts/fabrikamnodewebsvr1 -diagnosticsStorageAccountType Standard_LRS -addressPrefix -subnetName default -subnetPrefix -publicIpAddressName fabrikam-node-websvr1-ip -publicIpAddressType Dynamic.
    Insert your own specific values for the {placeholders}.

  • Enable prerequisites: Configure with Deployment Group agent

  • TFS/VSTS endpoint: Choose Add and, in the "Add new Team Foundation Server/Team Services Connection" dialog, select Token Based Authentication. Enter a name of the connection and the URL of your team project. Then generate and enter a Personal Access Token (PAT) to authenticate the connection to your team project.

    Create a Personal Access Token

  • Team project: Select your current project.

  • Deployment Group: Enter the same deployment group name as you used for the Resource group parameter.

The default settings for the Azure Resource Group Deployment task are to create or update a resource, and to do so incrementally. The task creates the VMs the first time it runs, and subsequently just update them.

Configure the Shell Script task

The Shell Script task is used to provide the configuration for a script to run on each server to install Node.js and start the app. Configure it as follows:

  • Script Path: $(System.DefaultWorkingDirectory)/Fabrikam-Node/

  • Specify Working Directory: Checked

  • Working Directory: $(System.DefaultWorkingDirectory)/Fabrikam-Node

Rename and save the release definition

  1. Edit the name of the release definition to the name you specified in the Post-build Actions tab of the build in Jenkins. Jenkins requires this name to be able to trigger a new release when the source artifacts are updated.

  2. Optionally, change the name of the environment by clicking on the name.

  3. Choose Save, and choose OK.

Start a manual deployment

  1. Choose + Release and select Create Release.

  2. Select the build you completed in the highlighted drop-down list and choose Create.

  3. Choose the release link in the popup message. For example: "Release Release-1 has been created."

  4. Open the Logs tab to watch the release console output.

  5. In your browser, open the URL of one of the servers you added to your deployment group. For example, enter http://{your-server-ip-address}

Start a CI/CD deployment

  1. In the release definition, uncheck the Enabled checkbox in the Control Options section of the settings for the Azure Resource Group Deployment task. For future deployments to the existing deployment group, you do not need to re-execute this task.

  2. Go to the source Git repository and modify the contents of the h1 heading in the file app/views/index.jade.

  3. Commit your change.

  4. After a few minutes, you will see a new release created in the Releases page of Team Services or TFS. Open the release to see the deployment taking place. Congratulations!

Next Steps

In this tutorial, you automated the deployment of an app to Azure using Jenkins build and Team Services for release. You learned how to:

  • Build your app in Jenkins
  • Configure Jenkins for Team Services integration
  • Create a deployment group for the Azure virtual machines
  • Create a release definition that configures the VMs and deploys the app

Advance to the next tutorial to learn more about how to deploy a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) stack.