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Can I use serial ports and USB ports in VMware to monitor UPSes and IP cameras?

Posted on 2010-08-27
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I have some UPS monitoring software that runs on a Win XP workstation and has a pair of serial port attached battery backups reporting to it. I have plenty of power on my VMware servers to host a small XP image if there is a way to map those ports directly to that image so the other VMs don't confuse them for input sources. Is it just a matter of configuring my device settings for the XP VM to use those serial ports and configuring the other VMs to ignore or not use those ports?

In a related question - we have some IP security cameras that are managed in a WinXP environment and have a USB dongle for licensing or security. Can I dedicate one of the server's USB ports to the XP VM for that in the same way?

My servers are Dells running full-blown ESX.
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Question by:Shannon Mollenhauer
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Expert Comment

by:jimmyray7
ID: 33544455
Not sure about serial, but I know that USB port use by guest operating systems isn't supported yet.  Hopefully they will soon, because a lot of people are running into this issue!
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Expert Comment

by:paulsolov
ID: 33544609
USB us supported via vmdirectpath in esx4. You should be able to get serial ports mapped also. I would recommend buying a network USB and serial device and connecting to each via ip such as USB anywhere product
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coolsport00 earned 800 total points
ID: 33544829
Serial is supported in ESX, but not ESXi legacy versions. If you use, or are going to use ESXi 4.1, serial is supported. USB is not supported in legacy versions of either ESX or ESXi, but is, somewhat, with ESX/i 4.x (a bit moreso with ESX/i 4.1). But, not all devices are *officially* supported. Here is a KB listing supported USB devices:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1022290
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1021345

Your best bet for USB is to get an USB over IP solution like AnywhereUSB, by Digi that "paul" mentions:
http://www.digi.com/products/usb/anywhereusb.jsp

Regards,
~coolsport00
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Assisted Solution

by:McExp
McExp earned 200 total points
ID: 33549170
The Best USB over IP soulution I have found is the Silex product

See http://www.silexamerica.com/products/usb_device_connectivity/sx-2000u2.html for more details
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Author Closing Comment

by:Shannon Mollenhauer
ID: 33550750
This gives me the information I need to proceed with some tests and verify if our USB dongle and UPS monitoring cables will work. Thanks for the info and links!
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