Microsoft Hosted Azure DevOps agents are great for CI/CD in most projects with an extensive built-in set of popular tools. In practice, however, their usability is limited because the Microsoft Hosted agents cannot be connected to a private network. License limitations prevent Microsoft from distributing the image used in their hosted pools. To speed up development and remove toil, a pre-built version of the Microsoft Hosted image containing only the included Open-Source tools is now available in the Azure Marketplace. The source code for the project is also available on GitHub with instructions on how to get started.
What is included?
The image is based on the Microsoft Hosted Ubuntu 22.04 image and contains all tools included in the Microsoft Hosted image including a license that allows redistribution. The image is built using the same scripts as the Microsoft Hosted image and is updated regularly. A full list of included tools is available in the project wiki.
How to use it?
The image is available in the Azure Marketplace and can be used in Azure DevOps pipelines as a self-hosted agent. The image is available in all regions where Microsoft Hosted agents are available. You can also build your own image using the scripts in the GitHub repository. Building your own image is useful if you want to add additional tools or customize the image further.
What are the advantages?
When connecting to a private network is required, the Microsoft Hosted agents cannot be used. This is a common requirement in many projects. As your organization grows, the need for various build and deployment tools increases. Building and maintaining your own agent images is a lot of work. Using the pre-built image removes the need to build and maintain your own images as it includes the most popular tools. The image is also updated regularly with the latest versions of the tools.