Enabling VM serial console on stock Ubuntu 10.04 server

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

So I've been running Ubuntu 10.04 server virtual machines on a host running KVM as the hypervisor, and thought I should take a look at accessing the VM's console from the host, in case there's a problem with the networking on the VM.

The hosts's VM libvirt definition shows a serial port and console defined with

<serial type='pty'>
  <source path='/dev/pts/1'/>
  <target port='0'/>
  <alias name='serial0'/>
<console type='pty' tty='/dev/pts/1'>
  <source path='/dev/pts/1'/>
  <target type='serial' port='0'/>
  <alias name='serial0'/>

and within the stock Ubuntu 10.04 server VM, dmesg | grep ttyS0 shows:

[    0.174722] serial8250: ttyS0 at I/O 0x3f8 (irq = 4) is a 16550A
[    0.175027] 00:05: ttyS0 at I/O 0x3f8 (irq = 4) is a 16550A

So the virtual hardware is all setup on both ends, but ps aux | grep ttyS0 doesn't show anything

We need to have a process listening to that port. To do that, create a file named /etc/init/ttyS0.conf with these contents:

# ttyS0 - getty
# This service maintains a getty on ttyS0 from the point the system is
# started until it is shut down again.

start on stopped rc RUNLEVEL=[2345]
stop on runlevel [!2345]

exec /sbin/getty -L 38400 ttyS0 xterm-color

and then run

initctl start ttyS0

back in the host machine run virsh list to find the name or id number of your VM, and then

virsh console <your-vm-name-or-number>

to connect, hit return and you should see a login prompt.

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