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I am attempting to simulate a serial connection between two VMWare virtual machines running CentOS 6.3; both hosted on the same VMWare vSphere 5.1.0 host (linux based ).

Googling yielded these instructions and it seems that the named-pipe solution is what I want; but the given instructions didn't work for me: no pipe is created on the host, nor the guest VM, and no additional serial ports are available on the guest.

Further searches yielded these instructions for workstation, which give some indication about what valid answers for the named pipe name. When I attempt to enter a named pipe according to the instructions (using '/tmp/pipeName' as the pipe name) I get an error Incompatible device backing for device '0'. Using a pipe name with no slashes does not produce the error, but still I get the original results -- the procedure "works" but no new pipes and/or serial ports are available on the guest.

When I add a serial port to a guest OS, how can I know what the port address/IRQ will be?

When I choose "Named Pipe", on what machine (host or guest) is that named pipe being created? How do I map the named pipe back to a serial port?

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Well those instructions are for VMware Workstation, not for vSphere 5.1. – joeqwerty Jan 11 '13 at 22:38
There's similar (but less detailed) instructions for vSphere; I just linked to the ones that described more clearly what I'm doing. – Gus Jan 12 '13 at 21:22
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The "named pipe name" that it's asking you to enter is really the name of the serial port you wish it to attach to. In the case of COM1, /dev/ttyS0 is the correct input.

I tested this by installing minicom (yum install minicom) on both VMs. The default serial port for minicom is /dev/modem, which won't work, so I had to run minicom -s and change the serial configuration on both VMs to /dev/ttyS0. Then, after opening minicom, anything typed into the terminal appears on the other terminal's output (terminal echo is off by default).

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