Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer is a widely used tool by all Azure cloud administrators. However, with the increasing number of Linux VMs in the Azure Cloud, having a working version of Azure Storage Explorer on a Linux machine became a necessity, and Microsoft did took the 1st steps into providing one.
Though, it wasn’t very easy to figure out how this works..
After many trials, I’ve managed to put together the instructions below, which will allow you to have your Azure Storage Explorer running on Linux.
A Ubuntu machine (I opted for an Azure deployed one; see instructions here)
A desktop environment (GUI) running on the Linux machine. I went for MATE-Desktop due to it’s easy to use, stability and also personal preference. You may choose differently, of course.
A way to connect to the GUI of your VM. We will do this via xRDP, just for the sake of demoing this(see note below).
The .NET libraries for the Linux box, needed by Azure Storage Explorer
xRDP is not a secure mean of connecting to the Linux VM, as it doesn’t allow for SSH Keys. You can, however, tunnel your connection and use a SSH Key authentication for that. A nice how-to is available here.
So, while I will explain using the insecure method, I strongly recommend you to never expose your VMs to internet with just a password protected account, or, if you do that, make sure you do have a uncommon account name and a very strong password.
Of course, you can use your own on premises Linux Box, or a local VM, or some other Cloud provider; this is all up to you.
xRDP package is available in the default Ubuntu repositories. To install it, run:
sudo apt install xRDP
When the installation process is complete, the xRDP service will automatically start. You can verify that xRDP is running by typing:
sudo systemctl status xrdp
By default xRDP uses the /etc/ssl/private/ssl-cert-snakeoil.key file which is readable only by users that are members of the “ssl-cert” group. Execute the following command to add the xrdp user to the group:
sudo adduser xrdp ssl-cert
That’s it. xRDP has been installed on your Ubuntu server.
xRDP configuration files are located in the /etc/xrdp directory. For basic xRDP connections, you only need to configure xRDP to use Xfce.
To do so open the following file in your text editor:
sudo nano /etc/xrdp/xrdp.ini
Add the following line at the end of the file:
/etc/xrdp/xrdp.ini exec startxfce4
Save the file and restart the Xrdp service:
sudo systemctl restart xrdp
Add a NSG rule in Azure portal for the 3389 port and allow the same port in ufw:
If you’re using a desktop, a great first step is to install the Snap Store app.
Storage Explorer was added to the snap store, therefore you can install it by simply:
sudo snap install storage-explorer
The result will look like:
Storage Explorer requires the use of a password manager, which may need to be connected manually before Storage Explorer will work correctly. You can connect Storage Explorer to your system’s password manager with the following command:
Connect to the VM via RDP with your default username (must be configured with password). Open a browser and download Azure Storage Explorer binaries from: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-au/features/storage-explorer/ Be sure to select Linux from the drop-down. The file will be saved by default in your /home/username/Downloads directory, where “username” will correspond to your actual username.
Downloading the Azure Storage Explore:
Go back to the SSH terminal and paste the following (as a block of text):
Back to the xrdp session, start the Azure Storage Explorer.
If the Azure Storage Explorer doesn’t show up on Desktop, you’ll find the startup link under Menu -> Programming. You can further create a Desktop shortcut.
NOTES: If prompted, anywhere during the above steps to create a keyring password, make sure you use one that you’ll remember (you can use the same password as for the username you are logged in with, eventually).
Open Azure Storage Explorer and connect with your account.
Patching Storage Explorer for newer versions of .NET Core If you have a version of .NET Core greater than 2.0 installed and are running Storage Explorer version 1.7.0 or older, you will most likely need to patch Storage Explorer by completing the following steps:
Download version 1.5.43 of StreamJsonRpc from https://www.nuget.org/packages/StreamJsonRpc/1.5.43 via browser on the Linux machine. Look for the “Download package” link on the right hand side of the page. After downloading the package, change its file extension from .nupkg to .zip and unzip it:
cd ~/Downloads && \
mv streamjsonrpc.1.5.43.nupkg streamjsonrpc.1.5.43.zip
Copy StreamJsonRpc.dll to the following locations inside the Storage Explorer folder:
I'm passionate about open source software and technologies. In my spare time I build simple and functional websites from scratch, using PHP+HTML5+CSS3+MySQL and when I'm bored, I write simple PHP_CLI or bash scripts to play around on my Linux machine.
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