Diggin' technology every day

September 10, 2009

Where is the serial console in ESXi

Filed under: Monitoring,Virtualization — Tags: , — Nate @ 8:28 am

Back to something more technical I suppose. I was kind of surprised and quite disappointed when vSphere was released with an ESXi that did not have serial console support. I can understand not having it in the first iteration but I think it’s been over a year since ESXi was first released and still no serial console support? I guess it shows how Microsoft-centric VMware has been(not forgetting that Windows 2003 introduced an emergency console on the serial port, though I haven’t known anyone that has used it).

Why serial console? Because it’s faster and easier to access. Most good servers have the ability to access a serial console over SSH, be it from HP, or Dell, or Rackable, probably IBM too. Last I checked Sun only supported telnet, not ssh, though that may of changed recently. A long time ago with HP iLO v1 HP allowed you to access the “VGA” console via SSH, using the remcons command, this vanished in iLO v2(unless they added it back in recently I haven’t had an iLO 2 system in about 1.5 years). If your dealing with a system that is several networks away, it is so much faster to get to the console with SSH then bouncing around with the web browser and fooling with browser plug ins to get to the VGA console.

Also serial console has the ability(in theory anyways) to log what you get on the serial console to a syslog or other kind of server(most console/terminal servers can do this) since it is all text. I haven’t yet seen a DRAC or an ILO that can do this that would be a nice feature to have.

ESX(non i) does support serial console though enabling it isn’t too straight forward, but at least it can be done.

Come on VMware for your next release of ESXi please add full serial console support, to be able to not only access the console while it’s booted but be able to install over serial console as well. Thanks in advance, not holding my breath!

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