Install and upgrade software on Windows using Chocolatey


There are multiple ways of installing software packages. These can include common utilities such as 7-zip or Winzip, browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Brave etc. We also install editors like Notepad Plus Plus, Visual Studio Code, terminals such as Fluent Terminal, cmder etc. The list can just go on and on. Things get complicated when you move from one operating system to another like MacOS or Linux. Lets add one more twist by adding the processor architecture or type 32 bit or 64 bit, Intel or AMD processors.

The way we install software could vary based on many of the factors listed above. Even for technical people, it can become a challenge sometimes to identify the right version of the software to download and install. This is where a package manager can be quite handy.


In this post, we will focus the attention to a package manage specific to the Windows operating system. A package manager helps to search for packages, install the package along with its dependencies, identify outdated packages, uninstall the package, pin the version of the software and many other features. 

I have been using Chocolatey to install and upgrade the versions of more than 75+ software. I also managed to automate the setting up of a new Windows machine using chocolatey. The source code for this can be found in my Github repository.


In the YouTube video below see Chocolatey in action where we use it to search for packages, list all the installed packages, find information about the packages and upgrade packages as well as extensions for Visual Studio Code.


Using package manager to install software can make out life much easier. We do not need to visit the websites to look for the appropriate package, the dependencies get resolved automatically and we can identify the outdated packages easily. I hope you found this tip useful.

Until next time, Code with Passion and Strive for Excellence

How to Manage Kubernetes Secrets with Azure Key Vault


There are different ways in which we can manage environment specific settings related to containerized applications. Kubernetes provides ConfigMaps and Secrets as two options to manage environment configuration. ConfigMaps are good for storing key value pairs in plain text. When we are dealing with sensitive information containing connection strings, user name and password, certificates etc. these should be stored in encrypted form. Kubernetes Secret objects stores data in Base64 encoded form. 

Extend Kubernetes Secrets by storing them externally in Azure Key Vault (AKV)

Storing secrets in encrypted form provides first line of defense. As the popularity of Kubernetes increases, the tools surrounding the ecosystem are also improving on regular basis. More and more vendors are providing extensions of their services to work with Kubernetes.

One such area is the way secrets are managed. In an enterprise scenario, we might use a secure Key Vault to store keys externally. Azure Key Vault (AKV) and HashiCorp Vault are examples of such key vaults. In this demo we are going to use Azure Key Vault. The AKV allows us to store
  • Keys
  • Secrets
  • Certificates
The keys, secrets and certificates are stored in a secure manner and we can provide very fine grained access to different users.

The Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is used to provision a managed Kubernetes cluster with 1.18.2 Kubernetes version. We are also using Azure Container Registry (ACR) to store the docker images for the application containers. In AKS cluster is created using Managed Identity which assigns an Identity to the VMSS agent pool. We use this managed identity and grant only the Get privilege to retrieve the secrets stored in AKV.

The secrets from AKV are pulled when the pod is created as part of the Kubernetes deployment. We use a Secrets Store Container Storage Interface (CSI) driver. Azure Key Vault Provider  for Secrets Store CSI Driver specifies Azure related properties. The secrets are synched with Kubernetes secret object. These are mounted as Volume Mount in the pod. Finally the data from Kubernetes secret is passed into Environment variables used by the pod.


All the above functionality is demonstrated as part of the YouTube video on Integrating AKV with AKS.


The image below depicts the 5 step process to integrate AKV with AKS.