Switch Vendors Answer The Call To Expand KVM-Over-IP Capabilites

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Vendors selling switches that allow a single keyboard, video display and mouse (KVM) to manage multiple servers via Web-based browsers are introducing new products that either combine IP capability inside a KVM switch or add IP capabilities to existing KVM switches to allow remote management of server farms.

Expanding KVM capabilities over IP networks is becoming a hot topic, said James Sinkiewicz, founder of JSCS Computer Solutions, an El Cajon, Calif.-based solution provider specializing in KVM implementation. "It's something that I, as a reseller, have requested for five years," he said.

Constrained IT spending has made it necessary to justify all expenses, Sinkiewicz said. "By using KVM-over-IP, you can turn computers on and off and watch them boot up from anywhere in the world," he said. "So you don't need an expensive IT person in each data center. %85 Even if he is based across the street, you save the time he spends walking over."

Raritan's IP-Reach M series appliances add IP connectivity to standard KVM switches.

Raritan is bringing IP-based KVM management to SMBs with its new IP-Reach M series of appliances, which add IP connectivity to standard KVM switches regardless of manufacturer, said Henry Hsu, product manager at the Somerset, N.J.-based company.

Up to 16 user profiles can be defined, giving those users access to any server attached to any KVM switch connected to the appliance for full monitoring and management from anywhere via the Internet, Hsu said.

Unlike Raritan's previous PR series of IP-based KVM appliances, which feature dual power supplies and network connectors and up to four server ports in a 2U chassis, the M series has a single power supply and network connection and either one or two server ports in a 1U chassis, resulting in lower prices, Hsu said.

Irvine, Calif.-based Altusen last month introduced the model KN9000 appliance, which connects to any KVM switch to allow administrators to manage servers via a LAN, WAN or the Internet. The KN9000 supports 10BaseT, 100BaseT, TCP/IP and HTTP, and is compatible with Microsoft Windows and Java-based client software.

Belkin Components, Compton, Calif., also adds a separate appliance in front of its KVM switches. The OmniView Enterprise Series remote IP Console enables administrators to control, view and manage servers connected to a KVM switch remotely over a TCP/IP network. The IP Console offers VGA video emulation even with the server turned off and remote power on-off or server reset via standard Web browsers.

Huntsville, Ala.-based Avocent also builds IP connectivity into some of its KVM switches. This fall, the company introduced its AutoView 1000R and 2000R, which combine the company's KVM-over-IP switching technology with a KVM switch in a single 1U rack-mount unit, allowing one local administrator and one or two Web-based administrators to simultaneously control servers remotely.

Many customers already have KVM switches, so the appliance approach to IP connectivity cuts the cost of upgrading existing infrastructures and allows easy upgrades in the future, Sinkiewicz said. But the Avocent approach enables customers without KVM to start from scratch with IP connectivity, he said.

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