Deploy to a Linux Virtual Machine

Azure DevOps Services | Azure DevOps Server 2022 | Azure DevOps Server 2020

Learn how to set up an Azure DevOps pipeline for multi-virtual machine deployments that uses an environment and virtual machine resources.

Use the instructions in this article for any app that publishes a web deployment package.


If you want to deploy your application to a Linux virtual machine using the classic editor, see Deploy web apps to Linux virtual machines (VMs).


Get your sample code

If you already have an app in GitHub that you want to deploy, you can create a pipeline for that code.

If you are a new user, fork this repo in GitHub:

Create an environment with virtual machines

You can add virtual machines as resources within environments and target them for multi-VM deployments. The deployment history view provides traceability from the VM to the commit.

  1. Sign into your Azure DevOps organization and navigate to your project.

  2. Go to the Pipelines page and select Environments > Create Environment.

  3. Specify a Name (required) for the environment and a Description.

  4. Choose Virtual Machines as a Resource to be added to the environment, and then select Next.

  5. Choose Linux for the Operating System and copy the registration script.

  6. Run the registration script on each of the target VMs registered with the environment.


    • The Personal Access Token (PAT) of the signed in user gets pre-inserted in the script and expires after three hours.
    • If your VM already has any agent running on it, provide a unique name to register with the environment.
  7. Once VM is registered, it will start appearing as an environment resource under Resources.

    Screenshot of VM creation.

  8. To add more VMs, copy the script again. Select Add resource and choose Virtual Machines. This script is the same for all the VMs you want to add to the same environment.

    Each machine interacts with Azure Pipelines to coordinate deployment of your app.

    Screenshot of VM resource view.

  9. You can add or remove tags for the VM. Select on the dots at the end of each VM resource in Resources.

    Tags limit deployment to specific VMs when the environment's used in a deployment job. Each tag is limited to 256 characters. There's no limit to the number of tags you can create.

    Screenshot of tags view.

Define your CI build pipeline

You need a CI build pipeline that publishes your web app. You also need a deployment script that can be run locally on the Ubuntu server. Set up a CI build pipeline based on the runtime you want to use.

  1. Sign in to your Azure DevOps organization and go to your project.

  2. In your project, go to the Pipelines page, and then choose the action to create a new pipeline.

  3. Select GitHub as the location of your source code.

    You may be redirected to GitHub to sign in. If so, enter your GitHub credentials.

  4. When the list of repositories appears, select the sample app repository that you want.

  5. Azure Pipelines analyzes your repository and recommends a suitable pipeline template.

    Select the starter template and copy this YAML snippet to build a general Node.js project with npm. You'll add to this YAML in future steps.

    - main
      vmImage: ubuntu-latest
    - stage: Build
      displayName: Build stage
      - job: Build
        displayName: Build
        - task: NodeTool@0
            versionSpec: '16.x'
          displayName: 'Install Node.js'
        - script: |
            npm install
            npm run build --if-present
            npm run test --if-present
          displayName: 'npm install, build and test'
        - task: ArchiveFiles@2
          displayName: 'Archive files'
            rootFolderOrFile: '$(System.DefaultWorkingDirectory)'
            includeRootFolder: false
            archiveType: zip
            archiveFile: $(Build.ArtifactStagingDirectory)/$(Build.BuildId).zip
            replaceExistingArchive: true
        - upload: $(Build.ArtifactStagingDirectory)/$(Build.BuildId).zip
          artifact: drop

    For more guidance, review the steps mentioned in Build your Node.js app with gulp for creating a build.

    • Select Save and run > Commit directly to the main branch > Save and run.

      A new run starts. Wait for the run to complete.

Define CD steps to deploy to the Linux VM

  1. Edit your pipeline and add a deployment job by referencing the environment and the VM resources you created earlier. Update tags to refer to tags for your virtual machine.

    - deployment: VMDeploy
      displayName: Web deploy
        name:  <environment name>
        resourceType: VirtualMachine
        tags: web1 # Update or remove value to match your tag

To learn more about the environment keyword and resources targeted by a deployment job, see the YAML schema.

  1. Select specific sets of VMs from the environment to receive the deployment by specifying the tags that you've defined for each VM in the environment.

    For more information, see the complete YAML schema for deployment job.

  2. Specify either runOnce or rolling as a deployment strategy.

    runOnce is the simplest deployment strategy. All the life-cycle hooks, namely preDeploy deploy, routeTraffic, and postRouteTraffic, get executed once. Then, either on: success or on: failure gets executed.

    See the following example of a deployment job for runOnce:

    - deployment: VMDeploy
      displayName: Web deploy
        name: <environment name>
        resourceType: VirtualMachine
            - script: echo my first deployment
  3. See the following example of a YAML snippet for the rolling strategy with a Java pipeline. You can update up to five targets gets in each iteration. maxParallel determines the number of targets that can be deployed to, in parallel. The selection accounts for absolute number or percentage of targets that must remain available at any time, excluding the targets being deployed to. It's also used to determine the success and failure conditions during deployment.

    - deployment: VMDeploy
      displayName: web
        name: <environment name>
        resourceType: VirtualMachine
            maxParallel: 2  #for percentages, mention as x%
              - download: current
                artifact: drop
              - script: echo initialize, cleanup, backup, install certs
              - task: Bash@3
                  targetType: 'inline'
                  script: |
                    # Modify deployment script based on the app type
                    echo "Starting deployment script run"
                    sudo java -jar '$(Pipeline.Workspace)/drop/**/target/*.jar'
              - script: echo routing traffic
              - script: echo health check post-route traffic
                - script: echo Restore from backup! This is on failure
                - script: echo Notify! This is on success

    With each run of this job, deployment history gets recorded against the <environment name> environment that you've created and registered the VMs.

Pipeline traceability views in environment

The Deployments view provides complete traceability of commits and work items, and a cross-pipeline deployment history per environment.

Screenshot of deployments view.

Next steps