When Microsoft announced at the end of September that PowerShell was available in Azure Cloud Shell, it was interesting and pretty cool.
We had a fully-functioning PowerShell window running in your web browser, there was tab completion, a built-in script editor with coloured syntax and intelliSense and we had the ability to install modules from the PowerShell online gallery that would remain installed between your sessions. Perhaps the most interesting feature for me was the ability to navigate and explore your Azure estate as you would a folder structure, and have the Get-AzureRmVM command returning the list of servers you have running in Azure, in relation to where you currently were in the estate.

However once I had looked at the new features I never found the need to go back to Azure Cloud Shell. I could connect to Azure from the ISE on my computer and I found it quicker and more effective than using PowerShell in my internet browser.

Today I have gone back to Azure Cloud Shell and am looking at it in a new light. I have the Azure app loaded on my Android mobile phone and as soon as you open the app there is a big ‘Cloud Shell’ icon in the bottom right. Initially this did not work on Android, however Microsoft has now fixed the issue and when I downloaded the latest version of the app today, I was greeted by the PowerShell blue screen when I tried opening it. At first I found typing on the phone frustrating because there was no ‘TAB’ key for tab completion of the commands. After a quick search I found a keyboard from Microsoft (I am not too keen on having a keyboard created by private developers since it can access everything you type) called ‘Keyboard for Excel’ and once it was installed I was tab completing in no time.

While the mobile phone is not ideal for creating long scripts, it is perfect for running a couple of commands while you are on the move. Combine this feature with Azure Cloud Drive which allows Cloud Shell to access your saved scripts, and suddenly you can run scripts from your phone to manage your Azure servers, at any time, anywhere in the world. It opens up some interesting possibilities…