Use App Configuration references for App Service and Azure Functions (preview)

This topic shows you how to work with configuration data in your App Service or Azure Functions application without requiring any code changes. Azure App Configuration is a service to centrally manage application configuration. Additionally, it's an effective audit tool for your configuration values over time or releases.

Granting your app access to App Configuration

To get started with using App Configuration references in App Service, you'll first need an App Configuration store, and provide your app permission to access the configuration key-values in the store.

  1. Create an App Configuration store by following the App Configuration quickstart.

  2. Create a managed identity for your application.

    App Configuration references will use the app's system assigned identity by default, but you can specify a user-assigned identity.

  3. Enable the newly created identity to have the right set of access permissions on the App Configuration store. Update the role assignments for your store. You'll be assigning App Configuration Data Reader role to this identity, scoped over the resource.

Note

App Configuration references do not yet support network-restricted configuration stores.

Access App Configuration Store with a user-assigned identity

Some apps might need to reference configuration at creation time, when a system-assigned identity wouldn't yet be available. In these cases, a user-assigned identity can be created and given access to the App Configuration store, in advance. Follow these steps to create user-assigned identity for App Configuration store.

Once you have granted permissions to the user-assigned identity, follow these steps:

  1. Assign the identity to your application if you haven't already.

  2. Configure the app to use this identity for App Configuration reference operations by setting the keyVaultReferenceIdentity property to the resource ID of the user-assigned identity. Though the property has keyVault in the name, the identity will apply to App Configuration references as well.

    userAssignedIdentityResourceId=$(az identity show -g MyResourceGroupName -n MyUserAssignedIdentityName --query id -o tsv)
    appResourceId=$(az webapp show -g MyResourceGroupName -n MyAppName --query id -o tsv)
    az rest --method PATCH --uri "${appResourceId}?api-version=2021-01-01" --body "{'properties':{'keyVaultReferenceIdentity':'${userAssignedIdentityResourceId}'}}"
    

This configuration will apply to all references from this App.

Reference syntax

An App Configuration reference is of the form @Microsoft.AppConfiguration({referenceString}), where {referenceString} is replaced by below:

Reference string parts Description
Endpoint=endpoint; Endpoint is the required part of the reference string. The value for Endpoint should have the url of your App Configuration resource.
Key=keyName; Key forms the required part of the reference string. Value for Key should be the name of the Key that you want to assign to the App setting.
Label=label The Label part is optional in reference string. Label should be the value of Label for the Key specified in Key

For example, a complete reference with Label would look like the following,

@Microsoft.AppConfiguration(Endpoint=https://myAppConfigStore.azconfig.io; Key=myAppConfigKey; Label=myKeysLabel)​

Alternatively without any Label:

@Microsoft.AppConfiguration(Endpoint=https://myAppConfigStore.azconfig.io; Key=myAppConfigKey)​

Any configuration change to the app that results in a site restart causes an immediate refetch of all referenced key-values from the App Configuration store.

Source Application Settings from App Config

App Configuration references can be used as values for Application Settings, allowing you to keep configuration data in App Configuration instead of the site config. Application Settings and App Configuration key-values both are securely encrypted at rest. If you need centralized configuration management capabilities, then configuration data should go into App Config.

To use an App Configuration reference for an app setting, set the reference as the value of the setting. Your app can reference the Configuration value through its key as usual. No code changes are required.

Tip

Most application settings using App Configuration references should be marked as slot settings, as you should have separate stores or labels for each environment.

Note

Azure App Configuration also supports its own format for storing Key Vault references. If the value of an App Configuration reference is a Key Vault reference in App Configuration store, the secret value will not be retrieved from Key Vault, as of yet. For using the secrets from KeyVault in App Service or Functions, please refer to the Key Vault references in App Service.

Considerations for Azure Files mounting

Apps can use the WEBSITE_CONTENTAZUREFILECONNECTIONSTRING application setting to mount Azure Files as the file system. This setting has additional validation checks to ensure that the app can be properly started. The platform relies on having a content share within Azure Files, and it assumes a default name unless one is specified via the WEBSITE_CONTENTSHARE setting. For any requests that modify these settings, the platform will attempt to validate if this content share exists, and it will attempt to create it if not. If it can't locate or create the content share, the request is blocked.

If you use App Configuration references for this setting, this validation check will fail by default, as the connection itself can't be resolved while processing the incoming request. To avoid this issue, you can skip the validation by setting WEBSITE_SKIP_CONTENTSHARE_VALIDATION to "1". This setting will bypass all checks, and the content share won't be created for you. You should ensure it's created in advance.

Caution

If you skip validation and either the connection string or content share are invalid, the app will be unable to start properly and will only serve HTTP 500 errors.

As part of creating the site, it's also possible that attempted mounting of the content share could fail due to managed identity permissions not being propagated or the virtual network integration not being set up. You can defer setting up Azure Files until later in the deployment template to accommodate for the required setup. See Azure Resource Manager deployment to learn more. App Service will use a default file system until Azure Files is set up, and files aren't copied over so make sure that no deployment attempts occur during the interim period before Azure Files is mounted.

Azure Resource Manager deployment

When automating resource deployments through Azure Resource Manager templates, you may need to sequence your dependencies in a particular order to make this feature work. Of note, you'll need to define your application settings as their own resource, rather than using a siteConfig property in the site definition. This is because the site needs to be defined first so that the system-assigned identity is created with it and can be used in the access policy.

Below is an example pseudo-template for a function app with App Configuration references:

{
    "$schema": "https://schema.management.azure.com/schemas/2019-04-01/deploymentTemplate.json#",
    "contentVersion": "1.0.0.0",
    "parameters": {
        "roleNameGuid": {
            "type": "string",
            "defaultValue": "[newGuid()]",
            "metadata": {
                "description": "A new GUID used to identify the role assignment"
            }
        }
    },
    "variables": {
        "functionAppName": "DemoMBFunc",
        "appConfigStoreName": "DemoMBAppConfig",
        "resourcesRegion": "West US2",
        "appConfigSku": "standard",
        "FontNameKey": "FontName",
        "FontColorKey": "FontColor",
        "myLabel": "Test",
        "App Configuration Data Reader": "[concat('/subscriptions/', subscription().subscriptionId, '/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/roleDefinitions/', '516239f1-63e1-4d78-a4de-a74fb236a071')]"
    },
    "resources": [
        {
            "type": "Microsoft.Web/sites",
            "name": "[variables('functionAppName')]",
            "apiVersion": "2021-03-01",
            "location": "[variables('resourcesRegion')]",
            "identity": {
                "type": "SystemAssigned"
            },
            //...
            "resources": [
                {
                    "type": "config",
                    "name": "appsettings",
                    "apiVersion": "2021-03-01",
                    //...
                    "dependsOn": [
                        "[resourceId('Microsoft.Web/sites', variables('functionAppName'))]",
                        "[resourceId('Microsoft.AppConfiguration/configurationStores', variables('appConfigStoreName'))]"
                    ],
                    "properties": {
                        "WEBSITE_FONTNAME": "[concat('@Microsoft.AppConfiguration(Endpoint=', reference(resourceId('Microsoft.AppConfiguration/configurationStores', variables('appConfigStoreName'))).endpoint,'; Key=',variables('FontNameKey'),'; Label=',variables('myLabel'), ')')]",
                        "WEBSITE_FONTCOLOR": "[concat('@Microsoft.AppConfiguration(Endpoint=', reference(resourceId('Microsoft.AppConfiguration/configurationStores', variables('appConfigStoreName'))).endpoint,'; Key=',variables('FontColorKey'),'; Label=',variables('myLabel'), ')')]",
                        "WEBSITE_ENABLE_SYNC_UPDATE_SITE": "true"
                        //...
                    }
                },
                {
                    "type": "sourcecontrols",
                    "name": "web",
                    "apiVersion": "2021-03-01",
                    //...
                    "dependsOn": [
                        "[resourceId('Microsoft.Web/sites', variables('functionAppName'))]",
                        "[resourceId('Microsoft.Web/sites/config', variables('functionAppName'), 'appsettings')]"
                    ]
                }
            ]
        },
        {
            "type": "Microsoft.AppConfiguration/configurationStores",
            "name": "[variables('appConfigStoreName')]",
            "apiVersion": "2019-10-01",
            "location": "[variables('resourcesRegion')]",
            "sku": {
                "name": "[variables('appConfigSku')]"
            },
            //...
            "dependsOn": [
                "[resourceId('Microsoft.Web/sites', variables('functionAppName'))]"
            ],
            "properties": {
            },
            "resources": [
                {
                    "type": "keyValues",
                    "name": "[variables('FontNameKey')]",
                    "apiVersion": "2021-10-01-preview",
                    //...
                    "dependsOn": [
                        "[resourceId('Microsoft.AppConfiguration/configurationStores', variables('appConfigStoreName'))]"

                    ],
                    "properties": {
                        "value": "Calibri",
                        "contentType": "application/json"
                    }
                },
                {
                    "type": "keyValues",
                    "name": "[variables('FontColorKey')]",
                    "apiVersion": "2021-10-01-preview",
                    //...
                    "dependsOn": [
                        "[resourceId('Microsoft.AppConfiguration/configurationStores', variables('appConfigStoreName'))]"

                    ],
                    "properties": {
                        "value": "Blue",
                        "contentType": "application/json"
                    }
                }
            ]
        },
        {
            "scope": "[resourceId('Microsoft.AppConfiguration/configurationStores', variables('appConfigStoreName'))]",
            "type": "Microsoft.Authorization/roleAssignments",
            "apiVersion": "2020-04-01-preview",
            "name": "[parameters('roleNameGuid')]",
            "properties": {
                "roleDefinitionId": "[variables('App Configuration Data Reader')]",
                "principalId": "[reference(resourceId('Microsoft.Web/sites/', variables('functionAppName')), '2020-12-01', 'Full').identity.principalId]",
                "principalType": "ServicePrincipal"
            }
        }
    ]
}

Note

In this example, the source control deployment depends on the application settings. This is normally unsafe behavior, as the app setting update behaves asynchronously. However, because we have included the WEBSITE_ENABLE_SYNC_UPDATE_SITE application setting, the update is synchronous. This means that the source control deployment will only begin once the application settings have been fully updated. For more app settings, see Environment variables and app settings in Azure App Service.

Troubleshooting App Configuration References

If a reference isn't resolved properly, the reference value will be used instead. For the application settings, an environment variable would be created whose value has the @Microsoft.AppConfiguration(...) syntax. It may cause an error, as the application was expecting a configuration value instead.

Most commonly, this error could be due to a misconfiguration of the App Configuration access policy. However, it could also be due to a syntax error in the reference or the Configuration key-value not existing in the store.

Next steps