Pimp your serial console with tmux

I have a short one for today, which I just found out with a colleague when troubleshooting Kubernetes: we only had connectivity to a VM over the console, but we needed to execute two commands at the same time: generate some traffic on one side, and have some tcpdump running on the other.

First of all, you need to enable the serial console on your VM. The only thing you need to do is configure Boot Diagnostics, and the easiest for that is using a managed storage account:

Boot Diagnostics are required for the Serial Console

Now you can access the serial console. We tried to use tmux with two panels (already installed in many distros like Ubuntu), but the tmux screen was too small to be useful:

The tmux panels in a serial console are too small

After a bit of Binging around I found the solution to the problem: you install the software package xterm (sudo apt install -y xterm), you run tmux again, and the result is much better!

Don’t let a bad console get in your way!

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