I have currently been tasked with tracking down an IP KVM for our new data center, but I'm coming up blank on good reviews of KVMs. We're looking at a rack of 5 to 10 servers that would be hooked in. Does anyone have some recommendations on places to research KVMs, or have some of their own recommendations?
closed as not constructive by Mark Henderson♦ Jan 16 '12 at 3:45
As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or specific expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, see the FAQ for guidance.
We have several of the HP branded Avocent IP KVMs, I've also used the Avocent model itself. While they look the same they are not 100% compatible. While it works decently for my needs (approx 100 systems) I can't say I've been 100% happy with them. The issues I've had are:
1) Slow clunky Java based (Yet Windows only) management console.
a) Continuously asks for passwords. Every time I click on a new server I get prompted at least two times for a password.
b) Horrible LDAP integration. It was next to impossible to figure out what to do from their docs. I had to call support to get it to work. And I do have a reasonable clue on LDAP...
c) Can't edit console names remotely. You have to set the server names at the physical console, if you change the display name in the management software it does not update the names on the physical console.
d) No central database. Each administrator has their own local copy of the database. You can set it up once and export a ZIP file out that other admins can then import. OK for static environments, not great for highly dynamic environments.
2) They no longer sell the 8 port extender. This was a great little zero U box that you simply ran 1 CAT5 cable into and it spread out to 8 servers in a rack. Now you have to buy a 16 port 1U KVM instead.
3) Analog only. Why on earth are we still stuck with analog only KVM interfaces for enterprise servers? Is Apple the only company making servers that output DVI signals? Admittedly since we are mainly a HP shop the iLO interface is available but I do wish there was a movement towards digital KVMs.
I'm not sure if you would consider this low end or mid-range, but I have had good experience with this one: http://www.startech.com/item-specs/SV1115IPEXT-1-Port-Server-Remote-Control-KVM-over-IP-with-Virtual-Media-and-Serial-Control.aspx
That is just the kvm part, then you attach a switcher to it, daisy chain, grow if you need to. (to 64)
It runs a vnc server if you are familiar with that, pretty snappy, nothing too fancy. Serial console too if you need that.
We use an Avocent DSR8035, and at first I was not a fan, but the latest firmware updates have brought it to a point where I wholeheartedly recommend it. This specific model is overkill for your needs, but I'm sure one of their 16 port models from the same line should do just as well.
Many other "name brand" KVMs are rebranded Avocents, so you should be just as good with one of them as well - plus you'll get the addition support of your chosen vendor in addition to Avocent support.