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USB on Hyper-V VM Server 2012R2

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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Lionel MM
Asked:
Lionel MM
3 Solutions
 
Cliff GaliherCommented:
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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Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
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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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
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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ecarboneCommented:
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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Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
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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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
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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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
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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als315Commented:
We use Eltima USB Network Gate software with SafeNet key and it works without problems
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Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
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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Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
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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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Well over to you, as you took the time to come back!

Now you can close out your way!
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Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the help
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