In my job as DevOps consultant I try to help my clients build better software faster. A key part of this is automation of the complete delivery pipeline. Most of the times this focusses on the delivery pipeline from user story to committed code to eventually this code running in production. With tools as VSTS this is quite easy to do but what about the things that happen outside of the core of the application?
Creating Infrastructure as code is becoming mainstream in public cloud scenarios so teams can create and deploy their own infrastructure. This allows independent self serving teams to build better software faster. But often people stop here. There are still several tasks that often are manual steps where someone with the right permissions has to step in to do these tasks. Examples can be: Creating a new VSTS Team, GIT repo, opening ports on the firewall or creating a resource group in Azure where the team can create their infrastructure. My goal is to automate everything here so teams can create these things in a guided, self serving manner. I’ll be diving deeper in that subject in a later post where i explain how we’ve created an Operations Chatbot that does these kind of things. In this post i want to focus on 1 specific area this bot can help: Creating Azure resource groups for teams and assigning permissions.
In many of my projects we host our infrastructure in Azure and I like DevOps teams to be independent. Looking at Azure they should have a space where they can create their infrastructure and do their thing. It’s up to the teams what kind of stuff they spin up since they should be the ones maintaining it and they are responsible for the costs.
The thing we’ve built is a chat bot that helps create new resource groups for teams by asking a user for 3 questions:
- What is the application name? (my practise is to group infrastructure for a single application together in 1 resource group)
- What team is the owner of the application? (in my case all teams have an AD group containing all team members)
- What kind of environment do you need? (Dev, Test, Acceptance, Production) These choices are made by my client and we have 2 subscriptions (1 DTA and 1 Prod)
After answering these 3 questions the bot will create a standardised resource group name for the team in the format: <appname>-<teamname>-<environment>-rg
this resource group will be created and the team’s AD group will be granted contributer permissiosn to this newly created resource group.
Enough about the chat bot for now, let’s create the code to actually create a new resource group programmatically.
To do this we’ll use 2 nuget packages from Microsoft called
These 2 packages contain all the APIs to manage Azure resources. the 2 things we need is managing resource groups and AD permissions. With adding these 2 packages we can start coding our method called CreateResourceGroup. The only parameters we need is the resource group and the ad group.
First you need to log in to your Azure subscription to be able to retrieve information and have an account that has permissions to create resource groups in Azure. It’s not a best practice to run this code as your user account so it’s better to create a service principal who can do this. to create a new service principal take a look at this guide: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-resource-manager/resource-group-create-service-principal-portal
After we’ve retrieved the credentials creating a resource group is super easy. It’s just 1 line of code. Adding the correct AD group to add permissions is quite simple to if the service principal has the right permissions to query AD. After querying the right group we can create a RoleAssignment to assign the contributor role to the Azure AD group.
More info on the full bot solution later. Hopefully this will help you create your own Azure automation to speed up your development process.
Geert van der Cruijsen
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