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Using SSH key pairs to connect to VMs from Windows

The use of Secure Shell (SSH) gives you the option of connecting to public VMs using key pairs instead of a username and password.

If you are using one of the images or blueprints provided by Ravello (public images and public blueprints), you need to generate an SSH key pair to connect in this manner.  Key pairs are managed in the Library page, however you can also add or import key pairs on-the-fly while creating a new application that is based on a public image.  Similarly, you can access key pair functionality from the General tab of the VM Editor or the VM Properties pane when the VM is selected in the Design Editor (for applications or blueprints). For details, see “How to generate a Keypair”.

The key pairs generated by Ravello are in keeping with the OpenSSH file formats for private and public keys, which are supported out-of-the-box on Linux/Mac platforms. For details on how to SSH into a VM with Linux/Mac platforms, see http://support.ravellosystems.com/entries/23245407-How-to-SSH-into-a-VM

Windows not does have a  native Windows SSH client.  To use these key pairs with Windows, it is necessary to convert the private key from the standard OpenSSH format to PuTTy's proprietary format using the PuTTygen tool.

Note:  PuTTy and PuTTyGen can be downloaded from http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html

 To convert  keys from OpenSSH (.pem) to PuTTy  (.ppk) format

  1. In the PuttyGen tool, select File > Load Private Key.
  2. Browse to and select the *pem file that contains the key you want to convert, and click Open.

Note:  By default, PuTTYgen displays only files with extension .ppk. Select All Files from the dropdown list to view all file types.

  1. When the PuTTYgen notice appears advising you to select the Save Private Key command to save it in PuTTy’s proprietary format, click OK .
  2. Click Save Private Key.
  3. When prompted to indicate whether you want to save the key without a passphrase, click Yes.   The key is saved in .ppk format and can be used to connect to your VM using PuTTy SSH.

To connect to the VM using  PuTTy:

  1. Verify that you have created an external supplied service on the VM, with port 22 open. For details, see "How to add and connect a service" and "How to edit service properties".
  2. From the Windows Start menu, select All Programs > PuTTY > PuTTY
  3.  In the Host Name field, enter the host name or IP address in the following format:
  4.  In the Category tree, select SSH > Auth.
  5.  Click Browse to locate and select the PuTTY private key file you generated using PuTTyGen.
  6. Click Open.
    : If a security alert is displayed asking if you trust the host you are connecting to, click Yes
  7. In the SSH session window, log in with the required username (if requested). No password is required because the selected public/private key pair is used for authentication.
Have more questions? Submit a request


  • Avatar
    Vikas Kumar

    Hi Gal,

    I have a question here. Like putty,how we can access GUI of application server/VM using VNC Viewer ?

    Is there any way to connect through VM GUI using VNC ?



  • Avatar
    Gal Moav

    Hi Vikas,

    there's two was to connect to the GUI console in Windows. The simplest way is to use the built-in VNC console functionality by clicking on the console icon. This icon is the small black icon that depicts a command line, at the bottom right of your screen. The icon becomes visible when you select a VM on the canvas.

    While VNC works fine, there can be issues with network lag, and also with a mouse pointer that does not accurately follow your mouse. For a better experience, you can use RDP. In this case you need to enable remote desktop sharing inside the VM, and use a terminal services client to connect to the public IP of your VM. This requires you to create an external service on port 3389 on your VM.

    So in summary;

    • VNC always works, is built-in, and you can troubleshoot boot time issues. It works on the hypervisor level, and is OS independent.
    • RDP has a better experience than VNC, but it does require you to configure it inside the VM.

    Best regards,

    Geert Jansen



  • Avatar
    shailendra nanekar

    I followed your steps but finally i got connection refused in putty command prompt.

    Any more setting to be done, Please guid.


  • Avatar
    1. You should verify that the VM is up and running through the console.

    2. The external supplied service is opened on the VM.

    3. SSH service is enabled on the VM itself.


  • Avatar
    shailendra nanekar

    i entered my hostname as "shailendra" and putty says it does not exist.

  • Avatar

    You can't just use the host name in putty.

    You need to use the external dns Ravello supplies in order to use external connectivity.

    The host is only for internal use inside your application.

  • Avatar
    shailendra nanekar

    ok got the exernal dns entered and putty command prompt opens up.

    But now it says network error : connection time out.


  • Avatar

    Can you please send me the external dns so i will be able to check it?

  • Avatar
    shailendra nanekar



  • Avatar

    Only now i can see it's windows VM.

    SSH basically  is not working on windows.

    you should use rdp in order to connect it.

  • Avatar
    shailendra nanekar

    still not able to connect to vm import utility

  • Avatar
    Prashant Dawar

    if you have private key (*.pem file) and want to use that private key to ssh into newly created vm , have a hands on this quickfix (as user devprashant) :


  • Avatar
    Prashant Dawar

    if you have private key (*.pem file or *.ppk file) and want to use that private key to ssh into newly created vm , have a hands on this quickfix (as user devprashant) :


  • Avatar
    Ashish Barot

    I have windows VM in Ravello and I am unable to configure RDP under VM (windows server 2008 r2), can someone please guide me on same. I have enabled 3389 port on my VM. I am aware of vnc but as it has teething issues I am going for RDP as suggested by Geert Jansen


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