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Deployment Best Practices

Great post on some of the basics around deployment best practices. Source here.

Every development team has unique requirements that can make implementing an efficient deployment pipeline difficult on any cloud service. This article introduces the three main components of deploying to App Service: deployment sources, build pipelines, and deployment mechanisms. This article also covers some best practices and tips for specific language stacks.

Continuously deploy code

If your project has designated branches for testing, QA, and staging, then each of those branches should be continuously deployed to a staging slot. (This is known as the Gitflow design.) This allows your stakeholders to easily assess and test the deployed the branch.

Continuous deployment should never be enabled for your production slot. Instead, your production branch (often master) should be deployed onto a non-production slot. When you are ready to release the base branch, swap it into the production slot. Swapping into production—instead of deploying to production—prevents downtime and allows you to roll back the changes by swapping again.

Slot usage visual

Continuously deploy containers

For custom containers from Docker or other container registries, deploy the image into a staging slot and swap into production to prevent downtime. The automation is more complex than code deployment because you must push the image to a container registry and update the image tag on the webapp.

For each branch you want to deploy to a slot, set up automation to do the following on each commit to the branch.

  1. Build and tag the image. As part of the build pipeline, tag the image with the git commit ID, timestamp, or other identifiable information. It’s best not to use the default “latest” tag. Otherwise, it’s difficult to trace back what code is currently deployed, which makes debugging far more difficult.
  2. Push the tagged image. Once the image is built and tagged, the pipeline pushes the image to our container registry. In the next step, the deployment slot will pull the tagged image from the container registry.
  3. Update the deployment slot with the new image tag. When this property is updated, the site will automatically restart and pull the new container image.
Slot usage visual

Full article can be found here.

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