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New Azure Background Jobs and Managed Identity Support in Arcus.BackgroundJobs v0.4

Arcus.BackgroundJobs v0.4 is packed with lots of fresh new features and added support. Come and take a look at what is included in this new release!

Notify upon potential expired Azure client secrets

This new background job rose from a typical problem when working with applications within Active Directory. There is no built-in support for getting notified when a client secret has expired or is about to expire. Unlike Azure Key Vault, there is no way of hooking upon an event and running arbitrary code that could potentially rotate the client secret. The consequence of this ‚missing link‘ is that applications will report authentication failures when the client secret has expired. At this point it is already too late, as the administrator of the application will have to figure out which client secret needs rotating and do the key rotation themselves. All the while, the application is offline.

Arcus‘ new background job provides a solution to this problem. The job runs at a specified interval and will notify the application team with Azure EventGrid events when a client secret has expired or is about to expire. This will help to manage the application and Azure resources, ensuring less potential downtime.

The job is available in the new library called: Arcus.BackgroundJobs.AzureActiveDirectory.

Note that the background job needs an Azure EventGrid publisher to publish any potentially expired client secret events. The job can also be configured with many options, like controlling the job’s interval and the content of the notified event. For more information on this background job, see our official documentation.

Refresh value upon Azure App Configuration changes

When configuration values are placed externally, like inside an Azure App Configuration instance, there is no way to know the exact time when a value is changed remotely from your local application code. The App Configuration extensions on the application configuration contain ‚refreshers‘ that allow you to refresh the configuration values at any given time. Without any indicator though, one cannot know when the ‚refresher‘ should be called.

Arcus BackgroundJobs v0.4 has a way to bridge this missing link by running a job that listens to any App Configuration change events and calls the refresher instance for you. This way, the circle is complete, and any remote changes automatically result in local changes in your application. The published events go via Azure EventGrid and should eventually be placed on an Azure ServiceBus topic. This setup is required on your Azure resource group as the background job needs an event source to peak from.

This overview gives you an idea of the workflow:

The job is available in the new library called: Arcus.BackgroundJobs.AppConfiguration. Note that this job requires the Arcus secret store to interact with the Azure App Configuration and a registered App Configuration configuration source within your application configuration registration, so that a specific value can be updated.

For more information on this background job, see our official documentation.

Managed Identity support for CloudEvents background jobs

We are very happy to announce that the v0.4 release of BackgroundJobs also includes a valuable contribution that solves a missing functionality problem in the background jobs environment. This library heavily builds on top of our Arcus Messaging library. The Messaging library received a feature some releases ago that allowed Managed Identity authentication when registering message pumps. As Managed Identity is the way to go from a security perspective, this could not be missing in our BackgroundJobs library.

Luckily, one of our contributors saw this and made a proposal. When registering CloudEvents background jobs you can now use Managed Identity authentication instead of passing secret keys that point to connection strings within the Arcus secret store. It is a simple and small change, which has a huge impact. This is another reason why contributions are so important.

.NET 6 support

This release also finally supports .NET 6 which means that from now on, all Arcus library components are .NET 6 supported. We made sure that we still support .NET Core 3.1 until the end of the year; when .NET Core will also be deprecated by Microsoft. Until then, we provide multi-framework support on our components.

Conclusion

The BackgroundJobs library is one of the fundamental reasons why Arcus exists. It provides real useful bridges between existing Azure functionality and makes your applications more reactive. Repeated tasks and ‚polling‘ work are not needed anymore. Arcus provides the tools so you can focus solely on the application code.

Take a look our documentation site to see what the library contains. If you have any questions, remarks, comments, or just want to discuss something with us: feel free to contact the Arcus team at Codit.

– Arcus team

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