Use Cloud Shell in an Azure virtual network

By default, Azure Cloud Shell sessions run in a container in a Microsoft network that's separate from your resources. Commands that run inside the container can't access resources in a private virtual network. For example, you can't use Secure Shell (SSH) to connect from Cloud Shell to a virtual machine that has only a private IP address, or use kubectl to connect to a Kubernetes cluster that has locked down access.

To provide access to your private resources, you can deploy Cloud Shell into an Azure virtual network that you control. This technique is called virtual network isolation.

Benefits of virtual network isolation with Cloud Shell

Deploying Cloud Shell in a private virtual network offers these benefits:

  • The resources that you want to manage don't need to have public IP addresses.
  • You can use command-line tools, SSH, and PowerShell remoting from the Cloud Shell container to manage your resources.
  • The storage account that Cloud Shell uses doesn't have to be publicly accessible.

Things to consider before deploying Azure Cloud Shell in a virtual network

  • Starting Cloud Shell in a virtual network is typically slower than a standard Cloud Shell session.
  • Virtual network isolation requires you to use Azure Relay, which is a paid service. In the Cloud Shell scenario, one hybrid connection is used for each administrator while they're using Cloud Shell. The connection is automatically closed when the Cloud Shell session ends.


The following diagram shows the resource architecture that you must build to enable this scenario.

Illustration of a Cloud Shell isolated virtual network architecture.

  • Customer client network: Client users can be located anywhere on the internet to securely access and authenticate to the Azure portal and use Cloud Shell to manage resources contained in the customer's subscription. For stricter security, you can allow users to open Cloud Shell only from the virtual network contained in your subscription.
  • Microsoft network: Customers connect to the Azure portal on Microsoft's network to authenticate and open Cloud Shell.
  • Customer virtual network: This is the network that contains the subnets to support virtual network isolation. Resources such as virtual machines and services are directly accessible from Cloud Shell without the need to assign a public IP address.
  • Azure Relay: Azure Relay allows two endpoints that aren't directly reachable to communicate. In this case, it's used to allow the administrator's browser to communicate with the container in the private network.
  • File share: Cloud Shell requires a storage account that's accessible from the virtual network. The storage account provides the file share used by Cloud Shell users.

Cloud Shell requires a new or existing Azure Files share to be mounted to persist files across sessions. Storage incurs regular costs. If you have deployed Azure Cloud Shell in a private virtual network, you pay for network resources. For pricing information, see Pricing of Azure Cloud Shell.