Among the many advantages of using virtualization techniques are improved resource utilization, flexible operating system implementation, and streamlined disaster recovery. Using a single physical server, an organization can run multiple virtual guest OS sessions concurrently. The sessions share the physical resources such as storage space, CPU, and peripherals attached to the local host. The ability to forward serial ports to a VMware Workstation instance adds functionality to the virtual session and increases the value of your peripheral devices.
The problem is that many virtualization environments do not provide for the use of COM interfaces. If you want to use serial devices and ports in a virtual machine, you need to use one of the solutions discussed below.
FlexiHub is a software utility that lets you use serial ports and devices in VMware or any type of virtual environment.
FlexiHub works by establishing a virtual connection that redirects data from a physical serial port to a network-attached VMware session. You can give VMware access to COM ports with just a click. No modification of network settings or parameters are required to add a VMware serial port.
That’s all you need to do. Serial devices attached to the physical host will now be available in the virtual session. Without any additional configuration, you have provided VMware COM port passthrough to your virtual machines. FlexiHub lets you manage serial ports on all major virtualization platforms. Enjoy serial port connectivity in your VMware, VirtualBox, and Hyper-V sessions.
You can add up to 4 serial ports to a VMware Workstation. The virtual interfaces can be used to redirect data to physical serial ports, files or named pipes. When you add a serial port to a VMware Workstation session you can create modems and other serial devices that are available to the VM. The virtual port can also send debugging information to the host or another virtual machine.
Follow these steps to redirect a serial port in VMware Workstation.
If you have chosen a named pipe for output, it needs to be configured.
For Linux Hosts:
A UNIX socket name needs to be entered in the next text box. The name must be the same on the client and server and may look like /tmp/socket.
For Windows Hosts:
You can use the default pipe name or enter another name. The format of the pipe name must begin with \\.\pipe\. The name needs to be identical on the server and client.
To transmit debugging information to a virtual machine, choose “This End is the Server” on the initial drop-down menu and “The Other End is the Application” on the next drop-down menu.
Transmitting debugging data to a host system application, select “This End is the Server” on the first drop-down menu and “The Other End is the Application” on the second one.
Connecting the VMware Workstation to the serial port is done with the “Connect at Power On” option. When the VM is turned on, the connection will be activated.
The first VM usually takes the role of the server when two virtual machines are connected.
This process needs to be replicated for the second VM. When you are configuring the named pipe, define it as the client by selecting "This End is the Client.”
We hope that the information provided in this guide helps you redirect serial ports in VMware. Using these methods enables you to use serial devices from within virtual sessions with the full functionality afforded through a direct connection. They make your serial equipment more valuable as a much wider user base can share limited physical resources.