Microsoft to Support SSH in Windows

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After several false starts, Microsoft finally is planning to support SSH in Windows and the company’s engineers also will contribute to the OpenSSH project.

After several false starts, Microsoft finally is planning to support SSH in Windows and the company’s engineers also will contribute to the OpenSSH project.

While SSH has been a popular tool for remote login and command execution on many Unix and linux systems for years, Windows has not supported SSH by default, for a variety of reasons. Microsoft has had its own solutions on this front, but SSH has become the default standard for secure remote operations over the years. Customers have been asking Microsoft to add default support for the protocol, and the company now has decided to make the move.

“A popular request the PowerShell team has received is to use Secure Shell protocol and Shell session (aka SSH) to interoperate between Windows and Linux – both Linux connecting to and managing Windows via SSH and, vice versa, Windows connecting to and managing Linux via SSH. Thus, the combination of PowerShell and SSH will deliver a robust and secure solution to automate and to remotely manage Linux and Windows systems,” Angel Calvo, a group software engineering manager on  Microsoft’s PowerShell team, said.

“SSH solutions are available today by a number of vendors and communities, especially in the Linux world. However,there are limited implementations customers can deploy in Windows production environments.  After reviewing these alternatives, the PowerShell team realized the best option will be for our team to adopt an industry proven solution while providing tight integration with Windows; a solution that Microsoft will deliver in Windows while working closely with subject matter experts across the planet to build it.”

In addition to supporting SSH in Windows, Microsoft engineers also will support the OpenSSH community and contribute to the project. OpenSSH is a free and open-source implementation of the SSH protocol and is developed by the OpenBSD Project. It’s not clear whether Microsoft’s support for the project will include financial support. It’s also unclear when the support for SSH will land in Windows.

“The team is in the early planning phase, and there’re not exact days yet. However the PowerShell team will provide details in the near future on availability dates,” Calvo said.

Calvo added that this is the third attempt by the PowerShell team to bring SSH into Windows. The previous attempts were unsuccessful for various reasons, but the time was now right more the move.

“The first attempts were during PowerShell V1 and V2 and were rejected.  Given our changes in leadership and culture, we decided to give it another try and this time, because we are able to show the clear and compelling customer value, the company is very supportive,” Calvo said.

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