Start and connect to your Azure VM from the Mac command line

Update 11th October: OK, I didn’t realize is was now very trivial to set a static IP and a DNS name in Azure Public IP Address configuration for Azure. Still I think the commands in this article are still interesting to illustrate how to interact with Azure.

Microsoft Azure is great, but I’m not really a big fan of the Azure portal . I find it rather messy to navigate, and multiple clicks to find the function that you want.

My first simple scenario is to start and connect to one of my Azure developer machines. It costs a great deal to run it 24 hours a day, and I may only use it between 1 and 4 hours each day. It can be started and stopped on the portal, but with some Azure CLI tools and bash scripting I can start and be in quickly.

First let’s check the version installed:

Azure --version


Then login, which will ask you to open and enter the given code. You can then link your subscription through the browser.

Azure login

Screen Shot 2016-10-07 at 8.59.40 AM.png

If succesful, then all your MSDN subscription will get added (in this example I have 3)

Screen Shot 2016-10-07 at 9.03.08 AM.png

So now your environment is ready.

List out all your available VM’s with

azure vm list

Screen Shot 2016-10-07 at 9.26.38 AM.png

and start with

azure vm start -g -n


I was looking for a command that would download the remote desktop file (RDP), but seems there isn’t. No problem because it is easy to create from the VM’s IP address:
azure vm show |grep "Public IP address" | awk -F ":" '{print $3}'

So with a little Bash scripting, you can derive and launch the remote session automatically. This assumes that you have installed Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac. Just create a new bash script file with the following contents, changing the environment variables to you Azure and local configuration:


echo "RDP Generator"
#Change to your Azure resource group

#Change to your Azure VM name

#Change to the user name on that VM

#Set the location of the temp RDP file

#This should be the default location for Microsoft RDP install
VarRemoteDesktopLocation="/Applications/Microsoft Remote"

VarResult1=$(azure vm show $VarResourceGroupName $VarVMName |grep "Public IP address" )
VarResult2="$(echo $VarResult1 | cut -f3 -d ':')"

VarBegin="full address:s:"

echo $VarRemoteDesktopLocation

touch $VarRDPLocation
#overwrite existing file
echo $VarBegin$VarResult2$VarEnd > $VarRDPLocation
echo "prompt for credentials:i:1" >> $VarRDPLocation
echo "administrative session:i:1" >> $VarRDPLocation
echo "username:s:"$VarUserName >> $VarRDPLocation

#Launch remote desktop session with new file
open -a "$VarRemoteDesktopLocation" $VarRDPLocation

Just run your new script file and it will launch the Microsoft RDP client automatically.


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