# Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Back at the beginning of February I showed how Microsoft Release Management can be used to get CI/CD up and running.

I’m now going to show you Microsoft Release Management with Chef integration.

Integrating Microsoft RM with Chef provides additional capabilities on top of the out of box RM experience. image

Chef uses recipes (written in ruby) that allow a box to be fully defined as a Chef node; not only in terms of the software and files required to be on the box but also how the software stack on the box is configured. A Chef node has a one to one relationship with an actual box (or machine); e.g. a particular macaddress.

Once a Chef node has been set up it can read meta data from the box that it represents. So even though in this example we are only putting a couple of components onto a box there is going to be benefit from additional contextual data describing the box that is not otherwise available centrally. It may also be the case that pre-requisites or third party components are defined in a Chef node. Chef can be used to manage all the software required on a box. Chef provides the tools and processes to implement ‘Infrastructure as Code’.

I will use the term Manifest to represent a list of components each at a particular version. There is nothing called Manifest in Chef but the Chef node Run List combined with the Chef node Attributes are in effect just that; a Manifest that sits between the CI build and the CD deploy.


Lets take a look at what happens when a CI build of a component triggers a release through RM with Chef. The build definition (shown below) for Bye has been configured to make a call to Microsoft Release Management. See http://blogs.msdn.com/b/visualstudioalm/archive/2014/10/10/trigger-release-from-build-with-release-management-for-visual-studio-2013-update-3.aspx

imageCheckin of change to the Bye application source code will trigger a build. Once the drop of the build has completed the post drop script InitianteRelease.ps1 will be run. The arguments specified are the RMServer, the port number that RM is using, the Team Project that contains the build definition and the target stage. In my example volcanic-8 1000 Team1 Dev.

The Release Template that maps to Team1, Dev and  Bye (the build definition) is the one that gets used to run the deployment.


The Release Template RT2 (shown above) has been configured to update attributes in a Chef node called VOLCANICLAB-5.rock.volcanic.com with the drop location of a build of Bye; the result is that the drop path is made available as a Chef node attribute that can then be consumed in a Chef recipe.

The appropriate NodeName and AttributeName are set up in “Deploy Using Chef” in the Release Template. The example below is from RT2.


Microsoft Release Management now has all it needs to update the attributes of the VOLCANICLAB-5.rock.volcanic.com node for a particular build of Bye.

The attribute having been updated by Microsoft Release Management is shown below.image

When Microsoft Release Management runs the chef client on the box named VOLCANICLAB-5.rock.volcanic.com the run list below will execute. The cookbook volcanic_bye is listed.


volcanic_bye is a Chef cookbook with a recipe that I created to deploy Bye (see below).

Notice the source attribute [‘volcanic_bye’][‘source’]. When this recipe is run it will pick up path \\volcanic-1\drop\Bye\Bye_20150225.1 from the attribute as it was previously updated by Microsoft Release Management.


Here is the log from the chef client that Microsoft Release Management ran on the box VOLCANICLAB-5.rock.volcanic.com .




Chef provides a useful abstraction layer between CI (i.e. the building of binaries and files) and CD (i.e. the deployment of binaries and files).

That abstraction layer could be referred to as a ‘Infrastructure as Code’.

Microsoft Release Management can be configured to update attributes in that Chef abstraction layer.

Tags: ALM | Chef | DEVOPS | Release Management

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 7:27:41 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]