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Cloud Shell:What is Cloud Shell?

Last Updated:Jun 24, 2024

Cloud Shell is a web-based command line tool. You can use Cloud Shell from a web browser to run cloud commands and manage Alibaba Cloud resources. When you start Cloud Shell, it automatically creates a Linux virtual machine (VM) free of charge. The VM is pre-installed with cloud management tools and system tools, including Python, Java, Node.js, Alibaba Cloud CLI, cURL, SSH, Kubectl, Fun, Terraform, Ansible, and Vim. You can use the tools and the code editor of Cloud Shell to manage cloud resources.


Cloud Shell provides the following features:

  • Automatically created free VMs

    When you start Cloud Shell, it automatically creates a dedicated Linux VM free of charge.

    The Linux VM is valid only when the session between your client and Cloud Shell is in the active state. Cloud Shell automatically grants you the permissions to manage your Alibaba Cloud resources when you run commands in Cloud Shell. You do not need to perform additional operations. Permissions granted to each account are the same as those granted by RAM. Cloud Shell authenticates all users and isolates VMs by user to ensure the security of the runtime environment.

  • Persistent disk storage

    You can bind a storage space to the $HOME directory of your instance for persistent storage. The files in the $HOME directory, including scripts and user configuration files such as .bashrc and .vimrc, remain unchanged regardless of whether your session or Cloud Shell instance changes.

You can click the Storage icon in the toolbar to bind or unbind a storage space to or from the Cloud Shell instance.


  • Code editor

    Cloud Shell provides a built-in code editor. You can click the Code icon in the toolbar to open the code editor. image.png

    You can use the code editor to view the content of the $HOME directory or modify files without the need to exit Cloud Shell. You can use the built-in code editor to develop applications online and run commands to run or deploy the applications without the need to configure a development environment or install tools. You can also bind a storage space by using Cloud Shell to store the edited files for persistent storage.

  • Tutorial mode

    Cloud Shell allows you to create and launch a tutorial. The tutorial helps you familiarize your projects with high efficiency. A tutorial is a set of instructions written in Markdown. Cloud Shell can parse text in a .markdown file into steps and substeps to create a tutorial.

  • Tools

    A Cloud Shell VM is pre-installed with common tools. For more information, see Tools supported by Cloud Shell.


    You can install other software packages on a Cloud Shell VM. To retain a software package after the VM is released, you must install the software in the $HOME directory and bind a persistent storage space to a Cloud Shell instance.

  • Supported languages

    Cloud Shell VMs support the following languages.
















Before you use Cloud Shell, take note of the following limits.




Only one VM can be created at a time regardless of the number of Cloud Shell sessions that are opened. All opened Cloud Shell sessions are automatically connected to the VM.


A maximum of five sessions can be opened at a time.

Destruction of VMs

If no interactive operation is performed within 30 minutes or all sessions are closed, the VM is destroyed in 15 minutes. When you restart Cloud Shell, a new VM is created.

File storage

Cloud Shell provides 10 GB of temporary storage. You can store your files in the /home/shell directory. However, the directory is reset when the VM is destroyed. You can bind an Apsara File Storage NAS file system to a Cloud Shell instance for persistent storage. Then, your files are automatically loaded each time you log on to Cloud Shell.