Push and pull OCI artifacts using an Azure container registry

You can use an Azure container registry to store and manage Open Container Initiative (OCI) artifacts as well as Docker and OCI container images.

To demonstrate this capability, this article shows how to use the OCI Registry as Storage (ORAS) CLI to push a sample artifact - a text file - to an Azure container registry. Then, pull the artifact from the registry. You can manage various OCI artifacts in an Azure container registry using different command-line tools appropriate to each artifact.


  • Azure container registry - Create a container registry in your Azure subscription. For example, use the Azure portal or az acr create.
  • Azure CLI - Version 2.29.1 or later is required. See Install Azure CLI for installation and/or upgrade.
  • ORAS CLI - Version v0.16.0 is required. See: ORAS installation.
  • Docker (Optional) - While Docker Desktop isn't required, the oras CLI utilizes the Docker desktop credential store for storing credentials. If Docker Desktop is installed, it must be running for oras login.

Configure a registry

Configure environment variables to easily copy/paste commands into your shell. The commands can be run locally or in the Azure Cloud Shell.


Sign in to a registry

Authenticate with your individual Azure AD identity using an AD token. Always use "000..." for the USER_NAME as the token is parsed through the PASSWORD variable.

# Login to Azure
az login

# Login to ACR, using a token based on your Azure identity
PASSWORD=$(az acr login --name $ACR_NAME --expose-token --output tsv --query accessToken)


ACR and ORAS support multiple authentication options for users and system automation. This article uses individual identity, using an Azure token. For more authentication options see Authenticate with an Azure container registry

Sign in with ORAS

Provide the credentials to oras login.

oras login $REGISTRY \
  --username $USER_NAME \
  --password $PASSWORD

Push a root artifact

A root artifact is an artifact that has no subject parent. Root artifacts can be anything from a container image, a helm chart, a readme file for the repository. Reference artifacts, described in Attach, push, and pull supply chain artifacts are artifacts that refer to another artifact. Reference artifacts can be anything from a signature, software bill of materials, scan report or other evolving types.

For this example, create content that represents a markdown file:

echo 'Readme Content' > readme.md

The following step pushes the readme.md file to <myregistry>.azurecr.io/samples/artifact:readme.

  • The registry is identified with the fully qualified registry name <myregistry>.azurecr.io (all lowercase), followed by the namespace and repo: /samples/artifact.
  • The artifact is tagged :readme, to identify it uniquely from other artifacts listed in the repo (:latest, :v1, :v1.0.1).
  • Setting --artifact-type readme/example differentiates the artifact from a container image, which uses application/vnd.oci.image.config.v1+json.
  • The ./readme.md identifies the file uploaded, and the :application/markdown represents the IANA mediaType of the file.
    For more information, see OCI Artifact Authors Guidance.

Use the oras push command to push the file to your registry.

Linux, WSL2 or macOS

oras push $REGISTRY/samples/artifact:readme \
    --artifact-type readme/example \


.\oras.exe push $REGISTRY/samples/artifact:readme ^
    --artifact-type readme/example ^

Output for a successful push is similar to the following output:

Uploading 2fdeac43552b readme.md
Uploaded  2fdeac43552b readme.md
Pushed <myregistry>.azurecr.io/samples/artifact:readme
Digest: sha256:e2d60d1b171f08bd10e2ed171d56092e39c7bac1aec5d9dcf7748dd702682d53

Push a multi-file root artifact

When OCI artifacts are pushed to a registry with ORAS, each file reference is pushed as a blob. To push separate blobs, reference the files individually, or collection of files by referencing a directory.
For more information how to push a collection of files, see Pushing artifacts with multiple files

Create some documentation for the repository:

echo 'Readme Content' > readme.md
mkdir details/
echo 'Detailed Content' > details/readme-details.md
echo 'More detailed Content' > details/readme-more-details.md

Push the multi-file artifact:

Linux, WSL2 or macOS

oras push $REGISTRY/samples/artifact:readme \
    --artifact-type readme/example\


.\oras.exe push $REGISTRY/samples/artifact:readme ^
    --artifact-type readme/example ^
    .\readme.md:application/markdown ^

Discover the manifest

To view the manifest created as a result of oras push, use oras manifest fetch:

oras manifest fetch --pretty $REGISTRY/samples/artifact:readme

The output will be similar to:

  "mediaType": "application/vnd.oci.artifact.manifest.v1+json",
  "artifactType": "readme/example",
  "blobs": [
      "mediaType": "application/markdown",
      "digest": "sha256:2fdeac43552b71eb9db534137714c7bad86b53a93c56ca96d4850c9b41b777fc",
      "size": 15,
      "annotations": {
        "org.opencontainers.image.title": "readme.md"
      "mediaType": "application/vnd.oci.image.layer.v1.tar+gzip",
      "digest": "sha256:0d6c7434a34f6854f971487621426332e6c0fda08040b9e6cc8a93f354cee0b1",
      "size": 189,
      "annotations": {
        "io.deis.oras.content.digest": "sha256:11eceb2e7ac3183ec9109003a7389468ec73ad5ceaec0c4edad0c1b664c5593a",
        "io.deis.oras.content.unpack": "true",
        "org.opencontainers.image.title": "details"
  "annotations": {
    "org.opencontainers.artifact.created": "2023-01-10T14:44:06Z"

Pull a root artifact

Create a clean directory for downloading

mkdir ./download

Run the oras pull command to pull the artifact from your registry.

oras pull -o ./download $REGISTRY/samples/artifact:readme

View the pulled files

tree ./download

Remove the artifact (optional)

To remove the artifact from your registry, use the oras manifest delete command.

 oras manifest delete $REGISTRY/samples/artifact:readme

Next steps

  • Learn about Artifact References, associating signatures, software bill of materials and other reference types
  • Learn more about the ORAS Project, including how to configure a manifest for an artifact
  • Visit the OCI Artifacts repo for reference information about new artifact types