Accessing VMs

What’s the best way to connect to a Skytap VM? There are several ways to access and share a virtual machine.


Accessing VMs

The following table compares the available access methods.

If you’re unsure which access method to use, try the browser client. This is the simplest way to connect to a VM in Skytap.


  • Some or all of these access methods may be disabled by your administrator.
  • You can switch between access methods any time. You can use different methods to access different VMs from the same local machine.
Connection Method Description Requires Skytap sign-in to access? Security Additional Notes
Secure Remote Access (SRA) client A browser-based secure client, accessible from the Skytap interface. Yes Creates a secure connection to VMs through the Skytap infrastructure without exposing the VM to the public Internet.
  • Easiest access method for users with Skytap accounts.
  • Uses port 443 over the Skytap infrastructure.

SRA connections may be blocked in Microsoft Azure regions if IP-based access is enabled. For additional details, see Setting access policies.

RDP A secure connection that provides direct access to the VM desktop from an RDP client. No Does not expose the VM to the public Internet.
(Makes a secure connection to the VM through the Skytap infrastructure.)
  • Allows you to directly connect to any VM (running Windows, Linux, and some other operating systems).
  • Users must be signed in to download the RDP file (or have access to the file from a sharing portal). Once the file is downloaded, they can run the RDP file to connect without signing in.
  • RDP connections may be blocked in Microsoft Azure regions if IP-based access is enabled. For additional details, see Setting access policies.
Sharing portal A browser-based portal that provides VM or environment access to users who don’t have Skytap accounts. No Provides browser-based, SSL-encrypted access.
Sharing portals can be shared with external users and password-protected.
  • Easiest and most configurable method for providing access to users who don't have Skytap accounts.
  • Uses port 443.
Published service A port opening on the VM network adapter that is used to connect to the VM via protocols such as RDP, SSH, and HTTP. No Exposes one port on the VM to the public Internet.
  • RDP offers the best performance for accessing VMs over slow networks or long distances.
  • Traffic is forwarded from a higher-end port assigned via the published service (such as 12345) to a VM local port (such as 3389). The full range of TCP/IP ports used by published services is 8193 through 32767 (inclusive)
Public IP address Makes the VM accessible from the public Internet via an IPv4 address or a fully-qualified domain name (FQDN). No Exposes every port on the VM to the public Internet; this is the easiest to access, but potentially least secure method.
  • This allows unrestricted access to all ports on your VM
  • Because this can be a greater security risk, consult your network administrator before making this change.

Sharing VMs and environments