[rescue] Re: KVM recommendations

Gavin Hubbard ghub005 at xtra.co.nz
Mon Jan 12 16:09:05 CST 2004

Bill said:

"our KVM here is dying; need recommendations for a new one.

needs to be able to have:

at least 2 consoles (monitor, kb, mouse)
and at least 32 PS/2/VGA ports (for systems)

We've got a NTI (http://www.networktech.inc) switch right now; four 
heads with
32 ports and it does Sun and PC, but we don't need the Sun functionality
in its replacement."

You can't really go wrong with Apex/Avocent units. They all support 
switch cascading i.e. you can buy say an 4-port 2-user switch and hang 
four 8-port 1-user switches off it (this gives 32 ports but means that 
only one user can be on any given slave switch at a time).


Something neat I got a few months ago is a "zero-U" Compaq KVM 
switch (zero-U because there is no external hardware - just cabling) . 
Basically it is a combined console extender and KVM in the form of PCI 
cards that are interconnected by UTP. The PCI cards are dumb (they draw 
only power from the bus - but this means they are platform 
independent) and have a breakout dongle for connecting to a host 
system (or another kvm etc). There is one master card and seven slave 
cards - the master card site in the control workstation and allows 
console access, while the slaves are daisy-chained via vanilla UTP 
cabling. IIRC the maximum allowable length of all the UTP segments is 
around 200 metres so you can easily tap into a building's existing 
structured cabling system. 

One thing I'd really like to test with this unit is hooking it up to some 
ethernet fibre-UPT transceivers to test whether I can patch a console 
directly into a fibre run. I estimate that the KVM is probably using 
around 160mhz bandwidth, so assuming that cheap transceivers are just 
basic amps inside - it might just be crazy enough to work!



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