Azure Cloud Shell - Introduction

@20aman    Oct 08, 2017

Azure Cloud Shell is a very convenient option to run your automation scripts against your subscriptions.

The shell is provided in two flavors:

  • Bash based shell
  • PowerShell in Cloud Shell (currently in Preview)

The Cloud Shell is a Browser based experience. What this means is that you do not need to install any dependencies for the Azure commands to run. Also, there is no dependency on your machine's hardware. You can work irrespective of your local machine's configurations.

Support for various tools

Azure Cloud Shell comes preloaded with various tools depending upon the shell type selected. It comes loaded with Linux tools like bash, sh, tmux and dig. The Azure tools which are preloaded are Azure CLI 2.0 and 1.0, AzCopy,etc.Text editors include vim and nano. Git source control tools are also included. Various other Build, Containers, Databases, etc. tools are also included. It also comes with language support for .net version 2.0.0, Java version 1.8, Node.js 6.9.4, PowerShell 6.0(beta) and Python 2.7 and 3.5 etc. Check the References section for the full list and up to date version of Tools and Language support.

Key Concepts

Below are some of the key concepts (in nutshell) about the cloud shell.

  1. You can opt for any one of the two shell options available, as per your preferences. You can choose to have a Bash shell or PowerShell in Cloud shell
  2. You can easily switch between the two shells at any time
  3. If you are logged into Azure portal then you are also automatically authenticated into the Azure Cloud Shell

Other important concepts as per Microsoft documentation are:

  1. Cloud Shell runs on a temporary host provided on a per-session, per-user basis
  2. Cloud Shell times out after 20 minutes without interactive activity
  3. Cloud Shell requires an Azure file share to be mounted
  4. Cloud Shell uses the same Azure file share for both Bash and PowerShell
  5. Cloud Shell is assigned one machine per user account
  6. Bash persists $Home using a 5-GB image held in your file share
  7. Permissions are set as a regular Linux user in Bash


Cloud Shell does not have any direct cost linked to it. The charge for Cloud Shell is only for the usage of the underlying Azure Storage. The exact charge depends on the amount you store on that storage and the type of the storage. By default, Locally Redundant Storage is created.


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