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USB on Hyper-V VM Server 2012R2

Posted on 2016-09-09
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Last Modified: 2016-10-02
I am trying to run software (McCormick's Win1000) on a virtual server on Hyper-V. Server is Server 2012R2 Essentials. This software uses a USB dongle for licensing authentication -- in other words it looks for the USB device so that the software can run. I have done some basic reading and it seems that there are really only two options to solve this problem 1. Hardware that makes the USB devices accessible over the network (USB-Ethernet USB Hubs) or 2. Software to "pass-through" USB from Hyper-V to VM. As such my questions are
1. Are there any other solutions, hopefully native to Hyper-V (no outside software or hardware)? and
2. If No to Question 1, then which solutions work best for software dongles -- please give specific hardware (make & model) or software (name & version) recommendations. Thank you!
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Question by:Lionel MM
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13 Comments
 
LVL 58

Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 41791179
There is no native solution. You are looking at 3rd party. I use software based USB over Ethernet solutions regularly. Works well in most cases. Experts exchange solicitation rules can be quirky, so I don't "recommend" specific brands here.
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LVL 25

Author Comment

by:Lionel MM
ID: 41791228
I don't see that as a problem; I make suggestions/recommendations and get them and give them all the time, along with very specific names, links and comments so please provide what you know works. Thanks!
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LVL 121

Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 250 total points
ID: 41791233
We don't use software, although we used to use Fabulatech USB over IP - http://www.fabulatech.com/

but in the last five years we've migrated to a much superior solution, by Digi - USB Anywhere

http://www.digi.com/products/usb-and-serial-connectivity/usb-over-ip-hubs/anywhereusb

19" rack mount and smaller versions available.
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:ecarbone
ID: 41791427
I don't use Hyper-V so I'm afraid I can't help, but I wanted to mention VMware handles USB pass-through natively.  

I have a VM running an application that also uses a license key dongle.

I just plugged that USB device into the host server, and in vcenter, for that specific virtual machine I added a USB device and selected it from the list. It works perfectly.

I'm surprised Hyper-V doesn't also offer this feature. Windows 2016 Server is right around the corner, and I've heard there will be many improvements to Hyper-V. Perhaps this version will natively support USB pass-through?  (Of course, you're looking at an OS upgrade which will cost time and money). Just a thought.
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LVL 25

Author Comment

by:Lionel MM
ID: 41791463
Thanks Andrew -- will test that software. I was familiar with Digi but it was quite costly. Hopefully the software you suggested or one I found (http://www.incentivespro.com/downloads.html) will do the trick. Discussing with the vendor today to see if their software will have any issues with any of these approaches.
ecarbone--as far as vmware goes I simply don't know it as well as I know Hyper-V and when I first looked into either several years ago the cost for vmware was just to high for my marketplace (businesses with 1 or 2 servers and 50 or less PCs). Thanks anyway.
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LVL 121
ID: 41791577
Also remember VMware ONLY supports USB devices, on the Hardware Compatibility List, DO NOT assume just because you have a USB port on your server EVERY USB device will function - it wont!

want to read more, and my beef with VMware....

HOW TO: Add and Connect a USB Device to a Virtual Machine, hosted on VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX 4.1 ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.0

We've gone for a hardware solution, so it's not dependent on hardware and host failure!

Digi USB six port solution, is quite modest in cost!
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LVL 39

Assisted Solution

by:Philip Elder
Philip Elder earned 125 total points
ID: 41791635
We use the FabulaTech USB over Ethernet solution exclusively. We have it set up in standalone and clustered settings running many different kinds of licensing fobs. It's inexpensive and it just works.
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LVL 40

Assisted Solution

by:als315
als315 earned 125 total points
ID: 41791741
We use Eltima USB Network Gate software with SafeNet key and it works without problems
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LVL 25

Author Comment

by:Lionel MM
ID: 41791972
I really hate having to say this but I got involved after the end-users had been trying to resolve this problem for over a week. One of those situation where you have end users who think they know more than they really do so when I finally spoke to the vendor I was able to figure out that the license dongle does not have to be on the server; so we put it on one of the Windows 10 PCs -- problem solved. So I hate that I have taken you time and not used any of your suggestions. So I plan to select this comment as the solution and those that provided actual suggestions as assisted--any objections?
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LVL 25

Author Comment

by:Lionel MM
ID: 41824712
I will close this question myself and assign point myself. I simply forgot to do it and was not reminded to do so. Did not think the points allocated was how I would of done it.
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LVL 121
ID: 41824713
Well over to you, as you took the time to come back!

Now you can close out your way!
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LVL 25

Author Closing Comment

by:Lionel MM
ID: 41825287
Thanks for all the help
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