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Microsoft Azure Cloud Shell Image

Azure Cloud Shell is a browser-based shell environment which enables Azure customers to manage and configure their Azure services. It provides a host of tools, including Azure CLI, Azure PowerShell, Ansible, Terraform, Chef, Puppet Bolt, kubectl, and many more.

For more details, check out Overview of Azure Cloud Shell.

Try out Cloud Shell by clicking the button below.

About this repository

When you connect to Azure Cloud Shell, we start a container containing a wide variety of tools, and connect your browser to a shell process running inside that container. This repository contains the Docker files used to build that image. It does not contain all of the code used for the rest of the Azure Cloud Shell service. The code in this repository may not match exactly to what is running in the Cloud Shell service at any given time. The service is updated periodically and changes are gradually rolled out to different regions over time, so there may be a lag of up to 3-4 weeks between a change being made here and being reflected in all Cloud Shell regions.

This repository has several uses:

  1. Running the Cloud Shell image locally. If you want a curated set of up-to-date command-line tools suitable for managing an Azure environment, but you want to run the tools locally on your own computer instead of in Cloud Shell, you can build the image and run it yourself.

  2. Contributing to Cloud Shell. If you would like to propose a new tool for inclusion in Cloud Shell, you can create an issue or submit a Pull Request to request the tool be added. Please ensure that the PR actually builds within GitHub Actions.

The repository does not provide an out-of-the-box replacement for the Cloud Shell service. In addition to the container image here, Azure Cloud Shell consists of a user interface integrated into the portal, a web service which manages the infrastructure on which the containers run, and some additional code used inside the container to connect the shell process to the user interface via websocket.

Running the Cloud Shell image locally

docker pull

# for bash
docker run -it /bin/bash

# for powershell
docker run -it /usr/bin/pwsh

Differences between running locally and in Cloud Shell

  1. No identity endpoint. In Cloud Shell, we provide a way to automatically obtain tokens for the user connected to the shell. We can't provide this when you run locally, so you have to authenticate explicitly before you can access Azure resources. When using AZ CLI, run az login; for PowerShell, run Connect-AzAccount.

  2. No cloud drive. We don't mount the Cloud Drive from your Azure Cloud Shell, so you won't have access to files stored there.

  3. Root instead of cloud shell user. In Azure Cloud Shell you always run as a regular user. When running the image locally, you run as root.

Contributing to Cloud Shell

Understanding the base.Dockerfile and tools.Dockerfile

The repository contains two Dockerfile, 'base' and 'tools'. Tools is built on top of the base file, so normally you would just have one Dockerfile and rely on the container registry to cache all the layers that haven't changed. However we need to cache the base image explicitly to ensure fast startup time. So the image is split into these two files, and the tools layer starts FROM an internal repository where the base image is cached, so that we know when we need to update the base.

When building or using the image locally, you don't need to worry about that. Just build using the instructions below, and be aware that changes the the base layer will take longer to release than changes to the tools.

Layer Job
Base Contains large, infrequently changing packages. Changes every 3-4 months.
Tools Contains frequently changing packages. Changes every 2-3 weeks

Building and Testing the image

Required software

  • Docker
  • Bash terminal / Powershell

Building base.Dockerfile image

From the root repository

docker build -t base_cloudshell -f linux/base.Dockerfile .

Building tools.Dockerfile image

docker build -t tools_cloudshell --build-arg IMAGE_LOCATION=base_cloudshell -f linux/tools.Dockerfile . 

Running bash in the tools.Dockerfile image

docker run -it tools_cloudshell /bin/bash

Running pwsh in the tools.Dockerfile image

docker run -it tools_cloudshell /usr/bin/pwsh

Testing the Cloud Shell image

docker run --volume /path/to/CloudShell/folder/tests:/tests -it tools_cloudshell /tests/

For more information about bind mounts, please go onto the Docker documentation. We do expect all the test cases to pass if you would like your changes to be merged.

Contribution Guidelines

Types of issues

Issue Type Action
Package is out of date Create a Pull Request or Issue
New desired package Create a Pull Request or Issue
New desired Cloud Shell feature Create an Discussion
Issue with one of the packages* Talk to package owner & create a PR on their repo.
Issue with how package interacts with Cloud Shell Create a Pull Request OR GitHub Issue
Security bug See
Issue with Cloud Shell in Azure Portal (can't log in, for example) Open a support ticket

* For example, if you have an issue within Azure CLI, don't open up an issue with the Cloud Shell repo, open an issue within the Azure CLI repo. Azure PowerShell is here and Azure CLI is here

Types of tools

Cloud Shell aims to provide a core set of tools for Azure and Microsoft 365 devops scenarios, but we can't include everything. If you just want to use a tool yourself, you can install most utilities into your own home directory inside Cloud Shell. You only need to update the image if you want every Cloud Shell admin to have the tool available.

For a tool to be included in Cloud Shell, it has to be:

  • widely useful to Azure administrators
  • well-maintained and supported,
  • released under a license which permits us to include it
  • lightweight in terms of CPU requirements, size on disk, and memory


  • support fetching tokens from Managed Identity if a tool authenticates to Azure services
  • add basic tests to the test suite run by GitHub Actions

In general we avoid:

  • alpha, beta, preview or unstable versions of software.
  • tools primarily useful for extensive software development, as opposed to DevOps. Consider Visual Studio Codespaces for that.

Cloud Shell Documentation

Please see the Microsoft Azure Documentation for a guide to add to the Azure docs repo. The Cloud Shell documentation can be found here.


This project welcomes contributions and suggestions. Most contributions require you to agree to a Contributor License Agreement (CLA) declaring that you have the right to, and actually do, grant us the rights to use your contribution. For details, visit

When you submit a pull request, a CLA-bot will automatically determine whether you need to provide a CLA and decorate the PR appropriately (e.g., label, comment). Simply follow the instructions provided by the bot. You will only need to do this once across all repos using our CLA.

This project has adopted the Microsoft Open Source Code of Conduct. For more information see the Code of Conduct FAQ or contact with any additional questions or comments.


This project may contain trademarks or logos for projects, products, or services. Authorized use of Microsoft trademarks or logos is subject to and must follow Microsoft's Trademark & Brand Guidelines. Use of Microsoft trademarks or logos in modified versions of this project must not cause confusion or imply Microsoft sponsorship. Any use of third-party trademarks or logos are subject to those third-party's policies.