back to article It's been a long time coming but AWS has at last enabled an interactive serial console for de-borking VMs

AWS has introduced the "interactive EC2 Serial Console", enabling troubleshooting of virtual machines when normal SSH access is not working, with one user gushing: "I have been waiting 10 years for this moment." The purpose of serial console access is to enable troubleshooting when an SSH connection is impossible, for example …

  1. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I am not a AWS user but was surprised to hear that a serial console was only just implemented on there now, the cheap £40 a year VPS I use for hosting a website have this and can be used without needing to open support tickets. And indeed I did need it once when i screwed up the IPTABLES settings and could no longer SSH into it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The general intention with public cloud infrastructure is that infrastructure should be immutable; if your instances are individually valuable enough you need to log onto them and tenderly nurse them back to health via serial port rather than just blasting them and rebuilding they probably shouldn't be on AWS. Cattle, not pets.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > they probably shouldn't be on AWS.

        Wait, so Teh Cloudz isn't a panacea for everything?

        Heaven forfend!!

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Take a Chill Pill, Have a Good Ponder, Make urViews Known. The Best Will be Trialed and Trailed.

          Wait, so Teh Cloudz isn't a panacea for everything? ...... Anonymous Coward

          No, it isn't. It is an opened Pandora's Box to more than just everything needed for anything one would care dare share with a seeding and a feeding and a nurturing towards a harvesting for the hellishly difficult to believe and accept heavenly bounty provided and exercised by remarkably healthy stealthy specimens of almighty phenomenal growth.

          :-) Oops, I appear to have somewhat misspoken with all of that above there, for surely, if one knows what would need to be done and one knows how to do it, it would be a panacea for everything too.

          Now there's a couple of pleasant bi-polar entities in a singularity to future entertain humanity other than them defaulting to the dysfunction of repetitive banalities leading to serial progressive defeats ....... systems stagnations and operations petrifications.

          What would you expect or just like them to do for you, rather than to you should you be understandably fearful? Don't be bashful now. This is a great chance for you. And don't be afraid to use your best imagination, for whenever anything and everything is possible, it is logical to realise the competition will be fierce with other interested and interesting forces presenting all manner of attractive proposals to conjure into existence.

      2. sreynolds Bronze badge

        Immutable my arse. Even AWS' linux distro does apt updates. Tell me that they are going to work with your configuration. How many people bother to test with AWS xen hypervisors before deploying static code?

  2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


    This is probably because I was asking for so many panic logs when attempting to use NVIDIA GPUs in production. (Current theory is that swapping + NVIDIA is broken in EC2)

  3. DarkwavePunk

    Still seems a bit sub-par.

    I've had to do the AWS EBS shuffle in the past and it's not fun in the slightest. This is welcome in a way although the hoops to get it working look a bit of a ballache as well.

    I guess we're all meant to be using a Kubernetes cluster with a DevOps CI pipeline in this brave new world. However, sometimes I'd just like a server to behave like a server whether it be self-hosted tin/VM or in the "cloud".

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Still seems a bit sub-par.

      It does rather take the shine off 'modernity' when the notion of Out Of Band control is belatedly and grudgingly conceded - and then in a form that hasn't changed since the 58 year old KSR33 first took on the role of operator console.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    April fools!!

  5. naive

    It is the greatest fear nowadays in cloud heaven

    To create an issue requiring a console, what is simple to solve in VmWare is a major pain in the cloud.

    Simple things like consoles are things that MS and Amazon don't manage to provide in spite of being worth 100's of billions.

    But at least cloud is cheap ?.

    It is advisable to create an emergency user with straight forward password authentication and sudo rights.

    Did I mention Azure taking one back to the late 90's where Windows drives can not be enlarged ?

    Hey Azure even offers default Linux templates without Logical volumes so it doesn't look better than their windows server instances, which are still a century away from offering logical volume management.

    After all, it is only 30 years ago since AIX was the first to offer logical volume management in the late 80's.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It is the greatest fear nowadays in cloud heaven

      >But at least cloud is cheap ?

      No it isn't.

      >It is advisable to create an emergency user with straight forward password authentication and sudo rights.

      No it isn't.

      1. sreynolds Bronze badge

        Re: It is the greatest fear nowadays in cloud heaven

        Naah should just allow root login on the console so that the cloud provider can run commands as root in your VPS, which all the OpenVZ stuff do.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It is the greatest fear nowadays in cloud heaven

      > what is simple to solve in VmWare is a major pain in the cloud.

      Maybe in most VMWare products, but I've a customer who insists on using a VMWare cloud product where console access is a total PITA. No way to implement serial consoles and the emulated graphical console can't be accessed for some random period after the instance is started. So if you have a instance which locks up or someone does something stupid too such that you need to reset it you don't get to talk to the instance until after it's started to boot, if it doesn't boot (coz someone did something dumb) then you're hosed. OK, our use case might not be typical, but we've ended up needing to nest KVM VM inside this bloody cloud thing as being the only reliable way of getting console access, then you just hope no one screws up the outer VM.

      I've never had these types of issues with any other VMWare product, just this one.

  6. Number6

    I've had full console access with my VPS provider for many years, surprised that AWS is only just catching up with it. Fortunately not had to use it often, mostly when doing major upgrades, but it's nice to know it's there in case I've done something stupid.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't stand AWS, whats the attraction?

    I've had to use it in 2 different jobs now. Its nothing more than a convoluted PITA to get even simple tasks done whether its a full instance server or down at a lamba functionality though its bizantine web front end with a dozen different ways to achieve the same thing and services with overlapping functionality and lots of rough edges. If ever there was an emperors new clothes these all-you-can-eat cloud setups are it as they're a jack of all trades, master of none - eg , need a proper relational DB with a decent version of SQL? You can forget about Redshift , or should that be Amazon RDS, no wait, what about Dynamo?

    Proper hosting such as offered by Rackspace or similar are - assuming you have competent Linux or WIndows admins and DBAs - a far better solution if you simply want remote VMs. Why anyone would jump through the AWS hoops beats me other than its simply the herd mentality kicking in.

  8. Nebra

    Magic SysReq

    Most convenient for kernel debugging, how else can you issue magic sysreq commands

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022