Continuous integration (CI), where software teams integrate their work continuously into frequent builds in an Agile environment, has been around for a relatively long time. Tools for managing the CI process have been around too, and have been gaining in popularity in the last few years, as the CI process becomes more complicated and the benefits of CI become more obvious. CI tools can be used in conjunction with existing SCM version control tools to manage today’s complex build, test and deployment processes that SCM tools and processes don’t cover completely on their own.
Jenkins is a popular open source CI tool, with many installations and extensions, as well as strong community commitment. For this reason Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. has released a Jenkins plugin for using Windows Azure’s Blob Storage service as a repository of build artifacts.
Using our Jenkins plugin can improve your CI process by using the Windows Azure Storage plugin to manage artifact storage in a Windows Azure Blob. Choosing the Windows Azure Blob service to store your build artifacts ensures that you have all the resources you need each time a build is required, all in a safe and reliable yet centralized location, with configurable access permissions. This takes a load off on-premise network bandwidth and storage, and improves continuous build performance.
We’ve also open-sourced our plugin to share with the community. Source code for the plugin is available on Github here.
Setting up a Jenkins Continuous Integration Server on Windows Azure
The plugin works with any Jenkins CI installation. VM Depot, MS Open Tech’s community-driven repository of Linux Virtual Machines, also has several preconfigured Linux and Jenkins Virtual Machines ready to quickly get Jenkins up and running in a Windows Azure Linux VM. For more information on setting up VM Depot Virtual Machines on Windows Azure, follow this link.
It’s also easy to set up a custom instance of Jenkins on a customized Windows Azure Virtual Machine. Here are some great resources to get started.
For source code versioning and repository management, Jenkins on Windows Azure can use the built-in CVS or Subversion instances that are downloaded with Jenkins, or you can connect to any code management repository source that a plugin exists for, including Team Foundation Server (via the Jenkins TFS plugin), or the GitHub plugin.
Once you have a code repository and a Jenkins instance set up, you’re ready to configure Jenkins for build management and deployment. We’ve created a detailed tutorial here on how to set up and use the plugin.
Configure Jenkins Projects to manage Build Artifacts
To install the plugin, go to Manage Jenkins > Manage Plugins, select the Available Plugins tab and select the Windows Azure Storage Plugin from the Artifact Uploaders Category.
After selecting Install without Restart, you should see a confirmation screen like this one when done:
Set up your Windows Azure Storage Account Configuration
After the plugin is installed, the first step you should take is to configure one or more Windows Azure storage accounts for Jenkins to use. You do that using Jenkins’ Configure System page, in the Windows Azure Storage Account Configuration section:
Configure Projects to use Windows Azure Blob Storage
After you have configured your storage account(s), you can start adding this new Post-Build action to your jobs: Upload artifacts to Windows Azure Blob Storage:
Selecting and configuring this option will enable you to work with your artifacts using Azure Blob Storage services, which helps with management and speed of integration. For more information on the configuration options, please refer to our tutorial.
We’re excited to be participating in the Jenkins ecosystem to enable build artifacts to be stored in Windows Azure storage. As always, we’re looking for ways to make it easier for developers to interact with Windows Azure services in any way we can, so if you have suggestion on what we can do to improve interoperability between Jenkins and Windows Azure, let us know!