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Azure DevOps Microsoft-hosted build agents and self-hosted build agents

What is a build agent in Azure DevOps? If you head over to one of your release pipelines and edit the tasks, you'll see "Agent job" and in that portion is an Agent pool. This agent pool is how you're deploying your code. If you're using a hosted agent, Microsoft is taking doing the care and feeding of the agent for you. Your hosted agent pool may change, whether you're deploying to OS X or Windows, OS X, or Linux.

Today we're going to create our own agent build with a Windows 10 build machine. Let's get started!

1) Windows 10 (a VM if you have one would be great)
2) An Azure DevOps account
3) Admin rights to your Azure DevOps portal

The first thing we're going to do is head over to our Azure DevOps portal and create a new PAT token within our project. Click the icon with your initials on the top right of your screen and choose "security".

Next let's choose "New Token". For your scope choose "Agent Pools" and click create"

Now let's head over to our Azure DevOps homepage and choose "Organization settings". Choose "Agent pools" under Pipelines. Select "Add pool".

After that we'll need to download the agent, so move over to your VM if you are using one and sign into your Azure DevOps portal.

Once you're in your Agent Pools click on the "Agents" tab. You should see something similar to the screenshot below.

Download your agent in the Downloads folder of your user you're currently logged in as. After that we'll need to open up PowerShell to create our agent.

Run the following lines of code to create your agent;

mkdir agent ; cd agent
Add-Type -AssemblyName System.IO.Compression.FileSystem ; [System.IO.Compression.ZipFile]::ExtractToDirectory("$HOME\Downloads\", "$PWD")

Now we'll go ahead and configure the agent;


After that we'll have to type in our configuration information. Go ahead and do that similar to the screenshot below.

Now we're ready to run our agent. In PowerShell type;


Now if we head back over to our agent pools under our project, we should see our Windows 10 machine connected and it is officially an agent!


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