I have a dedicated server, and will be installing SQL Server. However, my hosting company said they can connect an external CD ROM drive and give me KVM over IP to install SQL Server. My question is, what is IPKVM, and how does it work? Do I need special hardware or software on my side to use it....or do I just connect via remote desktop? Also, why can't I remote into my server through remote desktop instead of using KVM over IP?
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KVM switch is a hardware solution for switching one set of input and output devices (keyboard, mouse and monitor) between multiple machines. IP KVM is a KVM solution that allows remote connection over TCP/IP protocol to a KVM switch.
The benefits of using IP KVM vs. Remote Desktop is that there is no direct network connection between the client and the server machine. The client is connected over the network to the KVM switch, which is connected physically to the keyboard, mouse and display ports of the server machine.
You should need only a KVM/IP client software to access the server machine. However, i am not sure what software can be found out there. Your host will probably have instructions and recommended software you could install.
Technology like HP's Integrated Lights Out basically allows you to see the machine's output from boot.
It's more like sitting at the server (or at a KVM switch directly connected to the rack) than a remote desktop which often is not available until the machine boots.
It's almost always supported with dedicated hardware - either external or on a card.
If you have Remote Desktop access to the server, then you don't need an IPKVM to install SQL Server.
An IPKVM comes in very useful when you have to do actions that are outside of the Operating System (such as make changes to the BIOS) or actions inside of the Operating System that will break your network connection (Changing the system's IP address although can sometimes be done on the fly, having the safety of an IPKVM is invaluable).
I would suggest when connecting via RDP to connect to the main console session of the server for doing activities such as software install.
From a command prompt run: mstsc /v:SERVERIPADDRESS /admin (or if your RDP client is older, it is /console instead of /admin, you can check which by running mstsc /?)
This connects you to the same session you would get as if you were physically logging in at the server.
Regarding the external cd-rom, that just depends on if you have the media or they do.
If they do, let them connect an external cd-rom and put the CD in, but I'd suggest copying the contents of the CD to a folder on the server for later usage so you don't have to have them connect it any time you need the disc.
If you have the media, just zip up the contents and upload it to your server and extract it to a folder. SQL Server installation doesn't require to be run from the disc, you can run the setup from a folder on the hard drive.