Using ARMclient to directly access Azure ARM REST API’s and list ARM Policy details

While Azure-PowerShell and the Azure xplat CLI are excellent tools, there are times when connecting directly to the Azure ARM REST API is just easier.   One of these times is when you want to find out the contents of an Azure Resource Manager Policy.  While Its easy to use PowerShell to find out the policies applied to a Resource Group.

get-azureRMpolicyassignment -Scope /subscriptions/$mysubscription/resourceGroups/$myresourcegroup

Getting the details as to the contents of an Azure Resource Manager Policy can be quite a bit trickier.  This is one situation where calling the ARM Policy provider via the ARM REST API’s directly is the easiest answer.

ARMclient is an OSS project which makes the task of connecting to Azure’s ARM REST API incredibly easy.  David Ebbo has a great blog article here on the simple steps to install ARMClient.

Once ARMclient is installed its a simple matter of logging in to the Azure tenant and then calling the provider.  In this case,  /Microsoft.authorization/policydefinitions to list the ARM Policies for a given subscription.

armclient login
armclient get "<$YourSubscriptionID>/providers/Microsoft.authorization/policydefinitions?api-version=2016-04-01"

Depending on the number of ARM Policies in the subscription the output from the ARMclient can be quite large.  If you know the name of the ARM Policy you whish to see the details for you can append this to the call that you make to the API.

armclient get "<$YourSubscriptionID>/providers/Microsoft.authorization/policydefinitions/tags-owner?api-version=2016-04-01"

This will display the contents of just that policy.

armclient get "<$YourSubscriptionID>/providers/Microsoft.authorization/policydefinitions/tags-owner?api-version=2016-04-01"
  "properties": {
    "policyType": "Custom",
    "description": "Policy to set owner tags",
    "policyRule": {
      "if": {
        "allof": [
            "field": "tags",
            "exists": "true"
            "field": "tags.owner",
            "exists": "false"
      "then": {
        "effect": "append",
        "details": [
            "field": "tags.owner",
            "value": "Daniel"
  "id": "/subscriptions/<$YourSubscriptionID>/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyDefinitions/tags-owner",
  "type": "Microsoft.Authorization/policyDefinitions",
  "name": "tags-owner"

As you can see the output passed back by the API is exactly the same JSON format which is used when creating the ARM Policies .

There is heaps that you can do with the ARMclient, one of my favourites is to list out all the resources in an Azure subscription.

armclient get "<@YourSubscriptionID>/resources?api-version=2014-04-01"

As the output is in JSON format its very easy to manipulate as required.  You can also convert the output from ARMclient to a PowerShell object using ConvertFrom-JSON in your PowerShell scripts.

The following command will list just the virtual machines in a subscription.

armclient get "<$YourSubscriptionID>/providers/Microsoft.compute/virtualMachines?api-version=2016-03-30"

To get a list of all available ARM providers which you can call using the ARM REST API, you can run the following ARMclient command.

armclient get "<$YourSubscriptionID>/providers?$expand=resourceTypes/aliases&api-version=2015-11-01"

This will also give you the API versions supported by the different providers.  An API version must be appended to the end of all calls to the ARM REST API.

As well as ‘get’ commands, the ARMclient can also be used to modify Azure ARM resources by using ‘post’, ‘put’ and ‘delete’ operators.  The website exposes similar functionality to the ARMclient.

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