Steve Spencer's Blog

Blogging on Azure Stuff

Copying and unzipping files using Kudu on Azure App Service

Kudu is a useful tool that is part of your Azure App Service. I posted a video showing how you can access the Debug Console of Kudu and edit files. In this post I’ll show how you can upload files to your website and also how you can unzip files.

Starting with an empty site, navigate to the Kudu console via the Azure Portal App Service Advanced tools then Debug Console –> CMD


To upload a file drag one from Windows Explorer and drop it on the left hand side


After uploading the file should appear in the list


If you want to delete the file click the circle icon of the file you want to delete:


To upload a file and also unzip it there are two options. You can upload the file using the method above by dragging the file in. Then in the command window run the unzip command.


Alternatively you can drag the zip file onto the right hand side of the screen.


This will upload the file and unzip it in one action.

So with my previous video and this post I’ve shown you how to upload, unzip edit and delete files in your Azure App service. Kudu has helped me to access the files, make changes and debug in scenarios where I don’t have access to my normal tools and I hope you find it useful too.

Custom Application Roles in Azure AD

Previously I’ve talked about how you can control access to your web applications in Azure AD (Part 1 & Part 2) and also how to use Role Based Access Control (RBAC) to manage access to resources in Azure. This post will build on these previous posts and show you how you can create your own custom roles for use in your own web applications and how you can use these roles to control access to parts of your application.I’ll use the same example used in Part 1.

Firstly you need to created the roles for your application to use, assign the roles to users and finally change your code to make it role aware.

To add roles to your application. Navigate to the Azure portal and click on Azure Active Directory and App Registrations. Select the Web App you created previously.


Click on “App roles | Preview” then “Create App Role”


Enter the role information and click Apply and repeat for all the roles you require.

You should now see your roles in the grid:


I’ve added a standard user role and a test administrator role.

To assign these roles to users, Navigate to the Enterprise Applications blade and click your application. Then select “Users and groups”


To Add roles to an existing assigned user, tick the user and then click “Edit”


Select the role and click “Select”


You should now see the role is assigned to the user. Similarly to add a role to a new user click “Add user”


This time you need to select the new user and then the role:


You can add multiple roles to a user by repeating the Add user process.


Here I’ve added both new roles to one user.

You are now ready to user these roles in your application.

The sample code already shows how to view the claims for a user.


When I sign in to the application with the user that has two roles I see the following entries in the claims table:


Adding the roles to the application and the assigning the roles to a user is enough to make them appear as roles in your application when the user signs in. There is a limit to the number of roles that an application can have. These are stored in the manifest of the App Registration. There is a limit of 1200 items in the App Registration Manifest and this includes all the configuration items not just roles.

There are a number of ways in which you can use Roles in code. Firstly in your views you can add conditional code to limit what a standard user can see

@if (Request.IsAuthenticated && User.IsInRole("Test.Admin"))


<h2>You Are An Admininstrator</h2>

<br />


When you sign in with the Test,Admin role you will get this additional text which is not visible for the User role


You can also control access at the controller and controller action levels by adding the Authorize attribute on the controller or controller action:

[Authorize(Roles = "Test.Admin ")]

public class ClaimsController : Controller


or for multiple roles

[Authorize(Roles = "Test.Admin,User")]

public class ClaimsController : Controller


at the action level:

[Authorize(Roles = "Test.Admin")]

public async Task<ActionResult> Index()



or both

[Authorize(Roles = "Test.Admin,User")]

public class ClaimsController : Controller


        [Authorize(Roles = "Test.Admin")]

        public async Task<ActionResult> Index()



        [Authorize(Roles = "User")]

        public async Task<ActionResult> Index2()




In this example the user needs either the User or Test.Admin role to access the controller but only the Test.Admin role can access the Index action and the User role can access the Index2 action. This allows you to put controls in at multiple levels and provide a more custom experience for your users.

App Roles makes it easy to add custom roles to your application. If you have a higher Azure AD subscription you can assign these roles to groups and assign the groups to the applications. This means that you can add users to groups to assign the roles rather than adding them to each individual user. I can have a Standard user group that has the User role assigned and all users in that group will have the User role passed through to the application.

You now have Role Based Access control in your Azure AD application and can start to build your application features out based on the roles you define.

Accessing secrets in Azure Key Vault using a Managed Identity

With any key/password store I always thought that the weak link was the credentials used to access it. If that single point of failure was compromised then all your secrets would be vulnerable. Microsoft have overcome this by creating the Managed Identity. A Managed Identity is generated by a resource within Azure and can be configured to access resources that use Azure AD for authentication. As the Managed Identity is generated by the resource there are no credentials to store anywhere and code running in the resource can use this built-in identity to access other resources. This is specifically useful for Key Vault because we can now give access to Key Vault to specific resources without the need to store any credentials anywhere. This post will show you how to access Azure Key vault from an App Service using a Managed Identity to retrieve a secret for use in accessing other services.

So I have a web site deployed to Azure App Service and in order to access Key Vault I need to create a Managed Identity for the App Service. In the Azure Portal navigate to your App Service and click on the Identity blade


Your Manages Identity status should be Off. Click it On and then hit Save. This has now enabled your Managed Identity. The App Service Identity now exists in your associated Azure AD tenant and can be assigned to resources. This means that any code I write and deploy to this App Service will be able to take advantage of this built in identity to access the resources I need. In this example I want to access Key Vault. I therefore need to enable this new user in Key Vault. To do this I need to create a new access policy in Key Vault for this user.

Navigate to your Key Vault and click “Access policies”


Click “Add Access policy”


I’m interesting in just secrets from this Key Vault so I’ve selected the Secret Management template then clicked “None selected”. You should now see a new Principal blade appear. Type the name of you App service in the search box and select the principal that appears. Now click the “Select” button followed by the “Add” button. If you have not done this stage then you will get an error like this, when trying to access the Key Vault:

Service request failed. Status: 403 (Forbidden) The user, group or application 'appid=<app id>;oid=<oid>;iss=<tenantid>/' does not have secrets get permission on key vault 'yourkeyvault;location=westeurope'.

You should be setup now to access the secrets from code. there is a quick start guide produced by Microsoft to help with this.

Two packages are required to access Key Vault secrets.

Azure.Security.KeyVault.Secrets & Azure.Identity

With the packages installed the code to access Key Vault is simple.

var credential = new DefaultAzureCredential();
var client = new SecretClient(new Uri(""), credential);
var secret = await client.GetSecretAsync("YourSecret");
string actualSecret = secret.Value.Value;

Once this code is deployed to your App Service, the DefaultAzureCredential will automatically pick up the Managed Identity and allow you to access the secrets stored in it. Create a SecretClient, point it at your Key Vault and add the Managed Identity credential. Now you can retrieve the secret and use it.

Managed Identity is another tool to help you make your applications more secure. There is now a reduced risk of compromise from a mishandled Key Vault credential that you’ve stored somewhere safe. The Managed Identity cannot be used from anywhere other than code running in your App Service.

Testing connectivity to your backend service with Hybrid Connection in App Service

I have a backend service that is connected to my web site which is hosted in Azure App Service using a Hybrid Connection. When setting up a Hybrid Connection it is useful to be able to test connectivity to your backend service. I’ve previously posted a video to show you to access the Kudu control panel so that you can look at the files in the hosted site. We’ll use the Kudu control panel to also test connectivity, only this time we’ll use the PowerShell debug console.

In Azure Portal click on your app service and go to Advanced Tools and select Go


This will open the Kudu console in a new tab.

Click on Debug console the PowerShell


This opens the debug console in PowerShell and allows your to run PowerShell commands on the App Service. As you are running on the App Service you will have access to the backend service that is connected via the web service.


My service has a Get endpoint that I can call to test connectivity. There are a number of commands we could run but I’ll use Invoke-WebRequest.

For this I am using but you use the url of your backend service that you have configured in your Hybrid Connection.

Invoke-WebRequest -Uri


This returns the following error

The response content cannot be parsed because the Internet Explorer engine is not available, or Internet Explorer's first-launch configuration is not complete. Specify the UseBasicParsing parameter and try again.

The error says what you need to do. Add UseBasicParsing to the command

Invoke-WebRequest -Uri –UseBasicParsing


We now get the error:

Win32 internal error "The handle is invalid" 0x6 occurred while reading the console output buffer

To fix this we need to tell PowerShell to silently continue by issuing the following command:

$progressPreference = "silentlyContinue"

Then call your web request


I’ve now got the output from the web request with a status code of 200 showing I’ve got connectivity.

Introduction to Azure Role Based Access Control (RBAC)

Up until fairly recently I have been managing  access to a number of Azure subscriptions but as I’ve been working for smaller organisations the number of people who needed access was fairly small and easy to manage. It also meant that I generally gave the users Owner or Contributor access to the subscriptions as we were all managing everything so we needed the access at that level. Now I work for a large organisation there is a greater need to  limit access to certain areas of Azure and giving subscription wide access is limited to a few key administrators. This means that I need to look at the minimum access that is required for each of the users who need access to the resources. First I’d like to talk about the scope within which permissions can be set within Azure. For most of the scenarios I’ve worked in I have visibility of a single subscription. For organisations  with a large number of subscriptions there is a further level of scope, Management group, which I won’t be discussing.


Permissions can be set at the Subscription, Resource group or the individual resource scope.Depending upon the level of access your user requires there are three basic levels which you can use

  • Owner
  • Contributor
  • Reader

Owner gives the user full access to everything within the scope and can also assign roles to other users.

Contributor gives the user full access to everything within the scope except they are not able to assign roles to other users

Reader give the user access to view the resources within the scope but they are not able to change anything or assign roles.

So assigning the user the Owner role at the Subscription level, then the user can manage all resources within the subscription and assign roles to users. A user can be assigned multiple roles and Azure RBAC is additive so if a user was assigned Contributor at the subscription scope but only Reader on one of the resource groups, the Contributor role would override the reader role. It is also possible to have Deny role assignments. Where a user is Denied permissions on a specific role. Deny assignments take precedence over role assignments.

These roles plus the variety of scopes give some flexibility of access but it is still a large surface area of access that is provided. Azure offers a large number of finer grained roles to allow users to be given specific permissions to specific services. There are a large number of built in assignments as can be seen here:

These finer grained roles allow you to set specific permissions on a specific user within a specific scope. For example if  you wanted to give a user access to a blob store to upload files via the Azure portal there are two permissions that can be set: Reader and Data Access and

Storage Blob Data Contributor. If you assign these two roles to a user in the storage account, then the user is able to login to the Azure portal and navigate to the storage account and access the blob store.

To do this, navigate to the storage account within which you want to assign a role and click the access control item


The click “Add role assignment”


In the role drop down pick “Storage Blob Data Contributor”, select the user you want to assign the role to and click save. Repeat this for the Reader and Data Access role. Your user now has access only to blob storage and has no access elsewhere in the resource group or subscription. I could have done the same thing by selecting the resource group and Access control and adding these roles there. This would have give the user access to all blob stores within the resource group.

Another example is that you may want to give someone access to your app service so that they can configure and deploy. So navigate to your App Service and click “Access control”, then select the role “Website Contributor”. See for more details. This lets you manage the selected website but not app service plans and no other web sites. If you want to manage other app services then you could add the same role at the resource group level.

Managing Application Access with Azure AD – Part 1

In my next series of blog post I want to talk about how to manage access to applications using Azure AD.

I’ve been looking at how I can set up access to my web based applications and I want to be able to:

  1. Have a single sign on with multiple applications
  2. Allow some users access to only some of the applications
  3. Be able to give access to users outside of my organisation
  4. Be able to control access via code

Part 1 will cover setting my applications up and then restricting access to the applications via Azure AD.

In order to test this I needed to have a number of applications that I could use. I used this example:

It allows me to login and see my claims. I deployed this into two different app services so I could navigate to them separately. I’m not going to talk about the code on the web side apart from the bits you need to configure up the sample. This series of blogs are more about how to setup Azure AD and the path I went through to my end goal of configuring up users programmatically.

In order to integrate with Azure AD we need to set up each of the applications. This will provide us with an ID with which we can  use to configure each of the applications.

In Azure Portal navigate to Azure Active Directory, or search for it in the search bar

Microsoft Azure 
p Search resources, services, and docs (G./) 
Azure services 
Create a 
Azure Active 
SQL databases 
Azure AD 
registrations    C 
p activd 
Microsoft Azure 
Azure s 
Azure AD Privileged Identity Management 
-+ Activity log 
Azure Active Directory 
reso HDlnsight clusters 
e Monitor

Home > Default Directory I Overview 
O Default Directory I Overviev 
Azure Active Directory 
p Search (Ctrl 4/) 
O Overview 
Getting started 
Diagnose and solve problems 
Organizational relationships 
Roles and administrators 
Enterprise applications 
App registrations 
Identity Governance    Home > Default Directory App registrations 
Default Directory I App registrations 
Search (Ctrl *

In the menu bar on the left select App Registrations –> New registration and complete the form:

Home ) Default Directory App registrations ) Register an application 
Register an application 
-k Name 
The user-facing display name for this application (this can be changed later). 
My New app 
Supported account types 
Who can use this application or access this API? 
@ Accounts in this organizational directory only (Default Directory only - Single tenant) 
O Accounts in any organizational directory (Any Azure AD directory - Multitenant) 
O Accounts in any organizational directory (Any Azure AD directory - Multitenant) and personal Microsoft accounts (e.g. Skype, Xbox) 
Help me choose... 
Redirect URI (optional) 
We'll return the authentication response to this URI after successfully authenticating the user. Providing this now is optional and it can be 
changed later, but a value is required for most authentication scenarios. 
v http / 
gy proceeding, you agree to the Microsoft Platform Policies 

I've picked single tenant as I want to invite users using B2B. Now click Register

You need to copy the ID's needed for your web app:

Delete Endpoints 
Got a second? We would love your feedback on Microsoft identity platform (previously Azure AD for developer). * 
Display name 
Application (client) ID 
Directory (tenant) ID 
Object ID 
My New app 
Supported account types 
: My organization only 
Redirect URIS 
: I web, O public client 
Application ID URI 
: Add an Application ID URI 
Managed application in My New app

Copy the Client ID and Tenant ID. Repeat this process for the next app. I've created two apps as I wanted to test limiting access to a single app and deny access to the second if the users has not been invited to it or added manually.

Now add these to the web.config in the sample app. There will be two settings for ClientId and Tenant. Make sure that the redirect url matches the url of the application you registered and redeploy. Repeat this for the second application.

If you navigate to the web apps and try and login, you may get an error as we haven't setup any users, although any users currently in your Azure AD should be able to login.

To give users access to your app. Go back to Azure Active Directory and this time select Enterprise Applications and click on the app you just created.

) Default Directory > Enterprise applications All applications > My New app I Overview 
My New app I Overview 
Enterp•ise Application 
Diagnose and solve problems 
Users and groups 
Application proxy 
My New app 
Application ID 
Object ID Q) 
Getting Started

Click Users and groups

My New app I Users and groups 
Enterprse Applicat& 
+ Add user 
Edit Remove p Update Credentials 
The application will appear on the Access Panel for assigned users. 
Diagnose and solve problems 
irst 100 shown, to search all users & groups, enter a display nami 
Display Name 
NO application assignments found 
Users and groups 

Click Add user