Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Remote Access to Ubuntu Linux VM on Windows Azure

Previous post: Linux (Ubuntu) Virtual Machine on Windows Azure

I was getting ready to write a post about connecting remotely to Ubuntu running on Windows Azure, when I found this post: Remote Desktop to Ubuntu in Windows Azure. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with Ubuntu 13.4 (Raring Ringtail); which just happens to be the image I choose to install in my virtual machine. Rather than wrestle with it any longer, I’ve decided to create a new VM using the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Server (Precise Pangolin) image.

You may wonder why anyone would bother setting up remote access since you can SSH into the machine remotely and do everything through the command line. For me, the answer is quite simple, I want another way to connect in case something goes wrong. I’ve had VMs get into bad states (both one Amazon AWS EC2 and Windows Azure), so I’d like the option to connect as many ways as possible.

Note: I've used the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS server image since newer versions of the Ubuntu Unity desktop don't have a 2D mode and therefore are difficult to use with remote client software. If someone has the solution to this issue, please leave a comment.

[Update: Of course, you fist have to set up SSH: How to Use SSH with Linux on Windows Azure. You should create an SSH key first and associate the certificate (*.pem file) with the VM when you create the VM.]

To get remote access to 12.04, here are the steps:

1. Connect using SSH. I like the Git Bash terminal that comes with the Git install. PuTTY is also a good SSH client.

2. Install a desktop. This command will take a while, so get yourself a cup of joe... and feel free to make it a grande.

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop


3. Install XRDP/ VNC Server.

sudo apt-get install xrdp

4. In the Azure Management Portal, create a VM endpoint for XRDP. 3389 is the default port.

5. Use the "Connect" button from the Azure portal to download an RDP shortcut for your VM.


6. Open the shortcut and login.


Here are a couple of other posts on this topic:

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