Deploying to Azure Functions

In this guide, you will set up and deploy a Prisma based Node.js REST API to Azure Functions together with Azure SQL as the database. The application will expose a REST API and use Prisma Client to handle fetching, creating, and deleting records from a database.

Azure Functions is a serverless deployment platform that allows you to deploy code without having to maintain infrastructure. Azure SQL Database is a relational database service built for the cloud with automatic scaling.

In this guide, you will create the necessary resources in Azure, create the database schema using Prisma Migrate and deploy a Node.js REST API with resource endpoints that use Prisma Client to handle database operations against the Azure SQL database.

This guide's focus is showing how Prisma can be used in the Azure cloud focusing on Azure Functions and Azure SQL. The starting point is the Prisma Azure Functions example – a REST API for a simple blog with two models: User and Post (1:n). The example contains REST endpoints preconfigured as serverless functions.

With Azure Functions, the fundamental building block is a Function App. A function app provides an execution context in Azure in which your functions run. It is comprised of one or more individual functions that are managed, deployed, and scaled together. That way, you can organize and collectively manage multiple functions as a single logical unit.

Throughout the guide, you'll find various checkpoints that enable you to validate whether you performed the steps correctly.


Prisma workflow

At the core of Prisma is the Prisma schema – a declarative configuration where you define your data model and other Prisma-related configuration. The Prisma schema is also a single source of truth for both Prisma Client and Prisma Migrate.

In this guide, you will use Prisma Migrate to create the database schema. Prisma Migrate is based on the Prisma schema and works by generating .sql migration files that are executed against the database.

Migrate comes with two primary workflows:

  • Creating migrations and applying during local development with prisma migrate dev
  • Applying generated migration to production with prisma migrate deploy

For brevity, the guide does not cover how migrations are created with prisma migrate dev. Rather, it focuses on the production workflow with prisma migrate deploy and uses the Prisma schema and SQL migration that are included in the example code.

To learn more about how migrations are created with Prisma Migrate, check out the start from scratch guide

Required Azure resources

  • Resource group
  • Azure SQL Database server
  • Database
  • Firewall rule
  • Storage account
  • Function App

1. Download the example and install dependencies

Open your terminal and navigate to a location of your choice.

Create the directory for the application code and download the example code:

$mkdir prisma-azure
$cd prisma-azure
$curl | tar -xz --strip=3 prisma-examples-latest/deployment-platforms/azure-functions/

Checkpoint: Run the following command to list the contents of the folder:

$ls -1

You should see the following files


Install the dependencies:

$npm install

2. Sign in to Azure using the Azure CLI

Begin by signing in using the following command in your terminal:

$az login

3. Create the Resource Group on Azure

In Azure, a resource group is a way to group together different cloud resources. Whenever you create a resource, e.g., an Azure Function, you need to assign it a resource group.

Since the REST API will use both Azure Functions and an Azure SQL database, you will first create the resource group with the following command:

$az group create --location germanywestcentral --name prisma-azure-example

Note: The command above creates the resource group in the germanywestcentral region. You should create the resource group in the region closest to your users. For the full list of Azure regions, run the az account list-locations command.

Checkpoint: The command should output information about the created resource group:

"id": "/subscriptions/SUBSCRIPTION_ID/resourceGroups/prisma-azure-example",
"location": "germanywestcentral",
"managedBy": null,
"name": "prisma-azure-example",
"properties": {
"provisioningState": "Succeeded"
"tags": null,
"type": "Microsoft.Resources/resourceGroups"

4. Create the Azure SQL database server

To create the Azure SQL database server, copy the command below into your terminal:

$az sql server create -l germanywestcentral -g prisma-azure-example --name UNIQUE_DB_SERVER_NAME --admin-user prisma --admin-password CHOOSE_A_PASSWORD --enable-public-network true

Before running the command, replace a unique name for the database in place of UNIQUE_DB_SERVER_NAME, set a password in place of CHOOSE_A_PASSWORD, and note it down.

The command does the following:

  • Creates the database server in the germanywestcentral region.
  • Associates it with the prisma-azure-example resource group created in the previous step.
  • Sets a unique name for the Azure SQL server with UNIQUE_DB_SERVER_NAME.
  • Sets the admin user to prisma.
  • Sets the admin password.
  • Enables public network access so you can create the database schema from your machine.

In the next step, you will create the database that Prisma will use in the REST API.

5. Create the database

In this step, you will create a database in the server you created in the previous step.

Run the following command in the terminal, replace UNIQUE_DB_SERVER_NAME with the database name you chose in the previous step:

$az sql db create --resource-group prisma-azure-example --server UNIQUE_DB_SERVER_NAME --name prisma-azure-example --service-objective Basic

Here's a breakdown of the command's parameters:

  • --resource-group adds the database to the resource group created in step 3
  • --server sets the Azure SQL database server to create it in
  • --name sets the name of the database
  • --service-objective sets the database's service tier that determines the cost.

6. Create a firewall rule to allow local access to the database

In this step, you will add two firewall rules:

  • Allow remote access from your local computer's public IP to the Azure SQL database. This is necessary so you can create the database schema and use the database for testing locally.
  • Allow access to the Azure SQL database from Azure Functions

Allow access from your local computer

Begin by determining your public IP with the following command:


Copy the IP from the output and run the following command, replacing YOUR_PUBLIC_IP with the IP address and UNIQUE_DB_SERVER_NAME with the name from step 4:

$az sql server firewall-rule create --resource-group prisma-azure-example --server UNIQUE_DB_SERVER_NAME --name allow-local-acccess --start-ip-address YOUR_PUBLIC_IP --end-ip-address YOUR_PUBLIC_IP

Checkpoint: After creating the firewall rule, the command should output the following:

"endIpAddress": "YOUR_PUBLIC_IP",
"id": "/subscriptions/YOUR_SUBSCRIPTION_ID/resourceGroups/prisma-azure-example/providers/Microsoft.Sql/servers/prisma-db/firewallRules/allow-local-acccess",
"kind": "v12.0",
"location": "Germany West Central",
"name": "allow-local-acccess",
"resourceGroup": "prisma-azure-example",
"startIpAddress": "YOUR_PUBLIC_IP",
"type": "Microsoft.Sql/servers/firewallRules"

Allow access from Azure Functions

To allow applications hosted inside Azure to connect to your SQL server, Azure connections must be enabled. To enable Azure connections, there must be a firewall rule with starting and ending IP addresses set to

Create the rule with the following command:

$az sql server firewall-rule create --resource-group prisma-azure-example --server UNIQUE_DB_SERVER_NAME --name allow-function-acccess --start-ip-address --end-ip-address

7. Create a storage account

In this step, you will create a storage account used to maintain state and other information about your functions.

Run the following command to create the storage account, replacing UNIQUE_STORAGE_ACCOUNT_NAME with a name for the storage account:

$az storage account create --name UNIQUE_STORAGE_ACCOUNT_NAME --location germanywestcentral --resource-group prisma-azure-example --sku Standard_LRS

Checkpoint: If the command succeeds, it will output a large json object. Verify that provisioningState is Succeeded:

"id": "/subscriptions/YOUR_SUBSCRIPTION_ID/resourceGroups/prisma-azure-example/providers/Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts/UNIQUE_STORAGE_ACCOUNT_NAME",
"provisioningState": "Succeeded",
"resourceGroup": "prisma-azure-example",
"type": "Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts"

8. Create the function app

In this step, you will create the function app, which provides the environment for executing your function code. A function app maps to your local function project and lets you group functions as a logical unit for easier management, deployment, and sharing of resources.

Copy the following command and replace FUNCTION_APP_NAME with a unique name for your function app, and STORAGE_ACCOUNT_NAME with the name you chose in the previous step:

$az functionapp create --resource-group prisma-azure-example --consumption-plan-location germanywestcentral --runtime node --runtime-version 14 --functions-version 3 --name FUNCTION_APP_NAME --storage-account STORAGE_ACCOUNT_NAME --os-type Linux

Note: The Function App name must be globally unique as it will determine the subdomain of the deployed function.

Checkpoint: If the command succeeds, you will see a large JSON object in the terminal. Verify that that the state key in the object is set to Running.

9. Set the DATABASE_URL environment variable locally

In this step, you will define the DATABASE_URL environment variable locally to create the database schema and test the functions locally.

To construct the connection URL, copy the following connection URL template:


Replace the following parts:

  • DB_SERVER_NAME with the database server name defined in step 4
  • DB_NAME with the database name defined in step 5
  • DB_ADMIN_USER with the database admin user set in step 4 to prisma
  • DB_ADMIN_PASSWORD with the database admin password set in step 4

After setting all the values, set it as a local environment variable:

$export DATABASE_URL="sqlserver://;database=DB_NAME;user=DB_ADMIN_USER@DB_SERVER_NAME;password={DB_ADMIN_PASSWORD};encrypt=true;trustServerCertificate=false;hostNameInCertificate=*;loginTimeout=30"

10. Create the Azure Functions local configuration

In this step, you will create the local configuration file for Azure Functions. The file is used to define local configuration such as environment variables for the functions and the runtime – in this case Node.js.

Create a file named local.settings.json in the root of the project with the following command:

touch local.settings.json

And add the following contents to it:

"IsEncrypted": false,
"Values": {
"AzureWebJobsStorage": "",

11. Create the database schema

With the DATABASE_URL environment variable set, you will create the database schema using the prisma migrate deploy command.

Note: The prisma migrate deploy command will run migration files from the prisma/migrations folder. The initial migration is already included in the example. To learn more about how to create migrations, check out the Prisma Migrate docs.

Run the following command to create the database schema:

$npx prisma migrate deploy

Checkpoint: The prisma migrate deploy should show the following:

1 migration found in prisma/migrations
The following migration have been applied:
└─ 20210322111219_init/
└─ migration.sql
All migrations have been successfully applied.

12. Expose the DATABASE_URL environment variable to the functions

In this step, you will expose the DATABASE_URL environment variable to the functions so that Prisma can connect to the database. In Azure Functions, environment variables are set using app settings.

Run the following command, after replacing FUNCTION_APP_NAME_FROM_STEP_8 with the name of the Function App created in step 8:

$az functionapp config appsettings set --name FUNCTION_APP_NAME_FROM_STEP_8 --resource-group prisma-azure-example --settings DATABASE_URL=$DATABASE_URL

The command will set the DATABASE_URL app setting using the locally defined DATABASE_URL environment variable set in step 9.

Note: By default, app settings are not encrypted. Since the DATABASE_URL contains sensitive information, it can be stored more securely using Azure's Key Vault

Congratulations! You have created all the necessary resources and configuration, which means your API is ready to be deployed.

13. Deploy the functions

In this step, you will generate Prisma Client and deploy the functions.

From the project folder, run the following command:

$npx prisma generate

The command will generate Prisma Client into the node_modules folder.

To deploy the functions, run the following command:

$npx func azure functionapp publish FUNCTION_APP_NAME

Checkpoint: If the functions have been successfully deployed you should see the following output:

Getting site publishing info...
Uploading package...
Uploading 67.24 MB [##############################################################################]
Upload completed successfully.
Deployment completed successfully.
Syncing triggers...
CreatePost - [httpTrigger]
Invoke url:
CreateUser - [httpTrigger]
Invoke url:
DeletePost - [httpTrigger]
Invoke url:{postid}
FilterPosts - [httpTrigger]
Invoke url:
GetFeed - [httpTrigger]
Invoke url:
GetPost - [httpTrigger]
Invoke url:{postid}
PublishPost - [httpTrigger]
Invoke url:{postid}

Congratulations 🎊! If you've made it this far, you've successfully deployed a Prisma based REST API to Azure Functions which uses Azure SQL as the database.

In the next step, you'll test the functions and take a closer look at how the functions are implemented.

14. Test the deployed functions

In this step, you will test the API's different endpoints using the URLs from the previous step.

Begin by making a POST HTTP request to the CreateUser endpoint with curl:

$curl --request POST --data '{"email":"","name":"Alice"}'

Note: Replace the FUNCTION_APP_NAME in the URL with the app name you chose in step 8.

If the request succeeds, you should see the created user object returned:

"createdAt": "2021-03-02T14:48:15.746Z",
"email": "",
"id": 1,
"name": "Alice"

The files associated with the function can be found in the CreateUser folder, which contains two files:

  • function.json: Function configuration, e.g. HTTP method, path, and return value
  • index.js: The function handler where Prisma Client is used to create the user in the Azure SQL database

Now, try creating a post associated with the user you just created with the following command:

$curl --request POST --data '{"title":"Prisma with Azure","content":"","authorEmail":""}'

If the request succeeds, you should see the created post object returned:

"id": 1,
"createdAt": "2021-03-02T17:09:53.160Z",
"updatedAt": "2021-03-02T17:09:53.161Z",
"title": "Prisma with Azure",
"content": "",
"published": false,
"authorId": 1

To update the published field of the post, make the following request:

$curl --request PUT

If the request succeeds, you should see the updated post object:

"authorId": 1,
"content": "",
"createdAt": "2021-03-02T17:09:53.160Z",
"id": 1,
"published": true,
"title": "Prisma with Azure",
"updatedAt": "2021-03-03T10:07:11.047Z"

Finally, to test the feed endpoint, make the following request:


If the request succeeds, you should see the post you created and the related author:

"author": {
"createdAt": "2021-03-02T14:48:15.746Z",
"email": "",
"id": 1,
"name": "Alice"
"authorId": 1,
"content": "",
"createdAt": "2021-03-02T17:09:53.160Z",
"id": 1,
"published": true,
"title": "Prisma with Azure",
"updatedAt": "2021-03-03T10:07:11.047Z"

Developing and debugging the functions locally

When implementing Azure Functions, you can also start a local development environment using the Azure Functions Core tools' function runtime. That way, you can test and debug the implementation of the functions locally.

To launch the functions runtime, run the following command:

$npx func start

The command starts a local server and allows you to call any of the functions in the project.

You can inject environment variables into the functions by adding them to the Values object in the local.settings.json file at the root of the project.

Setting up a local database for development

When developing locally, you should consider running a local Microsoft SQL Server instance. While Microsoft SQL Server is not the same as Azure SQL, the two have high compatibility with each other..

The quickest way to set up a local Microsoft SQL Server is with Docker. Check out the Microsoft SQL Server example for more information on how to set it up.

Bootstrapping a new function

When you want to create a new function, you can use the following command to bootstrap a new function:

npx func function new --language JavaScript --template "HTTP trigger" --name FUNCTION_NAME

The command creates a folder with the index.js and function.json files.


Congratulations! You have successfully deployed the REST API to Azure Functions and used Prisma Client to handle database queries to the Azure SQL database.

For more insight into Prisma Client's API, explore the function handlers and check out the Prisma Client API Reference

It's worth noting that while this guide used the Azure CLI to create all the resources, this can also be achieved via the Azure Portal UI or the VSCode extension, which supports deployments directly from VSCode.

As a next step, you could look into implementing a continuous delivery pipeline using GitHub Actions to automate the deployment process from a GitHub repository.

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