1.0 Overview

With the release of ESX4, VMware documented the inclusion of a USB Host Controller device that could be installed in to hosted Virtual Machines. This USB controller would allow the mapping of a host attached USB device through to a VM. However when you connect a device you can not map it to a hosted Virtual Machine.

This is documented at the following locations:

http://vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r40/vsp_40_admin_guide.pdf (Page 164)
http://weblog.aklmedia.nl/2009/05/vmware-vsphere-esx4-is-arrived/

2.0 Issue

Currently if you install the USB controller hardware in to a Virtual Machine you will see the device installed. Plugging a USB device in to the host and investigating in the service console will show that the device can be seen and if it is a USB based hard disk can be mounted. However, the device is not seen by the Virtual Machine.

Figure 1 shows that even with the USB controller installed in the Virtual Machine, USB devices are not connected.


Figure 1: USB Device not Connected

3.0 Workaround

Currently, host connected USB devices can not be mapped to a VM. There is no workaround. Although the GA release of documentation from VMware does state that it is possible it is not.

There is a bug report and problem report logged internally with VMware. An updated set of release notes and a Knolwedge Base article will be generated and hosted on VMware.com shortly.

4.0 Solution

A fix for this will be released by VMware in the future. This is likely to be delivered in the form of an ESX host based update (more than likely delivered in the Update 1 patch release for ESX 4). Currently the ETA on this patch is not known by VMware tech support.

References

References:

  1. VMware vSphere Admin Guide, http://vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r40/vsp_40_admin_guide.pdf (Page 164)
  2. Randy's Weblog, http://weblog.aklmedia.nl/2009/05/vmware-vsphere-esx4-is-arrived/

Links:

1. Nil

References

  1. VMware vSphere Admin Guide, http://vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r40/vsp_40_admin_guide.pdf (Page 164)
  2. Randy's Weblog, http://weblog.aklmedia.nl/2009/05/vmware-vsphere-esx4-is-arrived/

1. Nil

Update

On the 11th June, VMware updated the vSphere Release Notes as follows:

New USB Pass-Through for Virtual Machines

Although you can add USB controllers to virtual machines, attaching USB devices is not supported.

http://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere4/doc/vsp_esx40_vc40_rel_notes.html
http://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere4/doc/vsp_esxi40_vc40_rel_notes.html

It is clear from the updated release notes that VMware is admitting there is a fault with this component. This will be fixed in a future ‘Update’ pack.

http://xtravirt.com/xd10087

--> Note : As a workaround, you can use a USB / Ethernet bridge : Belkin Hub USB réseau F5L009ea

http://www.svmlemag.fr/tests/03772/belkin_hub_usb_reseau_f5l009ea

Or use the software USBAnywhere as stated in VMWare site.

Good luck with USB pain!