Wednesday, January 15, 2014

USB Security Dongles and ESX

Ahhh - 90's technology.
Who doesn't love it?
Me. That's who.

Apart from the fact I have to work with it all day at work (Cisco), I've just finished my fight with trying to get a USB dongle to work with an ESX guest when connected directly to the host.

All the guides make it sound super easy.
Add a USB controller to the guest, add the USB device and done.

You follow that guide and it looks ok (picks up device etc.) but when you actually go to use an application that needs that USB security dongle it spits.

So - you do some more research and find that you can pass the USB hub on the host directly through to the guest which will then have exclusive access to the hub.

Great - that might get you out of trouble except for the fact something important inside your server might actually hang off the USB hub that you weren't aware of.

Or maybe one day in the future you might want to be able to hang something else off that hub.

So - then you'll end up USB over IP devices.
Good stuff - you're getting close.

Then you'll see the most recommended model is an "anywhereUSB" device.
That all sounds great until you see the price tag for a four port model is roughly $500 AU.
For a four port hub with an IP address.

Enter the AstroTek AT-UGSERV.

This little champ sells for all of about $50 and supports 4 USB devices,  DHCP, static IP assignemnt and has application and driver support for every known version of Windows.

Now - while the manufacturers website and the CD that ship with the device carry a fair number of drivers, they don't carry all drivers for all OS's.

A bit of looking around reveals that the OEM for this device is Elite Silicon Technology who have drives for every OS over at their website.

So - not a bad little saving of about $450 and your dongle woes will be no more :)

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