Connecting to an Azure Instance via RPD

This post is a conclusion to a series of blog entries on how to RPD into a Windows Azure instance. If you haven’t already done so, you may want to read the previous posts:

This post will provide two pieces of information: first, now that your Windows Azure Platform Portal has been configured for RPD, I will show you how to initialize the RDP Connection to a Windows Azure Instance. Second, I’ll step back and explain how to Setup the Cloud Service Configuration manually (which is typically automated by Visual Studio).

Connecting to Windows Azure via RDP

At this point you should have already uploaded a Certificate to the Hosted Service, checked the Enable checkbox in the Remote Access section of the Portal Ribbon and configured a Username and Password for accessing the particular Hosted Service.

In the Hosted Service Configuration page, select the Instance you would like to connect to.

Select Windows Azure Role Instance for RDP

This will enable the Connect button within the Remote Access section of the Portal Ribbon. Click on the Connect button to initialize a download of the RPD (.rpd) file to connect to that particular instance.

Windows Azure Platform Portal Remove Access Settings

You can obviously choose open, however this is a good opportunity to save the RDP connection to an instance just for that odd chance you can’t access the Windows Azure Platform Portal to download it again. I would suggest saving at least one RDP file in a save location for this very reason.

 Save RPD File for Future Use

You may need to accept a Security warning because the RDP file is Unsigned.

Unknown Publisher Warning

Then supply your username and password which was set up in the previous set of posts.

Entering your Credentials to the Windows Azure

Initializing Connection to Windows Azure

Once the connection has been initialized there is one last security warning to dismiss before the desktop of your Windows Azure Instance appears.

Indentify Connection to the Cloud

Welcome to your Windows Azure Instance in the Cloud!

Windows Azure Instance Desktop

Manually Configuring RDP Access to Windows Azure

In order to manually configure RDP access to a Windows Azure Instance in the csconfig file there are a few things that need to be done. There is a well written outline on MSDN in a post entitled “Setting up a Remote Desktop Connection for a Role”.

During Step 2 of the process outlined on MSDN, Encrypting the Password with Powershell, there is the need to provide a thumbprint for a Self-Signed Certificate. What isn’t mentioned within the article is that it is necessary to Capitalize the Letters and Remove the Spaces in the thumbprint in order for the Powershell script to work.

Happy Clouding!

This post also appears on SyntaxC4's Blog.