0.6.0 • Public • Published


Git-azure is a tool and runtime environment that allows deploying multiple node.js applications into Windows Azure Worker Role from MacOS using Git. Git-azure supports:

  • hosting multiple node.js applications on a single Windows Azure VM (Worker Role) behind an HTTP reverse proxy
  • tight integration with your Git repository (likely on GitHub)
  • few second deployment and update of applications from Mac using git push
  • HTTP and WebSocket traffic
  • SSL security by default
  • custom X.509 certificates per application using Server Name Identification (SNI)
  • real time access to logs using WebSockets from a terminal window or a web browser
  • support for multiple versions of node.js engines
  • SSH and RDP access to the Windows Azure VM for administration and diagnostics
  • support for private Git repositories via HTTP(s)

For an introduction to git-azure, you can watch this 7 minute video


This walkthrough demonstrates key features of the git-azure platform.

It takes about 30-40 mins to present or walk through this content.

Git-azure is work in progress. Not all planned features are done. The experience may be rough around the edges. Any and all feedback is very welcome: I do take contributions.


  • MacOS - git-azure was developed primarily for use by MacOS developers; it may work on *nix, but I have not tested it there yet; I know it does not work on Windows, and fixing it is of relatively low priority, as Windows devs have alternatives
  • GitHub account
  • node.js and Git client installed
  • openssl installed
  • Windows Azure account created (

One-time initialization

  1. Create a new GitHub repo with a README (let's call it atest) so that it can immediately be cloned.
  2. Clone the repo into atest directory.
  3. Install git-azure with sudo npm install git-azure -g
  4. Invoke git azure and review key concepts and commands
  5. Invoke git azure init and explain the key pieces of information that must be provided to initialize the system (publishSettings, serviceName, username, password).
  6. Download the *.publishSettings from
  7. Go to the atest directory and stay there for the rest of initialization.
  8. Provide configuration parameters required for initialization.
git config azure.publishSettings <path_to_your_publishSettings_file>
git config azure.username <username>
git config azure.password <password>

The username and password are used to set up SSH and RDP access to the Windows VM as well as HTTP Basic authentication to access real time logs and other management HTTP APIs.

Finally start the initialization process:

git azure init --serviceName <your_service_name>

your_service_name must be unique in Windows Azure as it will become part of a hostname (your endpoints will be accessible at

The one time initialization process takes between 8-12 minutes. In this time the following things happen:

  • git-azure runtime is registerded as a Git submodule in the atest\.git-azure subdirectory, commited and pushed to the repo
  • A Windows Azure storage account is created is none exists
  • The package is uploaded to the Windows Azure Blob Storage under that account
  • self-signed X.509 certificate and associated private key for SSL are created and uploaded to Windows Azure Blob Storage
  • A hosted service is created (one small instance - will be configurable going forward)
  • SSH and RDP access is configured
  • node.js and git are installed on the box
  • The atest repo is cloned on the machine
  • an HTTP reverse proxy (part of the git-azure runtime) is started on the machine
  • management HTTP server is started on the machine to serve real time logs and perform other management tasks (e.g. receive post receive hook notifications from Git)
  • required node.js engine versions are downloaded and installed on the machine

If the initialization process fails, it can be restarted with

git azure init --serviceName <your_service_name> --force

In general the script is re-entrant; the --force option will override any prior artifacts deployed with git azure init.

After successful initialization, information similar to this one is displayed:

OK: your Windows Azure service git-azure-3 is ready
Configure a post-receive hook in your repository to enable automatic updates on 'git push'. Your post-receive hook URL is:
The service can be accessed at the following endpoints:         - HTTP application endpoint        - HTTPS application endpoint (if SSL is configured)
  ws://           - WebSocket application traffic
  wss://          - secure WebSocket application traffic (if SSL is configured)
You can configure additional A entires in your DNS directed at IP address (useful for /etc/hosts).
You can configure additional CNAME entires in your DNS directed at (recommended for production).
Management endpoints:  - management endpoint (if SSL is configured)   - management endpoint (if SSL is not configured) - Windows Azure management portal (billing, accounts etc.)
Visit for walkthroughs on setting up SSL, support for multiple apps, and more.
Finished at Fri May 11 2012 09:38:15 GMT-0700 (PDT)
Duration 10 min 8 sec.

(Note for live demonstrations)

Given that the one-time initialization takes 8-12 minutes, I normally get it started, explain what it does and for how long, but then switch to a second console window with a pre-provisioned service to continue the presentation starting from the next step below.

Post-receive hook configuration

Configure the post-receive hook in GitHub: go to the administration section of the atest GitHub repository, select 'Service Hooks' on the left, then 'Web Hook URLs' on the list to the right, and then add the post-receive hook URL that was provided to you by git azure init in step 9. In the example above you would specifiy Configuring the post-receive hook enables the system to automatically update running applications when changes are pushed with git push. Without the post-receive hook configuration, a manual call to git azure reset will cause the git-azure runtime to refresh the applications with the latest code from the repository.

Creating your first application

Adding a first application is very easy as you don't need to think about configuring routing information. Basically all HTTP/WS requests will be routed to the application if only one exists in the system, regardless what the hostname of the HTTP/WS requests is.

Go to and show the respone indicating no applications are configured.

Run the following command to scaffold a very simple application

git azure app --setup hello

The scaffolder simply created an apps\hello folder with a very simple server.js and package.json inside. Now, commit that to the repo and push it.

git add .
git commit -m "first application"
git push

Go to again; you may need to refresh a few times as the update process typically takes 6-10 seconds; At the end you should see a webpage that explains more advanced concepts about git-azure.

Second application - introduction to routing

When adding a second application, one needs to consider which requests are going to be routed to which of the two applications. Routing is heavily convention based, and where conventions are not sufficient, explicit configuration can be used. All applications must be stored in subdirectories of the apps directory. The name of the subdirectory is the application name for routing purposes. A request is routed to an application when:

  • it is the only application in the system,
  • no host names are explicitly associated with that application through configuration, and the application name matches the host name of the request,
  • host name of the request matches one of the host names explicitly associated with that application through configuration,
  • application name matches the first segment of the URL path of the request, and the application did not explicitly disable URL path based routing.

Run the following command to scaffold a second application

git azure app --setup

The scaffolder created a apps\ folder. Now, commit that to the repo and push it.

git add .
git commit -m "second application"
git push

Then, go to You should get a response from the second application you just added. You can also fo to and receive a response from the first application.

At this point you have two node.js applications running on a single VM on the same port 80 (and 443 for SSL protected requests).

Host name based routing

The second application was placed in the subdirectory, so given the convention based routing rules, all requests with host name equal to will also be routed to that application.

To test this, add an entry to the /etc/hosts file to map the domain name to the IP address of the Windows Azure service that was provided to you during the one-time intialization. First call

git config --get azure.ip

which will give you the IP address of your Windows Azure service, say Next, edit the /etc/hosts file with something like sudo nano /etc/hosts and enter the new host line:

Last, go to You should see the 'SECOND APPLICATION' show up.

Note: in production, instead of adding A records to /etc/hosts or to their DNS registry, one would add a CNAME record redirecting the custom domain name to

Explicit routing configuration

Routing configuration for an application can be customized with entries in the package.json file in the root of the application's directory (e.g. apps/ In addition, the git azure app command helps make these configuration changes. Note that git azure app only scaffolds the changes locally, you still need to commit and push the changes with git commit and git push to make them effective.

To associate a host name with an application hello, call:

git azure app --setup hello --host

You can call that command multiple times to associate more than one host name with a given application.

To remove the association of app hello with hostname, call:

git azure app --delete hello --host

In a similar way you can control URL path based routing for an application. By default URL path based routing is enabled. To disable it for application hello, call:

git azure app --setup hello --disablePathRouting

To re-enable again, call:

git azure app --setup hello --enablePathRouting

Inspecting and validating routing configuration

Effective routing configuration is computed from the explicit configuration and the conventional routing rules. You can inspect and validate effective routing configuration for a single application by calling:

git azure app --show hello

or for all applications by calling:

git azure app --show

The latter command is particularly useful as it will detect and warn about any issues in the routing configuration, e.g. a conflicting association of a particular host name to more than one application.

Third application - submodules and WebSockets

This application shows two extra features of git-azure: ability to compose applications that reside in their own repositories, as well as support for WebSockets.

Take a look at the node.js application at It runs a small web server which serves an index.html page to the browser in response to any HTTP requests. The page in turn makes a WebSocket connection back to the server. When the server gets an upgrade request, it starts streaming Dante's Divine Comedy, Canto 1, back to the client, one stanza at a time. Try running it as a standalone node.js app to get a sense of what it does.

In this step we will add the application as a Git submodule to the atest repository.

First, go the root of the atest repo; from there:

git azure app --setup --gitUrl
git add .
git commit -m "dante application"
git push

You can then go to, you should see Dante's Divine Comedy streamed back to you over WebSockets. If you configure an entry in the /etc/hosts file pointing from the host name to the IP address of your Windows Azure Service (similarly to what you have done with the second applicaiton above), you will also be able to reach the same applicatio with URL.

SSL - the basics

SSL is enabled by default using a self-signed X.509 certificate generated by git azure init. All applications that can be reached over HTTP can also be reached over HTTPS. Similarly for WebSockets, all WS endpoints can also be reached with WSS.

Note that SSL is terminated at the HTTP reverse proxy level git-azure is running, and the local traffic between the reverse proxy and your application is always unsecured (HTTP or WS). So when authoring your server code, make sure to set up an HTTP and WS servers, not HTTPS or WSS.

The default self-signed X.509 certificate contains Common Name (CN) equal to the DNS name of your Windows Azure Service (i.e. Because the certificate is self-signed, browsers are going to display a warning when HTTPS endpoints are visited.

X.509 certificate of your service is securely stored in the Windows Azure Blob Storage associated your Windows Azure account. You can list the content of the storage by calling:

git azure blob --list

which will yield something like


The master.certificate.pem and master.key.pem are the X.509 certificate and the associated private key of your service in PKCS#7 (PEM) format. You can download these credentials to your machine if you so desire (e.g. to set up explicit trust relationship) with:

git azure blob --get master.certificate.pem --file master.certificate.pem
git azure blob --get master.key.pem --file master.key.pem

You can also supply your own X.509 certificates (perhaps issued by a publicly trusted certification authority, e.g. VeriSign) by uploading them to Windows Azure Blob Storage with:

git azure blob --put master.certificate.pem --file mycert.pem
git azure blob --put master.key.pem --file mykey.pem

SSL - application configuration

By default, all applications accept both secure and non-secure traffic (i.e. HTTP, HTTPS, WS, and WSS), and the SSL trafic is protected with the single X.509 certificate configured at the service level (master.certificate.pem and master.key.pem with

You can configure individual routes in the system to allow, require, or disallow SSL traffic. To require SSL for application hello when reached with host name route, call:

git azure app --setup hello --host --ssl required

Similarly you can prevent SSL traffic or revert to the default (allow both SSL and non-secure traffic) with these two commands, respectively:

git azure app --setup hello --host --ssl rejected
git azure app --setup hello --host --ssl allowed

(Note that any changes made by git azure app are local and need to be explicitly commited and pushed with git to become effective).

You can also customize the SSL credentials a particular route will use if the client agent support Server Name Identification (virtualy all modern browsers do). Assuming your X.509 certficate and associated private key are stored in mycert.pem and mykey.pem files, you can call:

git azure app --setup hello --host --ssl required --certFile mycert.pem --keyFile mykey.pem

The command will securely upload the certifiate and the key to Windows Azure Blob Storage, where your service will fetch it from after the configuration changes are pushed through git.

As a convenince, git azure app can also generate a set of self-signed X.509 credentials for you that will include the Common Name equal to the host name of the route. For example:

git azure app --setup hello --host --ssl required --generateX509

Will generate a self-signed certificate with, upload it to Windows Azure Blob Storage, and configure application hello to use that certificate with SNI.

Real time logs

You can access the stderr and stdout output from your applications as well as a variety of system messages generated by git-azure in real time. They are delivered to you over WebSockets and can be accessed either from a web browser or from a terminal window.

To access logs from a terminal window, simply type:

git azure logs

from within your git repository. The command will establish a secure WebSocket connection (SSL + HTTP Basic client authentication using the username/password provided during git azure init) to the git-azure service and start streaming any output generated by the application processes to stdout and stderr. Try adding a few console.log or console.error calls to your applications and see the results appear in the terminal window.

You can also access real time logs from the web browser by navigating to the management endpoint URL. The address of the endpoint can be obtained by running

git config --get azure.managementhttps

Open the URL in the browser (it will look something like The first time you access it you will be asked for the username and password for HTTP Basic authentication - enter the credentials you provided during git azure init. Then choose the link to the real time logs.

By default git azure logs as well as the web browser access to logs captures all logging information generated from all applications as well as the git-azure runtime itself. The scope of information can be narrowed down by application or category. For example, to only capture stdout from hello1 and hello2 applications as well as any system logs generated by git-azure, specify the following parameters:

git azure logs --apps hello1,hello2 --type stdout,system

Similar filtering can be performed when accessing logs from a web browser using URL query parameters.

SSH access to the Windows Azure VM

You can connect to your Windows Azure VM using SSH using the full DNS name of your service and the username and password you configured during git azure init. If you forgot any of this informaiton, you can retrieve it with

git config --get azure.username
git congig --get azure.cname

Then simply use your SSH client, e.g.:


The command will connect you with an instance of cmd.exe console running on your server. The location of the git-azure deployment is e:\approot, and the repository enlistment exists at e:\approot\repo.

SSH also allows you to remotely execute scripts on the server. For example, to obtain the list of processes running on the server, you can call:

ssh cmd /c tasklist

Support for multiple versions of node.js

Each application in your repository can use a different version of the node.js engine.

First, the package.json file at the root of your application (e.g. apps/hello/package.json) must specify the version constraints of the node.js engine using regular mechanisms of package.json (type npm help json for more information), e.g.:

  "engines": { 
    "node": ">= 0.6.17" 

Second, the git-azure runtime must be configured with the list of node.js versions that will be downloaded and made available to applications. This is done using the azure element of the package.json file at the root of the repository, e.g.:

  "azure": {
    "engines": ['0.6.19', '0.7.8', '0.8.0']

During startup, git-azure runtime will download all engine versions specified in this section from{semver_version}. Next, when initializing a node process to handle an application, it will choose a node.js engine with the maximum version that satisifies the engine version requirement of the application.

Resetting the git-azure runtime

During normal operation, the git-azure runtime performs a reset when it receives a post receive hook notification from your Git repository. During the reset, all application processes are terminated, the repository is synchronized, the configuration is recalculated, SSL certificates are re-obtained from Windows Azure Blob storage, and the service is re-opened. This process typically takes a few seconds.

In special circumstances you may need to force the git-azure runtime to perform a reset. These include situations where you have chosen not to configure the post receive hook in your Git repository, or if you have changed the SSL certificates uploaded to the Windows Azure Blob storage. In such cases you can force the reset of the git-azure runtime with

git azure reset

This type of reset is sufficient to update the deployment and configuration of your applications in majority of cases. In a more esoteric case when you have updated not only the application code but also the code of git-azure runtime itself in your repository (which is registered as a git submodule in the .git-azure subdirectory), you will want to force the entire git-azure runtime to recycle. This can be accomplished with

git azure reset --hard

The hard reset typically takes less than a minute.

Finally, in the most exceptional of situations, you may want to re-deploy the entire Windows Azure service anew to start from a clean slate. This can be accomplished by calling

git azure init --force

from within a repository in which you have previously called git azure init. This process will take several minutes. All applications in the repository will remain intact, and so will all SSL certificates and other artifacts you uploaded to the Windows Azure Blob service.

Using private repositories or other hosted-git providers

On the 0.5.0 we've added support for using not only Github open source repos, but its private repositories and any http-based git repositories too. If you want to take advantage of this feature you need to use the remote url for your repository as follows

git clone https://{username}:{password}

Basically this will tell the engine that you're cloning a repository that is private, and which are the credentials you need to access it. Also the same applies to the Submodule Applications sample, as follows

git azure app --setup --gitUrl https://{user}:{password}

The same approach applies to BitBucket or any other Hosted GIT that supports https/http.

DISCLAIMER: Private repositories work because GitHub supports basic authentication over HTTPS for cloning repositories. We cannot guarantee that the same approach will work for your own server or any other provider.


(in order of first commits)

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