Customised analogue and TCP/IP-based KVM switch management solutions for IT, server room and data centre environments of any size

KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) switches, also known as computer switches, switchboxes or PC switches, are all based on the same functional principle: several computers can always be centrally operated and controlled by means of a single console consisting of a keyboard, mouse and monitor. To do this, the respective KVM interfaces of the computer are simply connected to the KVM switch and the user can easily switch back and forth between the connected computers as if he were sitting directly in front of each individual device. The computer BIOS can be accessed at any time. This allows, for example, servers to be rebooted at BIOS level even if the operating system is no longer available.

Analogue and digital KVM switching solutions

A suitable KVM solution is now available for every application thanks to the ongoing development of KVM technology: There are analogue or digital KVM systems with 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 or x ports that can also be cascaded with add-ons to connect up to several hundred or even several thousand servers. Support for PS/2, USB, SUN or even multi-platform environments is now just as much of a KVM industry standard as it is to integrate serial devices. The KVM switches are connected to the servers, network switches, routers, headless servers, firewalls and other devices by proprietary cables or UTP (Cat5/6/6e/7) cables. Most KVM systems offer analogue local access, digital and web-based remote access via TCP/IP or a combination of both access options to the entire active hardware of a data centre or server room. The shared use of data or audio sources by several computers is supported for several KVM switching systems via what is called the virtual media functionality.

Enterprise KVM solutions, out-of-band remote server administration and data centre infrastructure management

KVM management system mark the current performance peak in what is known as the enterprise sector that, in combination with management software or with an embedded management application, offer consolidated administration and in-band or also out-of-band control of thousands of servers (physical and virtual), serial network components, power distribution units (PDUs) and service processors (IPMI, DRAC, RSA, iLO). To take into account the enormous range of services of these solutions, the leading manufacturers like Avocent (today a division of Emerson Network Power), Raritan or Rose also talk about server management, data centre management or infrastructure management solutions. Since 2012, Tenduit RIMCenter, the first purely software alternative to the mostly hardware-based KVM systems, has been available on the market and offers comparable functions and scopes of service.

Continuous access to servers, prevention of downtime and significantly lower costs for hardware administration

The advantages when using the hardware- or software-based KVM management systems are obvious: access to a large number of servers and other IT equipment is consolidated to a small number of workstations, downtime is minimised by continuous access, remote error diagnostics and reboots as well as genuine restarts (power off/on) remotely and the time and cost needed for administration considerably reduced.