Microsoft introduced a feature Monday that for the first time makes it possible for partners to troubleshoot Azure cloud instances through direct serial access to their customers' virtual machines.
The Virtual Machine Serial Console delivers a text-based command shell for both Linux and Windows machines that's independent of the network and state of the operating system.
Corey Sanders, corporate vice president of Azure, said in a Microsoft blog that a serial console had been the feature addition most consistently requested by Microsoft's customers in recent years.
"It's like having a keyboard plugged into the server in our data center but in the comfort of your office or home," Sanders said.
The Serial Console "comes naturally to Linux VMs," Sanders said, requiring no modifications to existing images. For Windows instances, a few more steps are needed to take advantage of the feature.
Microsoft has already enabled a Special Administration Console that delivers a command shell for interacting with VMs through the serial console, he said.
The feature is available in all Azure regions and accessible through the Azure portal.