AWS introduces alternative access method for broken VMs

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AWS has announced the “interactive EC2 Serial Console”. With this, the cloud service offers a way to solve problems with a virtual machine when this is not possible with a normal SSH connection.

With EC2 Serial Console, users get direct access to the serial port on the machine they are trying to connect to, Amazon says in the announcement. This makes it possible to troubleshoot startup and network problems that impede the usual access routes to the VMs. For users, the experience will be the same as if they physically walked up to the server and plugged in a monitor and keyboard.

Troubleshooting much less cumbersome

Previously, it was only possible to analyse such problems based on logs or screenshots via the EC2 management console, API or the command-line interface. This made troubleshooting a lot more cumbersome than when you can directly and interactively enter your commands to the problematic server.

Feature not enabled by default

The EC2 Serial Console is not activated by default. Users who wish to make use of the feature must explicitly activate it. The feature is integrated with IAM and AWS for Organizations so access rights can be fine-tuned.

Availability

Amazon is making EC2 Serial Console available immediately to all virtual instances running on AWS Nitro, whether using Windows or Linux. In Europe, it is available at AWS locations in Ireland and Frankfurt. There are no additional charges for using the service.

AWS is not the first cloud service to come up with this idea. Microsoft already offers the Azure Serial Console, as does Google with its interactive serial console. Many smaller hosting providers also offer similar services.

Tip: AWS doubles memory with new EC2 instances