Separate deployment from configuration?

Hello there,

We’re currently using Octopus the following way :

We deploy many .NET services.
They have a .config file in XML.

I use a mix of configuration variables and configuration transforms to get the .config into shape, using the options in your official steps.

The values for my variables are stored within Octopus, either in project variables, or in a set of variables.

Steps being used:

  • Deploy Windows service
  • Deploy IIS website

For the most part, I think it’s a wonderful system and I’m extremely happy with it.

However, we have a grumpy service that we don’t want to restart every time we modify the configuration.

The idea would be to simply apply the configuration, without touching the service itself.

Is there a way to split the deployment and configuration, and be able to decide whether you execute a Deployment+Configuration, or just the configuration?

Ideally, I would like to have 2 deployment variables presented to my users:

  • Deploy + Configure
  • Just configure


Hi Damien,

Thank you for reaching out to us with your query about separating configuration from deployment.

I’ve checked and the built-in steps that you mentioned aren’t able to be used for just configuration. You might however be able to modify the configuration using a custom script. The script would read the necessary variables from Octopus Deploy and make the changes directly.

We can’t create the script for you but I did find the following Stack Overflow discussion after a quick bit of searching which might be useful:

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Best Regards,


Hi Charles,

Thanks for the quick reply.

The thing is, I’m trying to configure some very clean projects, using only official Octopus steps.
But if the only way is to create some custom scripts, then so be it :slight_smile:

I have to present my new configuration to my CTO and the devs tomorrow in a live demo, I’m trying to come prepared and I want to be able to answer all their questions.
I’m pretty sure they’re going to ask about a possible separation between deployment and configuration.

By the way, is there a way to configure a separate configuration pipeline for my projects?

E.g. A separate configuration project, that would find the appropriate path for the folders and .config files of my service projects.
My service projects are using tenant variables (‘Project templates’) extensively to configure some custom installation paths.

I’m still unsure if the configuration should be integrated within the deployment project itself.



Greetings Damien! I had a quick question regarding your setup. When deploying your grumpy service, do you use a Custom Installation Directory?

Hi Shawn,

Our grumpy service has several variants, and we use several folders, sometimes on the same server, sometimes on different servers:



They all use different paths and parameter values.

Yes, it’s quite a headache :wink:


For clarification, may I ask why it is you don’t want to restart the service?

Sure. We don’t want to restart that service too often for business reasons.

When we restart it, it kicks our customers out.
We only restart it using a special procedure to prevent anyone being disconnected.
That procedure is so convoluted we haven’t automated it (yet). (sadface)

In the end, the devs would like to have the option to update the configuration without deploying/restarting.

To support this, you could package your service and configuration files into separate packages. This would result in two distinct steps in your process, a Deploy a Windows Service step and a Deploy a Package step. The Deploy a Package step contains the same features and could perform the variable replacement/XML transforms you’re currently doing.

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