1 2 3 Previous Next 31 Replies Latest reply on Aug 19, 2010 12:21 AM by J1mbo Go to original post
      • 15. Re: USB SUPPORT
        silentbob30 Novice


        That seems daft, other similar products passthrough that are usb and it is also a feature that you would think is desired by a lot of users






        • 16. Re: USB SUPPORT
          AntonVZhbankov Guru
          User ModeratorsvExpert

          As for my opinion all the USB security keys are useless with ESX(i). ESX is first of all a cloud OS, where VM can go to any physical server. USB passthrough binds VM to a particular host.

          So the best way is to install specialized USB-over-IP hardware, you can even VMotion machines with USB keys attached. Or get 200$ PC, install some PCI-USB controllers, install linux and VMware Server 2 on top. That would be enough to support license servers.


          VMware vExpert '2009


          • 17. Re: USB SUPPORT
            lurch89 Novice

            We don't have any of the advanced cloud components of ESXi available to us (we're using the free version on standalone servers) so pinning the USB to one VM on one server is not an issue. If Linux and VMware Server 2 will work with USB, then we may use that. We haven't had good mileage with VMware server around here, but we really love ESXi.

            • 18. Re: USB SUPPORT
              silentbob30 Novice

              A long shot I know but is there anyone from Vmware than can comment on this post and advise if you can pass through a USB device to a HOST?

              • 19. Re: USB SUPPORT
                seanborman Novice
                VMware Employees


                It is not possible to pass through USB devices which are connected to the ESX host or to the host running the VI client to a virtual machine.  Although virtual USB controllers are now available as part of the VM virtual hardware, they cannot be connected to external devices.



                • 20. Re: USB SUPPORT
                  brunnenguk Novice

                  Then what is the purpose of the virtual USB controller? It just seems like a strange thing to add.  (Other than for tricking windows in to installing with USB driver support, useful for those going down the AnywhereUSB route.  I remember I had to copy and renmae files to system32 from the windows CD when I was settting up my initial templates)

                  • 21. Re: USB SUPPORT
                    AntonVZhbankov Guru
                    User ModeratorsvExpert

                    Could you please comment this screenshot?


                    VMware vExpert '2009


                    • 22. Re: USB SUPPORT
                      ImedecsIT Novice

                      I also saw that screen, but I agree with brunnenguk, what is the point? Just because there is a USB controller what good does it do if it can't connect to Host attached USB devices? Can someone please explain the purpose behind the USB controller?

                      • 23. Re: USB SUPPORT
                        isi Novice

                        Perhaps it's in preparation for the new vdi stuff ?

                        • 24. Re: USB SUPPORT
                          sorrillo Lurker


                          Using ESX4 we plugged an external usb harddisk, added an USB controller to a VM and executed this command from console:



                          vim-cmd vmsvc/device.connusbdev 16 054:02a



                          (lsusb was used to get the id)



                          This error was logged on /var/log/vmware/hostd.log: "No hot-plug license available"



                          So we tested this when powered off, this was logged: "Pass through USB device is currently not supported"






                          This definitely seems like an unfinished feature. We hope to see an update to make this work






                          • 25. Re: USB SUPPORT
                            TechNut Novice


                            If you have vSphere, and a VT-d compatible chipset, you can pass USB controllers, via VMDirectPath into the VM itself.  The VM will see the USB root hub on the PCI bus, like a regular device, and you are free to plug any USB key/dongle into it.



                            VT-d is supported on most enterprise class chipsets.  It should be a option in your BIOS to enable.



                            Once you have enabled the device for pass-through, using the VI client, edit the settings of your VM and add a "PCI device".  Select the one you have allowed for passthrough, and then save the settings.  Do not use the "USB controller" as this is not the same thing, it's a different feature.  Once the vSphere USB controller feature is added, you can stop using the pass-through device you just created.



                            Of course, as others have noted, you cannot VMotion any VM's using

                            this.  However, for those who need this functionality it works just




                            • 26. Re: USB SUPPORT
                              Formatter Hot Shot

                              So if your T610 for example uses a usb for the card installed with the Vmware os on it how do you tell in the vmdirectpath which one is that usb so that you dont mistakenly make it one that you use?

                              • 27. Re: USB SUPPORT
                                TechNut Novice


                                In ESXi 3.5, you could use "lspci -v" to determine that, in 4.0 it's a little different.  The USB disk is vmhba32, so, you just need to find that mapping in the system.  You could try some of the esxcfg-info commands to see if you can find it.



                                • 28. Re: USB SUPPORT
                                  TomKeough Novice

                                  First, I want to thank the community for sharing this information. I have been looking at several solutions for this issue while awaiting a VMWare implementation of the USB in virtual machines. I, also, have dongle protected software that I want to run in the VMs and this passthrough solution looks like the best one I have seen yet. I am not doing a cloud implementation. I am developing an online trading system and I run multiple VMs rather than having dedicated PCs. I am using an AMD based server and am in the middle of upgrading from a Santa Anna based Opteron system to a Barcelona based one.


                                  I found the AMD implementation of the Intel VT-d passthrough searching with Google, it is called IOMMU. I have ordered a new systemboard (Tyan S2915-E) for an AMD dual Barcelona Opteron based server for ESXi 4 and looking at the BIOS settings for this board on the Tyan web site, I see an option to enable IOMMU and one to configure the IOMMU size with a range from 32 MB to 2 GB. Anyone here had experience configuring this setting?

                                  • 29. Re: USB SUPPORT
                                    TechNut Novice





                                    In just a cursory search of the web, it looks like people are using the 256MB option on the AMD systems and the Tyan boards.  I'm a Intel person myself, so, I'm not sure of the options needed for AMD systems to work. 



                                    Here's the link to the VMware VMDirectPath troubleshooting guide,






                                    In my playing with this feature, most devices work just fine.  The AMD support is experimental, but I'm sure for USB you should be ok.  Just be sure to pick the right controller if you are booting off of the USB key.  You don't want to knock out your ESXi installation by accident.  Despite what the manual says, I've managed to get this to work with a Q6600 and a Supermicro C2SBC-Q board.



                                    Good luck!