The regular way to manage Windows Server machines is to setup and use Remote Desktop. However, sometimes that’s not the most convenient way of managing your servers. Let me show you how to manage Windows Azure VMs from a local machine using Server Manager and PowerShell Remoting.
Step 1. Download and install Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8.1 aka Server Manager (assuming your local machine is Windows 8.1; or choose an appropriate version of this tool)
Step 2. On each VM go to Server Manager > Local Server > Properties and enable Remote management (assuming you have Windows Server 2012 R2 installed on your Windows Azure VM roles):
Then open Windows Firewall with Advanced Security > Inbound Rules > Windows Remote Management (HTTP-In) (Public Profile) > Properties:
Add your public IP (from which you’ll be connecting to your Azure VMs) to the scope:
Step 3. For each Azure VM add WinRM (TCP 5985) endpoint via Windows Azure Management Portal:
Step 4. Add your Azure VMs to the trusted hosts list by running the following PowerShell script:
Set-Item WSMan:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts SERVERNAME.cloudapp.net -Concatenate -Force
Step 5. Open Server Manager on your local workstation and add remote VM servers to the list (by DNS name):
Right-click on a newly added server in the list > Manage as… and enter your VMs administrator credentials:
That’s it! Now you can manage your Azure VMs from a single place.
If you need a command line access just right-click on a server > Windows PowerShell, which will start up a PowerShell Remoting session: