Tutorial: Deploy your ASP.NET app and Azure SQL Database code by using Azure DevOps Starter

Azure DevOps Starter presents a simplified experience where you can bring your existing code and Git repo or choose a sample application to create a continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) pipeline to Azure.

DevOps Starter also:

  • Automatically creates Azure resources, such as a database in Azure SQL Database.
  • Creates and configures a release pipeline in Azure Pipelines that includes a build pipeline for CI.
  • Sets up a release pipeline for CD.
  • Creates an Azure Application Insights resource for monitoring.

In this tutorial, you will:

  • Use Azure DevOps Starter to deploy your ASP.NET app and Azure SQL Database code
  • Configure Azure DevOps and an Azure subscription
  • Examine the CI pipeline
  • Examine the CD pipeline
  • Commit changes to Azure Repos and automatically deploy them to Azure
  • Connect to Azure SQL Database
  • Clean up resources


Create a project in DevOps Projects for an ASP.NET app and Azure SQL Database

DevOps Starter creates a CI/CD pipeline in Azure Pipelines. You can create a new Azure DevOps organization or use an existing organization. DevOps Starter also creates Azure resources, such as Azure SQL Database, in the Azure subscription of your choice.

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.

  2. In the search box, type DevOps Starter, and then select. Click on Add to create a new one.

    The DevOps Starter dashboard

  3. Select .NET, and then select Next.

  4. Under Choose an application framework, select ASP.NET.

  5. Select Add a database, and then select Next. The application framework, which you chose in a previous step, dictates the type of Azure service deployment target that's available here.

  6. Select Next.

Configure Azure DevOps and an Azure subscription

  1. Create a new Azure DevOps organization, or select an existing organization.

  2. Enter a name for your Azure DevOps project.

  3. Select your Azure subscription services. Optionally, to view additional Azure configuration settings and to identify the username in the Database Server Login Details section, you can select Change. Store the username for future steps in this tutorial. If you perform this optional step, exit the Azure configuration area before you select Done.

  4. Select Done. After a few minutes, the process is completed and the DevOps Starter dashboard opens in the Azure portal. You can also navigate to the dashboard directly from All resources in the Azure portal. At the right, select Browse to view your running application.

Examine the CI pipeline

DevOps Starter automatically configures a full CI/CD pipeline in Azure Repos. You can explore and customize the pipeline. To familiarize yourself with the Azure DevOps build pipeline, do the following:

  1. At the top of the DevOps Starter dashboard, select Build pipelines. A browser tab displays the build pipeline for your new project.

  2. Point to the Status field, and then select the ellipsis (...). A menu displays several options, such as queueing a new build, pausing a build, and editing the build pipeline.

  3. Select Edit.

  4. In this pane, you can examine the various tasks for your build pipeline. The build performs various tasks, such as fetching sources from the Git repository, restoring dependencies, and publishing outputs used for deployments.

  5. At the top of the build pipeline, select the build pipeline name.

  6. Change the name of your build pipeline to something more descriptive, select Save & queue, and then select Save.

  7. Under your build pipeline name, select History. This pane displays an audit trail of your recent changes for the build. Azure Pipelines keeps track of any changes made to the build pipeline, and it allows you to compare versions.

  8. Select Triggers. DevOps Starter automatically creates a CI trigger, and every commit to the repository starts a new build. Optionally, you can choose to include or exclude branches from the CI process.

  9. Select Retention. Depending on your scenario, you can specify policies to keep or remove a certain number of builds.

Examine the CD pipeline

DevOps Starter automatically creates and configures the necessary steps to deploy from your Azure DevOps organization to your Azure subscription. These steps include configuring an Azure service connection to authenticate Azure DevOps to your Azure subscription. The automation also creates a CD pipeline, which provides the CD to the Azure virtual machine. To learn more about the Azure DevOps CD pipeline, do the following:

  1. Select Build and Release, and then select Releases. DevOps Starter creates a release pipeline to manage deployments to Azure.

  2. Select the ellipsis (...) next to your release pipeline, and then select Edit. The release pipeline contains a pipeline, which defines the release process.

  3. Under Artifacts, select Drop. The build pipeline you examined in the previous steps produces the output that's used for the artifact.

  4. At the right of the Drop icon, select Continuous deployment trigger. This release pipeline has an enabled CD trigger, which executes a deployment every time a new build artifact is available. Optionally, you can disable the trigger so that your deployments require manual execution.

    DevOps Starter sets up a random SQL password and uses it for the release pipeline.

  5. At the left, select Variables.


    Perform the following step only if you changed the SQL Server password. There is a single password variable.

  6. Next to the Value box, select the padlock icon, enter the new password, and then select Save.

  7. At the left, select Tasks, and then select your environment. Tasks are the activities that your deployment process executes, and they are grouped in phases. This release pipeline has a single phase, which contains an Azure App Service Deploy and Azure SQL Database Deployment task.

  8. Select the Execute Azure SQL task, and examine the various properties that are used for the SQL deployment. Under Deployment Package, the task uses a SQL DACPAC file.

  9. At the right, select View releases to display a history of releases.

  10. Select the ellipsis (...) next to a release, and then select Open. You can explore several menus, such as a release summary, associated work items, and tests.

  11. Select Commits. This view shows code commits that are associated with this deployment. Compare releases to view the commit differences between deployments.

  12. Select Logs. The logs contain useful information about the deployment process. You can view them both during and after deployments.

Commit changes to Azure Repos and automatically deploy them to Azure


The following procedure tests the CI/CD pipeline with a simple text change. To test the SQL deployment process, you can optionally make a SQL Server schema change to the table.

You're now ready to collaborate with a team on your app by using a CI/CD process that automatically deploys your latest work to your website. Each change to the Git repo starts a build in Azure DevOps, and a CD pipeline executes a deployment to Azure. Follow the procedure in this section, or use another technique to commit changes to your repository. The code changes initiate the CI/CD process and automatically deploy your changes to Azure.

  1. In the left pane, select Code, and then go to your repository.

  2. Go to the SampleWebApplication\Views\Home directory, select the ellipsis (...) next to the Index.cshtml file, and then select Edit.

  3. Make a change to the file, such as adding some text within one of the div tags.

  4. At the top right, select Commit, and then select Commit again to push your change. After a few moments, a build starts in Azure DevOps and a release executes to deploy the changes. Monitor the build status in the DevOps Starter dashboard or in the browser with your Azure DevOps organization.

  5. After the release is completed, refresh your application to verify your changes.

Connect to Azure SQL Database

You need appropriate permissions to connect to Azure SQL Database.

  1. On the DevOps Starter dashboard, select SQL Database to go to the management page for SQL Database.

  2. Select Set server firewall, and then select Add client IP.

  3. Select Save. Your client IP now has access to the SQL Server Azure resource.

  4. Go back to the SQL Database pane.

  5. At the right, select the server name to navigate to the configuration page for SQL Server.

  6. Select Reset password, enter a password for the SQL Server admin login, and then select Save. Be sure to keep this password to use later in this tutorial.

    You may now optionally use client tools such as SQL Server Management Studio or Visual Studio to connect to SQL Server and Azure SQL Database. Use the Server name property to connect.

    If you didn't change the database username when you initially configured the project in DevOps Projects, your username is the local part of your email address. For example, if your email address is johndoe@microsoft.com, your username is johndoe.


    If you change your password for the SQL login, you must change the password in the release pipeline variable, as described in the Examine the CD pipeline section.

Clean up resources

If you are testing, you can avoid accruing billing charges by cleaning up your resources. When they are no longer needed, you can delete Azure SQL Database and related resources that you created in this tutorial. To do so, use the Delete functionality on the DevOps Starter dashboard.


The following procedure permanently deletes resources. The Delete functionality destroys the data that's created by the project in DevOps Starter in both Azure and Azure DevOps, and you will be unable to retrieve it. Use this procedure only after you've carefully read the prompts.

  1. In the Azure portal, go to the DevOps Starter dashboard.
  2. At the top right, select Delete.
  3. At the prompt, select Yes to permanently delete the resources.

Next steps

You can optionally modify these build and release pipelines to meet the needs of your team. You can also use this CI/CD pattern as a template for your other pipelines. In this tutorial, you learned how to:

  • Use Azure DevOps Starter to deploy your ASP.NET app and Azure SQL Database code
  • Configure Azure DevOps and an Azure subscription
  • Examine the CI pipeline
  • Examine the CD pipeline
  • Commit changes to Azure Repos and automatically deploy them to Azure
  • Connect to Azure SQL Database
  • Clean up resources

To learn more about the CI/CD pipeline, see: