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Looking for a remote access KVM that:

  • Has an expandable design. So a head which you remote into, and can then add shelves that support X machines. This is optional, but looking for support of about 32 servers at the moment.
  • Rack Mountable
  • Uses some sort of standard protocol to access such as VNC (doesn't require special software). A web interface might be okay as well.
  • Anything else I might want?

This is to access servers.

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closed as off topic by sysadmin1138 Jan 5 '12 at 3:18

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I would add some layer of encryption to the traffic to the list of requirements. Even if it's just the ability to use an ssh tunnel on the VNC traffic. But I'm interested in what solutions people come up with myself. – 3dinfluence Feb 3 '10 at 17:03
Product and service recommendations are specifically off topic for ServerFault (see point 4 in the NOT About section of the FAQ) – sysadmin1138 Jan 5 '12 at 3:17
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I'm surprised no one has answered yet, it seems like everyone that uses KVMs has strong opinions...

I'm most familiar with Raritan, and they have equipment that will do what you want, but you might have to mix and match to put together all the stuff you want. One downside for us was that they didn't have any local reps where we are and it wasn't satisfying talking to them on the phone to figure out what products would work for us.

(Avocent, OTOH, had salesman who'd come in and look at what we wanted to do and come back and tell us what they had that would meet our needs.)

Raritan has two main lines, analog kvms and kvm over IP. We're using the analog line, and have daisy-chained switches together to get the ports we need using their older products (the MasterConsoles). If we were starting again, I'd go with the Paragon line (analog) or Dominion (ip) because they're more modular.

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Looking at some of these, it looks like maybe ~5k give or take a thousand for a solution for 32 servers. Is this about right, or am I just not find the cheaper stuff? – Kyle Brandt Feb 3 '10 at 19:52
Looks like minicom might be a cheaper solution. – Kyle Brandt Feb 3 '10 at 19:57
Seems like a remote access device to our current KVM solution might be a good option too. – Kyle Brandt Feb 3 '10 at 20:03
Yeah, the Raritan stuff's not cheap, neither was Avocent when I looked at it. I'm not sure about other brands. I'm sure you can get cheaper ones, the main benefits of the big names are that they're reliable and you can get all the pieces you need for oddball setups, e.g. a couple Sun servers, a nice Cat5 gizmo that lets you get into the KVM over existing network cabling in the building. – Ward Feb 3 '10 at 20:31

I am using the Avocent DSR series shelves and their KVM Remote access server platform. Its not a cheap solution but provides tons of scalability. With one remote access server I can scale to thousands of ports (over multiple sites) and I can also integrate other devices. I have some of the SNMP manageable power strips from APC and they tie right into the DSR software so I can remotely power cycle a machine if I need to.

Avocent also sells a Console port switch that Im using for my routers and switches; All in all this gear has saved me having to drive hundreds of miles to fix a server or router that was having issues.

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