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Azure App Configuration Overview

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Azure App Configuration Overview
Overview
DifficultyIntermediate
Duration1h 14m
Students166
Ratings
4/5
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Description

Configuration is an important aspect of determining an application’s behavior. Settings files often include sensitive information like passwords and API keys. In this course, we will look at how to protect that sensitive information while the app is being developed and when it is in production.

Azure’s App Configuration Service allows you to manage access to settings data and we will see how to use it within a .Net application. We will look at using Azure Key Vault in conjunction with App Configuration Service, and how to access Azure Key Vault directly from your application and from apps running in a container within a Kubernetes cluster.

Next, we look at the idea of shifting left security testing within your development process, and how we can automate security testing as part of implementing a compliant development process. Much of this will involve using extensions from the Azure marketplace within your DevOps build pipeline.

This course contains numerous demonstrations from the Azure platform so that you can get a first-hand look at the topics we will be covering. If you have any feedback relating to this course, please contact us at support@cloudacademy.com.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about app configuration
  • Run and deploy apps with the Azure App Configuration service
  • Use Azure Key Vault to store secrets and certificates
  • Access Key Vault directly from your apps, including those running within a Kubernetes cluster
  • Create a compliant development process by integrating code analyzers, branch policies, quality gates, open-source library scanning, and automated penetration into a build pipeline

Intended Audience

  • Intermediate-level developers, DevOps engineers, and product managers
  • Anyone interested in learning how to implement secure app configurations and development pipelines

Prerequisites

To get the most out of this course, you should have some pre-existing knowledge of software development and of using Microsoft Azure.

Transcript

As developers or anyone involved with deploying applications, we're all aware of configuration settings. Settings allow apps to change their behavior without changing the application code. The old standby example is database connection strings. You can easily change which server and database the application connects to just by editing the config file. Once upon a time, in the Windows world, you'd put the connection string in an ini file. That's ini for initialization.

Then, we started using XML config files, and more recently, JSON app setting files. The same config file principle applies no matter what operating system or programming language you work with. And for the most part, this has worked well in the single app on-premise environment. However, looking just at the connection string example, there are a couple of aspects that aren't ideal.

Firstly, the password is there in plain text. This will give anyone with access to the config file access to the database with the application login, So that's access with all the privilege of the application and consequently, no way of tracking that any changes made were not made by the app or that sensitive information has been unlawfully taken. Secondly, and not immediately obvious, is that cloud-based applications often run as multiple instances, widely distributed on virtual machines or containers, possibly spread over multiple regions.

Supporting this scenario with a traditional configuration setup would require multiple config files. This would fly in the face of the one version of the truth best practice that is make maintenance a headache and prone to errors. These issues, along with a myriad of other challenges posed by cloud deployment, led Azure to introduce the App Configuration Service. The App Configuration Service provides centralized and secure configuration management that offers many more features than just storing connection strings. At the moment, Azure App Configuration has good SDK support for .Net Core and Java's Spring framework.

About the Author

Hallam is a software architect with over 20 years experience across a wide range of industries. He began his software career as a  Delphi/Interbase disciple but changed his allegiance to Microsoft with its deep and broad ecosystem. While Hallam has designed and crafted custom software utilizing web, mobile and desktop technologies, good quality reliable data is the key to a successful solution. The challenge of quickly turning data into useful information for digestion by humans and machines has led Hallam to specialize in database design and process automation. Showing customers how leverage new technology to change and improve their business processes is one of the key drivers keeping Hallam coming back to the keyboard.