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Windows Server 2019 Gets OpenSSH Support

The OpenSSH solution used for remote management is now a supported "Features on Demand" addition in both Windows 10 version 1809 and Windows Server 2019, Microsoft announced last week.

OpenSSH is an open source Secure Shell Host (SSH) command-line solution overseen by the OpenBSD Foundation. It's traditionally been used to remotely manage Linux and Unix servers. However, Microsoft had described back in June 2015 that was collaborating with the OpenSSH community to make it work with Windows clients and servers, as well as with PowerShell. Also around that time, Microsoft began contributing money to the OpenBSD Foundation as a Gold contributor.

OpenSSH was already a supported feature of Windows 10 version 1803, released in April. However, Microsoft's announcement noted that OpenSSH "was not a supported release on Windows Server [2019] until now."

Support for OpenSSH on Windows Server 2016 wasn't mentioned in Microsoft's announcement, so apparently such support is not being back ported to the older server product. Microsoft's "OpenSSH in Windows" document also doesn't mention support on Windows Server 2016.

Microsoft defines OpenSSH as "a collection of client/server utilities that enable secure remote login, remote file transfer, and public/private key pair management" that originated with the OpenBSD project for "BSD, Linux, macOS and Unix ecosystems." Support for OpenSSH in Windows Server 2019 is just yet another tool IT pros can use. It'll let them remotely manage Linux servers from Windows Server 2019, or vice versa.

Microsoft referred IT pros to this document on "OpenSSH Key Management," which offers some PowerShell commands for the purpose. There are also commercial solutions available to ease key management when using OpenSSH. For instance, see this interview with SSH Communications for one example.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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