[GLLUG] Does any virtualisation system provide good support for USB device forwarding?

James Courtier-Dutton james.dutton at gmail.com
Tue Apr 8 19:06:39 UTC 2014

On 8 April 2014 10:38, John Winters <john at sinodun.org.uk> wrote:
> I've got a small server which uses Xen to run 5 separate VMs.  I do this to
> provide separation of functionality, and to ease migration when I move to
> new hardware.  Moving a VM from one physical host to another one is trivial.
> The one niggle I have currently is that some of the services I run require
> access to USB devices.  Currently those have to run in my Dom0, which isn't
> as neat and tidy as I would like.
> I've looked into USB forwarding within Xen, but it seems to be in a bit of a
> broken state.  As far as I can discover, if you're using the xl tool set
> then it just isn't supported.  The older xm tool set theoretically does
> support it, but xm is deprecated, and doesn't work with the current version
> of Xen (4.3).


KVM does USB host pass-through to the guest VM.
The Ubuntu version of kvm/qemu currently has a bug whereby it does not
correctly handle specifying the USB device by Vendor:Product and
instead need to use USB bus:device.
There is a published fix for it, so if you get the latest source code
and compile it, it will all work. Either that, or wait for an update.

I have used KVM/QEMU to use TomTom HOME in Windows to talk to my
TomTom sat nav via USB.

Kind Regards


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