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Managing Job Stages in Azure Pipelines

by Jeff Christman
SSCP, Senior Cloud Security Consultant, Avanade
October 13 2023

DevOps pipelines, commonly known as CI/CD pipelines, serve a critical role in deploying well-constructed software into the appropriate environments. Written in YAML, these pipelines orchestrate a series of commands, often leveraging ARM templates and PowerShell.

When a developer fixes a bug or implements a change, pushing this code to the main branch triggers a deployment. The pipeline takes care of deploying these changes to various environments like testing or development, eventually leading to production. This automation allows for quick feature releases and bug fixes.

Pipelines are organized into stages, jobs, and tasks. A stage might collect all artifacts, compress them into a single file, and place it in a staging environment. Subsequent stages could deploy these artifacts to test or development environments. Jobs within these stages often run PowerShell commands or interact with Azure subscriptions.

Without a pipeline, deploying cloud resources would be a manual process, even with ARM or Bicep templates. Pipelines automate this by connecting to your Azure subscription through a service principal or managed service identity, thereby reducing manual work and potential errors.

In a current project, we use pipelines to automate the deployment of an entire Azure subscription. When a request comes in—say, for a test subscription with 19 VMs—we feed the parameters into an ARM template and execute the job. This automation significantly reduces the time required for deployment.

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About Jeff Christman

Jeff Christman is a Navy Veteran with over 20 years of experience in the IT field. Specializing in cloud migrations, he has worked for companies such as Raytheon, AT&T, and NASA. Currently, he is a Sr. Cloud Security Consultant at a large consulting firm. In addition to his daytime job, he also has published content and courses for,, and 

In his off time, he loves fantasy football, everything tech, and embarrassing his teenage daughters.

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