Creating an SSH-Enabled Image

How to create an image with enabled SSH. You can use SSH-enabled images to deploy SSH-enabled VMs.


Orka 2.4.x content

This page has not been updated to reflect the changes introduced in Orka 3.0. Some of the information might be outdated or incorrect. Use 2.4.x to 3.0.0: API Mapping and 2.4.x to 3.0.0: CLI Mapping to figure out the correct endpoints and commands.

Some default macOS images are clean macOS installations. On these images, the OS setup is not complete (region settings, Apple ID login, etc.) and SSH and Apple Screen Sharing are not enabled.

If you want to create an SSH-enabled image, you need to deploy a VM with a clean Orka base image, complete the OS setup, and enable SSH manually. After that you can save a new SSH-enabled image for future use.

This page discusses how to create an SSH-enabled image with the Orka CLI. For more information about this workflow with the Orka API, check the respective image and VM requests.

On this page, you will learn how to:


Quick command summary

orka image list
orka vm create
orka vm status
orka image save
orka image deploy


  1. Connect to your Orka environment via VPN.
  2. Log in with your Orka user.

Step 1: Create and deploy a clean VM

Use one of the clean macOS images provided by Orka to deploy a fresh VM.

  1. List the available macOS images.
orka image list
  1. Create a VM with a clean image. The following example creates a small VM with a clean Mojave installation and 6 CPU cores.
orka vm create -v my-ssh-vm -b Catalina.img -c 6 -C 6 -y

When the deployment completes, Orka lists the following confirmation:

Create Status: Successfully Created
Deploy Status: Successfully deployed VM

Step 2: VNC to the new VM

You need to connect to the VM via VNC and complete the OS setup.

  1. Get the IP and VNC port for the newly deployed VM. Note down the ID of the VM because you will need it later.
orka vm status -v my-ssh-vm -y

You should see a similar output:


        Name  my-ssh-vm
          ID  8425e425980db
       Owner  [email protected]
        Node  macpro-2 (UP)
         VNC  :5999
 Screenshare  :5900
         SSH  :8822
    vCPU|CPU  6|6
         RAM  15GB
  Base image  Catalina.img
      Status  running
  1. Launch your VNC client and provide the VM's IP and VNC port.
  2. When prompted, complete the OS setup. Note that you can skip providing an Apple ID.

Step 3: Enable SSH

You need to enable remote login on the VM.

  1. Launch System Preferences.
  2. Go to Sharing.
  3. Verify that Remote Login is enabled.
  4. Quit System Preferences.
  5. Restart the VM from the OS. (An orka stop && orka start restart won't work.)
  6. Verify that the SSH connection works.

Step 4: Save the image

You need to save the VM as a new image.

  • Use the VM ID you obtained earlier to save it as a new image.
orka image save -v 8425e425980db -b my-ssh-image.img -y

This operation might take a while. When the operation completes, Orka shows a saved confirmation message.

What's next

Create and deploy VMs based on the SSH-enabled image.

orka vm deploy -v my-new-vm -b my-ssh-image.img -c 6 -C 6 -y

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