Using USB Redirection With QEMU/KVM
Written by Michael Larabel in Virtualization on 2 July 2012 at 07:29 AM EDT. Add A Comment
For those not up to speed on the latest features for Linux virtualization when using QEMU/KVM, there is support since for USB device redirection over the network for virtual machines.

Using USB redirection with Linux KVM virtualization has been possible since last year, but only today a full-length guide on using this feature has been posted to

There are two USB redirection modes support: using Red Hat's SPICE protocol or via a TCP server. The TCP solution doesn't depend upon SPICEwhile also supporting other remoting protocols like VNC. For using SPICE there is a GUI-based tool for configuring the USB device redirection while the TCP solution has support built into the virt-manager program.

The guide provides information on how to utilize this USB re-direction with QEMU/KVM.
USB redirection is a nice feature of KVM with many possible use cases. Two that immediately come to mind include backing data from your virtual machine locally or attaching usb devices that provide additional functionality to your guest virtual machine. All this without having physical access to your KVM virtual server.

The big downside to the method explained in this post is having to use multiple management tools to use this feature. In this case it required using virt-manager to configure and start/stop your virtual machine and a separate tool called spicy to perform the usb redirection to your guest.

About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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