Use the Azure Custom Script Extension Version 2 with Linux virtual machines

The Custom Script Extension Version 2 downloads and runs scripts on Azure virtual machines (VMs). This extension is useful for post-deployment configuration, software installation, or any other configuration or management task. You can download scripts from Azure Storage or another accessible internet location, or you can provide them to the extension runtime.

The Custom Script Extension integrates with Azure Resource Manager templates. You can also run it by using the Azure CLI, PowerShell, or the Azure Virtual Machines REST API.

This article details how to use the Custom Script Extension from the Azure CLI, and how to run the extension by using an Azure Resource Manager template. This article also provides troubleshooting steps for Linux systems.

There are two Linux Custom Script Extensions:

  • Version 1: Microsoft.OSTCExtensions.CustomScriptForLinux
  • Version 2: Microsoft.Azure.Extensions.CustomScript

Please switch new and existing deployments to use Version 2. The new version is a drop-in replacement. The migration is as easy as changing the name and version. You don't need to change your extension configuration.

Prerequisites

Operating system

The Custom Script Extension for Linux will run on supported operating systems. For more information, see Endorsed Linux distributions on Azure.

Script location

You can set the extension to use your Azure Blob Storage credentials so that it can access Azure Blob Storage. The script location can be anywhere, as long as the VM can route to that endpoint (for example, GitHub or an internal file server).

Internet connectivity

If you need to download a script externally, such as from GitHub or Azure Storage, then you need to open additional firewall or network security group (NSG) ports. For example, if your script is located in Azure Storage, you can allow access by using Azure NSG service tags for Storage.

If your script is on a local server, you might still need to open additional firewall or NSG ports.

Tips and tricks

  • The highest failure rate for this extension is due to syntax errors in the script. Test that the script runs without errors. Put additional logging into the script to make it easier to find failures.
  • Write scripts that are idempotent, so running them more than once accidentally won't cause system changes.
  • Ensure that the scripts don't require user input when they run.
  • The script is allowed 90 minutes to run. Anything longer will result in a failed provision of the extension.
  • Don't put reboots inside the script. This action will cause problems with other extensions that are being installed, and the extension won't continue after the reboot.
  • If you have a script that will cause a reboot before installing applications and running scripts, schedule the reboot by using a Cron job or by using tools such as DSC, Chef, or Puppet extensions.
  • Don't run a script that will cause a stop or update of the VM agent. It might leave the extension in a transitioning state and lead to a timeout.
  • The extension will run a script only once. If you want to run a script on every startup, you can use a cloud-init image and use a Scripts Per Boot module. Alternatively, you can use the script to create a systemd service unit.
  • You can have only one version of an extension applied to the VM. To run a second custom script, you can update the existing extension with a new configuration. Alternatively, you can remove the custom script extension and reapply it with the updated script.
  • If you want to schedule when a script will run, use the extension to create a Cron job.
  • When the script is running, you'll only see a "transitioning" extension status from the Azure portal or CLI. If you want more frequent status updates for a running script, you'll need to create your own solution.
  • The Custom Script Extension doesn't natively support proxy servers. However, you can use a file transfer tool that supports proxy servers within your script, such as Curl.
  • Be aware of non-default directory locations that your scripts or commands might rely on. Have logic to handle this situation.

Extension schema

The Custom Script Extension configuration specifies things like script location and the command to be run. You can store this information in configuration files, specify it on the command line, or specify it in an Azure Resource Manager template.

You can store sensitive data in a protected configuration, which is encrypted and only decrypted on the target virtual machine. The protected configuration is useful when the execution command includes secrets such as a password. Here's an example:

{
  "name": "config-app",
  "type": "Extensions",
  "location": "[resourceGroup().location]",
  "apiVersion": "2019-03-01",
  "dependsOn": [
    "[concat('Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines/', concat(variables('vmName'),copyindex()))]"
  ],
  "tags": {
    "displayName": "config-app"
  },
  "properties": {
    "publisher": "Microsoft.Azure.Extensions",
    "type": "CustomScript",
    "typeHandlerVersion": "2.1",
    "autoUpgradeMinorVersion": true,
    "settings": {
      "skipDos2Unix":false,
      "timestamp":123456789          
    },
    "protectedSettings": {
       "commandToExecute": "<command-to-execute>",
       "script": "<base64-script-to-execute>",
       "storageAccountName": "<storage-account-name>",
       "storageAccountKey": "<storage-account-key>",
       "fileUris": ["https://.."],
       "managedIdentity" : "<managed-identity-identifier>"
    }
  }
}

Note

The managedIdentity property must not be used in conjunction with the storageAccountName or storageAccountKey property.

Property values

Name Value or example Data type
apiVersion 2019-03-01 date
publisher Microsoft.Azure.Extensions string
type CustomScript string
typeHandlerVersion 2.1 int
fileUris https://github.com/MyProject/Archive/MyPythonScript.py array
commandToExecute python MyPythonScript.py \<my-param1> string
script IyEvYmluL3NoCmVjaG8gIlVwZGF0aW5nIHBhY2thZ2VzIC4uLiIKYXB0IHVwZGF0ZQphcHQgdXBncmFkZSAteQo= string
skipDos2Unix false Boolean
timestamp 123456789 32-bit integer
storageAccountName examplestorageacct string
storageAccountKey TmJK/1N3AbAZ3q/+hOXoi/l73zOqsaxXDhqa9Y83/v5UpXQp2DQIBuv2Tifp60cE/OaHsJZmQZ7teQfczQj8hg== string
managedIdentity { } or { "clientId": "31b403aa-c364-4240-a7ff-d85fb6cd7232" } or { "objectId": "12dd289c-0583-46e5-b9b4-115d5c19ef4b" } JSON object

Property value details

Property Optional or required Details
apiVersion Not applicable You can find the most up-to-date API version by using Resource Explorer or by using the command az provider list -o json in the Azure CLI.
fileUris Optional URLs for files to be downloaded.
commandToExecute Required if script isn't set The entry point script to run. Use this property instead of script if your command contains secrets such as passwords.
script Required if commandToExecute isn't set A Base64-encoded (and optionally gzip'ed) script run by /bin/sh.
skipDos2Unix Optional Set this value to false if you want to skip dos2unix conversion of script-based file URLs or scripts.
timestamp Optional Change this value only to trigger a rerun of the script. Any integer value is acceptable, as long as it's different from the previous value.
storageAccountName Optional The name of storage account. If you specify storage credentials, all fileUris values must be URLs for Azure blobs.
storageAccountKey Optional The access key of the storage account.
managedIdentity Optional The managed identity for downloading files:

clientId (optional, string): The client ID of the managed identity.

objectId (optional, string): The object ID of the managed identity.

You can set the following values in either public or protected settings. The extension will reject any configuration where these values are set in both public and protected settings.

  • commandToExecute
  • script
  • fileUris

Using public settings might be useful for debugging, but we strongly recommend that you use protected settings.

Public settings are sent in clear text to the VM where the script will be run. Protected settings are encrypted through a key known only to Azure and the VM. The settings are saved to the VM as they were sent. That is, if the settings were encrypted, they're saved encrypted on the VM. The certificate that's used to decrypt the encrypted values is stored on the VM. The certificate is also used to decrypt settings (if necessary) at runtime.

Property: skipDos2Unix

The default value is false, which means dos2unix conversion is executed.

The previous version of the Custom Script Extension, Microsoft.OSTCExtensions.CustomScriptForLinux, would automatically convert DOS files to UNIX files by translating \r\n to \n. This translation still exists and is on by default. This conversion is applied to all files downloaded from fileUris or the script setting based on either of the following criteria:

  • The extension is .sh, .txt, .py, or .pl. The script setting will always match this criterion because it's assumed to be a script run with /bin/sh. The script setting is saved as script.sh on the VM.
  • The file starts with #!.

You can skip the dos2unix conversion by setting skipDos2Unix to true:

{
  "fileUris": ["<url>"],
  "commandToExecute": "<command-to-execute>",
  "skipDos2Unix": true
}

Property: script

The Custom Script Extension supports execution of a user-defined script. The script settings combine commandToExecute and fileUris into a single setting. Instead of having to set up a file for download from Azure Storage or a GitHub gist, you can simply encode the script as a setting. You can use the script to replace commandToExecute and fileUris.

Here are some requirements:

  • The script must be Base64 encoded.
  • The script can optionally be gzip'ed.
  • You can use the script setting in public or protected settings.
  • The maximum size of the script parameter's data is 256 KB. If the script exceeds this size, it won't be run.

For example, the following script is saved to the file /script.sh/:

#!/bin/sh
echo "Creating directories ..."
mkdir /data
chown user:user /data
mkdir /appdata
chown user:user /appdata

You would construct the correct Custom Script Extension script setting by taking the output of the following command:

cat script.sh | base64 -w0
{
  "script": "IyEvYmluL3NoCmVjaG8gIlVwZGF0aW5nIHBhY2thZ2VzIC4uLiIKYXB0IHVwZGF0ZQphcHQgdXBncmFkZSAteQo="
}

In most cases, the script can optionally be gzip'ed to further reduce size. The Custom Script Extension automatically detects the use of gzip compression.

cat script | gzip -9 | base64 -w 0

The Custom Script Extension uses the following algorithm to run a script:

  1. Assert that the length of the script's value does not exceed 256 KB.
  2. Base64 decode the script's value.
  3. Try to gunzip the Base64-decoded value.
  4. Write the decoded (and optionally decompressed) value to disk (/var/lib/waagent/custom-script/#/script.sh).
  5. Run the script by using _/bin/sh -c /var/lib/waagent/custom-script/#/script.sh.

Property: managedIdentity

Note

This property must be specified in protected settings only.

The Custom Script Extension (version 2.1 and later) supports managed identities for downloading files from URLs provided in the fileUris setting. It allows the Custom Script Extension to access Azure Storage private blobs or containers without the user having to pass secrets like shared access signature (SAS) tokens or storage account keys.

To use this feature, the user must add a system-assigned or user-assigned identity to the VM or virtual machine scale set where the Custom Script Extension is expected to run. The user must then grant the managed identity access to the Azure Storage container or blob.

To use the system-assigned identity on the target VM or virtual machine scale set, set managedidentity to an empty JSON object.

Example:

{
  "fileUris": ["https://mystorage.blob.core.windows.net/privatecontainer/script1.sh"],
  "commandToExecute": "sh script1.sh",
  "managedIdentity" : {}
}

To use the user-assigned identity on the target VM or virtual machine scale set, configure managedidentity with the client ID or the object ID of the managed identity.

Examples:

{
  "fileUris": ["https://mystorage.blob.core.windows.net/privatecontainer/script1.sh"],
  "commandToExecute": "sh script1.sh",
  "managedIdentity" : { "clientId": "31b403aa-c364-4240-a7ff-d85fb6cd7232" }
}
{
  "fileUris": ["https://mystorage.blob.core.windows.net/privatecontainer/script1.sh"],
  "commandToExecute": "sh script1.sh",
  "managedIdentity" : { "objectId": "12dd289c-0583-46e5-b9b4-115d5c19ef4b" }
}

Note

The managedIdentity property must not be used in conjunction with the storageAccountName or storageAccountKey property.

Template deployment

You can deploy Azure VM extensions by using Azure Resource Manager templates. The JSON schema detailed in the previous section can be used in an Azure Resource Manager template to run the Custom Script Extension during the template's deployment. You can find a sample template that includes the Custom Script Extension on GitHub.

{
  "name": "config-app",
  "type": "extensions",
  "location": "[resourceGroup().location]",
  "apiVersion": "2019-03-01",
  "dependsOn": [
    "[concat('Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines/', concat(variables('vmName'),copyindex()))]"
  ],
  "tags": {
    "displayName": "config-app"
  },
  "properties": {
    "publisher": "Microsoft.Azure.Extensions",
    "type": "CustomScript",
    "typeHandlerVersion": "2.1",
    "autoUpgradeMinorVersion": true,
    "settings": {
      },
    "protectedSettings": {
      "commandToExecute": "sh hello.sh <param2>",
      "fileUris": ["https://github.com/MyProject/Archive/hello.sh"
      ]  
    }
  }
}

Note

These property names are case-sensitive. To avoid deployment problems, use the names as shown here.

Azure CLI

When you're using the Azure CLI to run the Custom Script Extension, create a configuration file or files. At a minimum, you must have commandToExecute.

az vm extension set \
  --resource-group myResourceGroup \
  --vm-name myVM --name customScript \
  --publisher Microsoft.Azure.Extensions \
  --protected-settings ./script-config.json

Optionally, you can specify the settings in the command as a JSON-formatted string. This allows the configuration to be specified during execution and without a separate configuration file.

az vm extension set \
  --resource-group exttest \
  --vm-name exttest \
  --name customScript \
  --publisher Microsoft.Azure.Extensions \
  --protected-settings '{"fileUris": ["https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Microsoft/dotnet-core-sample-templates/master/dotnet-core-music-linux/scripts/config-music.sh"],"commandToExecute": "./config-music.sh"}'

Example: Public configuration with script file

{
  "fileUris": ["https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Microsoft/dotnet-core-sample-templates/master/dotnet-core-music-linux/scripts/config-music.sh"],
  "commandToExecute": "./config-music.sh"
}

Azure CLI command:

az vm extension set \
  --resource-group myResourceGroup \
  --vm-name myVM --name customScript \
  --publisher Microsoft.Azure.Extensions \
  --settings ./script-config.json

Example: Public configuration with no script file

{
  "commandToExecute": "apt-get -y update && apt-get install -y apache2"
}

Azure CLI command:

az vm extension set \
  --resource-group myResourceGroup \
  --vm-name myVM --name customScript \
  --publisher Microsoft.Azure.Extensions \
  --settings ./script-config.json

Example: Public and protected configuration files

You use a public configuration file to specify the script file's URI. You use a protected configuration file to specify the command to be run.

Public configuration file:

{
  "fileUris": ["https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Microsoft/dotnet-core-sample-templates/master/dotnet-core-music-linux/scripts/config-music.sh"]
}

Protected configuration file:

{
  "commandToExecute": "./config-music.sh <param1>"
}

Azure CLI command:

az vm extension set \
  --resource-group myResourceGroup \
  --vm-name myVM \ 
  --name customScript \
  --publisher Microsoft.Azure.Extensions \
  --settings ./script-config.json \
  --protected-settings ./protected-config.json

Virtual machine scale sets

If you deploy the Custom Script Extension from the Azure portal, you don't have control over the expiration of the SAS token for accessing the script in your storage account. The result is that the initial deployment works, but when the storage account's SAS token expires, any subsequent scaling operation fails because the Custom Script Extension can no longer access the storage account.

We recommend that you use PowerShell, the Azure CLI, or an Azure Resource Manager template when you deploy the Custom Script Extension on a virtual machine scale set. This way, you can choose to use a managed identity or have direct control of the expiration of the SAS token for accessing the script in your storage account for as long as you need.

Troubleshooting

When the Custom Script Extension runs, the script is created or downloaded into a directory that's similar to the following example. The command output is also saved into this directory in stdout and stderr files.

sudo ls -l /var/lib/waagent/custom-script/download/0/

To troubleshoot, first check the Linux Agent Log and ensure that the extension ran:

sudo cat /var/log/waagent.log 

Look for the extension execution. It will look something like:

2018/04/26 17:47:22.110231 INFO [Microsoft.Azure.Extensions.customScript-2.0.6] [Enable] current handler state is: notinstalled
2018/04/26 17:47:22.306407 INFO Event: name=Microsoft.Azure.Extensions.customScript, op=Download, message=Download succeeded, duration=167
2018/04/26 17:47:22.339958 INFO [Microsoft.Azure.Extensions.customScript-2.0.6] Initialize extension directory
2018/04/26 17:47:22.368293 INFO [Microsoft.Azure.Extensions.customScript-2.0.6] Update settings file: 0.settings
2018/04/26 17:47:22.394482 INFO [Microsoft.Azure.Extensions.customScript-2.0.6] Install extension [bin/custom-script-shim install]
2018/04/26 17:47:23.432774 INFO Event: name=Microsoft.Azure.Extensions.customScript, op=Install, message=Launch command succeeded: bin/custom-script-shim install, duration=1007
2018/04/26 17:47:23.476151 INFO [Microsoft.Azure.Extensions.customScript-2.0.6] Enable extension [bin/custom-script-shim enable]
2018/04/26 17:47:24.516444 INFO Event: name=Microsoft.Azure.Extensions.customScript, op=Enable, message=Launch command succeeded: bin/custom-sc

In the preceding output:

  • Enable is when the command starts running.
  • Download relates to the downloading of the Custom Script Extension package from Azure, not the script files specified in fileUris.

The Azure Script Extension produces a log, which you can find here:

sudo cat /var/log/azure/custom-script/handler.log

Look for the individual execution. It will look something like:

time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event=start
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event=pre-check
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event="comparing seqnum" path=mrseq
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event="seqnum saved" path=mrseq
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event="reading configuration"
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event="read configuration"
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event="validating json schema"
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event="json schema valid"
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event="parsing configuration json"
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event="parsed configuration json"
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event="validating configuration logically"
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event="validated configuration"
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event="creating output directory" path=/var/lib/waagent/custom-script/download/0
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event="created output directory"
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 files=1
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 file=0 event="download start"
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 file=0 event="download complete" output=/var/lib/waagent/custom-script/download/0
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event="executing command" output=/var/lib/waagent/custom-script/download/0
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event="executing protected commandToExecute" output=/var/lib/waagent/custom-script/download/0
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event="executed command" output=/var/lib/waagent/custom-script/download/0
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event=enabled
time=2018-04-26T17:47:23Z version=v2.0.6/git@1008306-clean operation=enable seq=0 event=end

Here you can see:

  • The enable command that starts this log.
  • The settings passed to the extension.
  • The extension downloading the file and the result of that.
  • The command being run and the result.

You can also retrieve the execution state of the Custom Script Extension, including the actual arguments passed as commandToExecute, by using the Azure CLI:

az vm extension list -g myResourceGroup --vm-name myVM

The output looks like the following text:

[
  {
    "autoUpgradeMinorVersion": true,
    "forceUpdateTag": null,
    "id": "/subscriptions/subscriptionid/resourceGroups/rgname/providers/Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines/vmname/extensions/customscript",
    "resourceGroup": "rgname",
    "settings": {
      "commandToExecute": "sh script.sh > ",
      "fileUris": [
        "https://catalogartifact.azureedge.net/publicartifacts/scripts/script.sh",
        "https://catalogartifact.azureedge.net/publicartifacts/scripts/script.sh"
      ]
    },
    "tags": null,
    "type": "Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines/extensions",
    "typeHandlerVersion": "2.0",
    "virtualMachineExtensionType": "CustomScript"
  },
  {
    "autoUpgradeMinorVersion": true,
    "forceUpdateTag": null,
    "id": "/subscriptions/subscriptionid/resourceGroups/rgname/providers/Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines/vmname/extensions/OmsAgentForLinux",
    "instanceView": null,
    "location": "eastus",
    "name": "OmsAgentForLinux",
    "protectedSettings": null,
    "provisioningState": "Succeeded",
    "publisher": "Microsoft.EnterpriseCloud.Monitoring",
    "resourceGroup": "rgname",
    "settings": {
      "workspaceId": "workspaceid"
    },
    "tags": null,
    "type": "Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines/extensions",
    "typeHandlerVersion": "1.0",
    "virtualMachineExtensionType": "OmsAgentForLinux"
  }
]

Azure CLI syntax issues

The Azure CLI can run in several shell environments, but with slight format variations. If you have unexpected results with Azure CLI commands, see How to use the Azure CLI successfully.

Next steps

To see the code, current issues, and versions, go to the custom-script-extension-linux repo on GitHub.