Azure Artifacts


Azure Artifacts is one of the many services that Azure DevOps provides. However, if you want to learn about it, you must first understand packages and their relationship, as an insight into the background will help you better understand the concept of Azure artifacts easily.

So let’s dive into the Azure Artifacts by understanding...

What are Packages?

The software is delivered into packages - a collection of files and directories needed for a software product. And these packages are designed by the application developer after the completion of the development of the application code. As the software goes to different platforms, to the production stage, or the administrators for installation, software needs to be built into one or more packages.

What Is Package Management and Why is it Needed?

A package manager or package management system contains software tools to automate certain processes, such as installation, up-gradation, configuration, and removal of software packages for a computer’s operating system in a consistent manner. In simple words, the package manager maintains the database of software dependencies and version information to avoid software mismatches and missing prerequisites.

A package manager is a programming language’s tool built to create project environments and import external dependencies. Since the package management system maintains all the things related to packages and ensures the availability of such tools within your reach, you don’t have to search or make these tools on your own. Besides this, when you work on a project or library, you can package your project and publish it for others.

It helps you specify dependencies, a package name, author tags, keywords, and version number. By doing this, you can store your package in the online repositories and allow others to find your project.

What are Azure Artifacts?

Azure Artifacts is also a package management solution. It is integrated into Azure DevOps and allows you to share various packages using public or private feeds. Any team can take advantage of these artifacts. It allows you to store other artifacts on your feed in the form of universal packages that can be customized according to your needs.

Why Azure Artifacts Is Used as Package Manager?

You can also build a solution internally on a server, but surely you will face lots of challenges like excessive management burden and security issues. For instance, if you host your own NuGet server, you will have to take care of the server maintenance, security patching, access management, and connectivity issues for developers and build systems.

Contrary, you can leverage the SaaS platform for your package management needs. Azure Artifacts is integrated into Azure DevOps, a SaaS platform. If you move to this platform, you can relieve your system administrators from management burden; and your organization from chaotic homegrown solutions. Azure Artifacts allows a single sign-in feature to your package feeds, higher uptime, and scalability. Plus, you will experience enhanced security for your package feeds with Azure DevOps’ built-in security feature.

Types of Artifacts in Azure Pipelines

The following table describes supported artifact types in Azure Pipelines:



Build Artifacts

Build artifacts are the files that your build produces. E.g. .dll, .exe, and .PDB symbols files.

Pipeline Artifacts

Pipeline artifacts store build outputs and move intermediate files between jobs in the pipeline. Pipeline artifacts are restricted to the pipeline where they're created. You can use them within the pipeline and download them from the build till the build is retained. Pipeline artifacts reduce the time it takes to store outputs in your pipelines.


Publish Maven artifacts to Azure Artifacts feeds or Maven repository.


Publish npm packages to Azure Artifacts feeds or npm registry.


Publish NuGet packages to Azure Artifacts feeds or NuGet repository.


Publish Python packages to Azure Artifacts feeds or PyPI repository.


Symbol files contain debugging information for compiled executables. Symbol servers enable debuggers to automatically retrieve the correct symbol files without knowing the specific product, package or build information.

Universal Packages

Universal Packages store one or more files together in a single unit that has a name and version. Unlike pipeline artifacts that reside in the pipeline, Universal Packages reside within a feed of Azure Artifacts.

Package Management: Azure Vs AWS

Azure Artifacts: It lets you create and share Maven, npm, and NuGet package feeds from public and private sources. It is a fully integrated package management to your continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines that you can set up with a single click.

Azure DevOps Services and Azure DevOps Server offer Azure Artifacts as an extension that comes pre-installed in Azure DevOps Services, Azure DevOps Server 2019, and 2020 and TFS 2017 and 2018. With Azure Artifacts, you get to know the concept of multiple feeds that help you organize and control your packages.

AWS CodeArtifact: It is a fully managed artifact repository service for developers and organizations. It helps you securely store and share the software packages used for development, build, and deployment processes.

CodeArtifact can be used with popular build tools and package managers such as:

  • Maven and Gradle (for Java),
  • npm and yarn (for Javascript),
  • pip and twine (for Python), and more to come.

Once new packages are consumed, or published to your repositories, CodeArtifact automatically scales and takes care of the infrastructure installation or maintenance. Besides this, CodeArtifact is a multilingual artifact repository that can store artifact packages of any supported type. For example, a single CodeArtifact repository can be configured to store packages from Maven, npm, and Python repositories, side by side, in a single location.

Features and Benefits of Azure Artifacts

  • Universal Packages for Any Kind of Usage: With the availability of the Universal Packages, Azure Artifacts has become a universal store for artifacts that you need for development and deployment. Adding to NuGet, npm, and Maven packages feed now Universal Packages that can be used to store any file or set of files. Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) CLI assists you to create and consume Universal Packages. These Universal Packages can be used to store deployment inputs like installers, large datasets, or binary files that you need during development, or as a versioned container for your pipeline outputs.
  • Sharing is Easy: With the views feature you can share subsets of the NuGet and npm package-versions in your feed with consumers. The goal of views is to share package-versions that have been tested, validated, or deployed but hold back packages that are still under development or not ready for public consumption. Views and upstream sources are designed to collaborate, produce, and consume packages at an enterprise scale.
  • Control your dependencies: Upstream sources ensure single feed usage for the packages you produce and the packages you consume from remote feeds including public and private feeds. After enabling the upstream source, any user connected to the feed can install a package from the remote feed, and the feed will save a copy of the same.
  • Easy to use Symbols and the Symbol Server: To debug compiled executables compiled from native code languages like C++, you need symbol files that contain debugging information. Artifacts make symbol support and publishing quick and simple. After selecting the “Index Sources and Publish Symbols” task, you can publish symbols to the Azure DevOps. The best part is that no advanced configuration or file sharing setup is needed to use this feature.
  • Credential Provider Authentication: Azure Artifacts secure all the artifacts you publish, but earlier it was challenging to securely use NuGet packages, especially on Mac and Linux. However, with the new Azure Artifacts Credential Provider, you can automate the acquisition of credentials needed to restore NuGet packages as part of your .NET development workflow. Whether you’re using MSBuild,.NET, or NuGet(.exe) on Windows, Mac, or Linux, you can use packages from an Azure Artifacts feed and the Credential Provider will automatically acquire and store a token on behalf of the NuGet client.


Azure Artifacts is an open-source toolchain for development teams to help with the management of their builds. You can set up a build in minutes using Azure Artifacts without worrying about the installation or configuration of build servers. It is an advanced package management system that ensures better security, accessibility, and scalability compared to previous and existing solutions.