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Serial Console access for both #Linux and #Windows #Azure VMs #COM1 #SerialConsole

March 27, 2018 Leave a comment

SerialConsole-PrivatePreviewWindows
Source:
 https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/virtual-machine-serial-console-access/

Now, you can debug fstab error on a Linux VM for example, with direct serial-based access and fix issues with the little effort. It’s like having a keyboard plugged into the server in Microsoft datacenter but in the comfort of your office.

Serial Console for Virtual Machines is available in all global regions! This serial connection is to COM1 serial port of the virtual machine and provides access to the virtual machine and are not related to virtual machine’s network / operating system state.

All data is sent back and forth is encrypted on the wire.All access to the serial console is currently logged in the boot diagnostics logs of the virtual machine. Access to these logs are owned and controlled by the Azure virtual machine administrator.

You can access it by going to the Azure portal and visiting the Support + Troubleshooting section.

Security Access Requirements

Serial Console access requires you to have VM Contributor or higher privileges to the virtual machine. This will ensure connection to the console is kept at the highest level of privileges to protect your system. Make sure you are using role-based access control to limit to only those administrators who should have access. All data sent back and forth is encrypted in transit.

Access to Serial console is limited to users who have VM Contributors or above access to the virtual machine. If your AAD tenant requires Multi-Factor Authentication then access to the serial console will also need MFA as its access is via Azure portal.

How to enable it:

For Linux VMs: this capability requires no changes to existing Linux VM’s and it will just start working.

For Windows VMs: it requires a few additional steps to enable it:

  1. Virtual machine MUST have boot diagnostics enabled
  2. The account using the serial console must have Contributor role for VM and the boot diagnostics storage account.
  3. Open the Azure portal
  4. In the left menu, select virtual machines.
  5. Click on the VM in the list. The overview page for the VM will open.
  6. Scroll down to the Support + Troubleshooting section and click on serial console (Preview) option. A new pane with the serial console will open and start the connection.

Note: For all platform images starting in March, Microsoft have already taken the required steps to enable the Special Administration Console (SAC) which is exposed via the Serial Console.