Generating an SSH Key and Using it on Azure

SSH KEYS allow us to connect to VMs without using passwords but by passing a private key that can be managed by you or your organization.

For more about SSH

There are three parts to this tutorial:
A. Generate an SSH Key
B. Create a VM in Azure that uses the public key
C. Connect to VM using SSH keys

Prerequisites:
Bash
ssh-keygen ($ info ssh-keygen to learn more)
An Azure Subscription

A. Generate an SSH Key

Open bash and enter:
$ ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 2048 -C "Ubuntu@azure-server"
Keyname: server-key
Passphrase: somethingMemorable

Copy the contents of server-key.pub
$ cat server-key.pub

Should look like this:
ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABAQDMlUr7PCEdBmCVZHG5RqI8i7GgYAzd2G/FZ987XXa63vnqxZmZogVmmXrTnBHeM6oDv7v7g495CiiiINhJbGR4o7t4agiHOM43egDv7BbiViTlfVr3y5AxLUvRwHnC3egl8ABVX1anfXXR73x7IS3YRNWkh6gXtlhImw8UKG04UoZEmWB9BLt53lk/9c3Hxz22YZarzImrpQYy1XEUZ096B9mK/Fe+/McH78ZHUpXEgOZBIDP5KdqPk5XKznpwUDJ4/SPXPEWWCCjQ8gOoTFcFMaiMnXp5o5Udsi/DFO1TS/t8BeCRymkr5tdPvzexjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjkjt Ubuntu@azure-server

Here’s what it looks like for me:
keygenandcat

Cool and you’ll also notice that there’s another file in that same directory – server-key
$ ls | grep server
Here’s what that looks like for me:
lskeys

Now that we have our public and private keys let’s get our VM setup.

B. Create a VM in Azure that uses the public key

1. Go to the Azure Portal

2. Select New -> Search: Ubuntu Server
(I’m using 14.04 this time)
selectubuntu1404

3. Make sure you’ve selected Resource Manger and click Create:
resourcemanagecreate

4. Now configure the basics per our ssh-keygen parameters
Name: azure-server
VM Disk Type: Up To You
User name: Ubuntu
Authentication type: SSH public key
SSH public key: Paste the results of $ cat server-key.pub
Subscription: Depends how you want to pay for the server
Resource Group: Up to you – I’m going to create a new one so I can quickly delete it.
Location: Up to you

Should look like this:
basicsconfigurationforssh

Then select OK to go to the next section.

5. Choose Virtual Machine Size
I’m going with the smallest VM for testing.
You can also view all different VM sizes to find the right one for your use case.
pickvmsize

6. Configure optional Features
Setting the Storage account name to something you’ll remember easily is good.
And if you want to configure ports now you can select Network Security group to allow ports specific traffic.
Here’s what that looks like:
optional-azure-settings
Click okay to continue to the Summary of your VM.

Here’s our summary:
summary-click-okay-to-create-vm

Select okay to start your VM.

7. Wait for it to be ready.
Dashboard will have an icon and you’ll get a notification when its ready:
waiting-for-vm-to-spin-up-from-dashboard

8. Once ready select on it to see the overview and the IP address.
Should look like this:
vm-overview-ip

Great! We have a VM and its IP address. Lets use our Private SSH key to connect.

C. Connect to VM using SSH Keys

1. Open bash to file location you created the keys in.
Make sure they’re there:
$ ls | grep server

2. Enter this command to use SSH to connect:
$ ssh -i server-key Ubuntu@52.183.31.11 -v
or more generally
$ ssh -i keyname username@ip.address -v
Make sure you’re using server-key and not server-key.pub
Tip: -v is the verbose option. Not necessary, but it helps to see if the key is being accepted

3. Great, now accept the certificate, and enter your memeroablePassphrase
Whole thing should look like this:
ssh-using-key-to-inbash

And you’ll be in the terminal of your VM:
in-the-terminal-of-the-vm

Yay!
You’ve got the key, you’ve got the VM, now put it to work!
Flask on Ubuntu
Node on Ubuntu
Mongo on Ubuntu
Connecting to VMs from Azure Web Apps

Let me know if you have any questions by posting in the comments below!

These people just want High Fives!
These people just want High Fives!

3 thoughts on “Generating an SSH Key and Using it on Azure”

  1. So new to bash… when you run the cat server-key.pub command and it displays in the screen how do you copy that easily from the bash console. I am using the bash console that is in the Azure portal. Thanks so much.

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