Azure Key Vault recover keys, secrets and certificates

Enable Soft-delete for Key Vault to be able to recover from disaster, recover keys, secrets, certificates or the whole Key Vault on accedental deletion.

Dca4x9OXUAADmh8Last week we had an incident in which we had deleted the wrong secret from our Azure Key Vault. After some research we found that it could have been recovered if we had used the Soft-delete in Key Vault. However, we did not know about this option and could not recover the item.

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Run maintenance jobs on Azure SQL

Azure SQL, do not forget to schedule maintenance

Many users on Azure SQL Server do not realize they have to do their own maintenance on Indexes. This index will slowly become fragmented and the performance will decrease over time. Azure SQL does not have a Job scheduler (agent) like on premise. In this post I’ll describe how to schedule a maintenance job from an ASP.NET Core application.
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Best practices using Azure Resource Manager templates

This article focuses on best practices regarding the automated deployment of resources to Azure. We have implemented Continuous Deployment (CD) pipelines including the provisioning of Azure resources for many customers, and we would like to share our experience so you can benefit from it. These practices will help you create more reliable, testable, reusable, and maintainable templates. Continue reading “Best practices using Azure Resource Manager templates”

#TechdaysNL 2017 Best Practices ARM Templates

On October 12 2017 I did session on Best Practices ARM Templates at Microsoft TechdaysNL. The presentation shows some best practices we learned while using ARM templates. Download the pdf:

Best_Practices_ARM_Templates_TechDays2017

When I have the recordings of the presentation, I’ll add them to this post.

Thanks to the 160 enthusiast who where there.

Test Azure deployments in your VSTS Release Pipeline

pesterWhen deploying Azure Resources you want to know if all resources are deployed as expected. To check if the resources are correctly deployed you can open the portal and visually inspect the deployed recourses or you can also run some powershell to validate the resources. Why not automate these checks and add them to your deployment pipeline. To validate the resources, I extended the Pester Build Task to connect to Azure. A test that checks the deployment of a VM can look like:

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Serial copies in ARM Templates

You can now make copies in serial mode. That means that the copies are created after each other instead of parallel. This can be a good idea when you update a live resource. The resources will go down and up after each other.

A sample of this:

        {
            "apiVersion": "2015-01-01",
            "name": "[concat('nestedDeployment',copyIndex())]",
            "type": "Microsoft.Resources/deployments",
            "copy": {
                "name": "myCopySet",
                "count": 4,
                "mode": "serial",
                "batchSize": 2
            },

The mode and batchSize are new. Mode can be serial or parallel. The batchSize configures how many objects are created at the same time in serial mode.

New ways to support conditions in ARM Templates

Condition did in ARM templates where not that easy to implement. In the new Azure RM APIs a property condition is added. This condition makes many scenarios a lot easier to implement.

Add condition property to a resource object, the resource object will only be deployed when the condition is met. The following sample code will show this:

    "resources": [
        {
            "condition": "[equals(parameters('newOrExisting'),'new')]",
            "type": "Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts",
            "name": "[variables('storageAccountName')]",
            "apiVersion": "2017-06-01",
            "location": "[resourceGroup().location]",
            "sku": {
                "name": "[variables('storageAccountType')]"
            },
            "kind": "Storage",
            "properties": {}
        },

The full code sample can be found at Ryan Jones GitHub.

The equals function will return a Boolean that is used as input for the condition.

This new feature in ARM Templates will make templates more readable, faster to develop and less need to copy one version of a template to different files to implement a condition.