KVM refers to "keyboard, video, and mouse". These three items are collectively known as a KVM console.
The main purpose of a KVM switch is to enable a single KVM console to connect to multiple devices. This lets users access and control multiple computers or servers from the console. Most businesses rely on servers to perform behind-the-scenes work that help the business run smoothly. The most common types of servers are mail servers, database/file servers, web servers, and application servers (SAP, ADP).
Due to their mission-critical role, corporate servers are typically placed in a secure environment called a data center or server room.
Server rooms can be a small closet or room, or a very large room(s) containing hundreds, if not thousands of servers. These are often referred to as data centers. They are designed and built to protect the servers they contain, with highly reliable power sources and generators; high levels of physical security; and high-end heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
The main purpose of a KVM Switch is to enable a single KVM console to connect to multiple devices, enabling the user to selectively control one device or another from their own KVM console.
By allowing one or more users to access and control multiple servers, KVM switches enable businesses of all sizes to realize the following benefits:
- Reduce costs - a KVM switch eliminates the need for
connecting a keyboard, video monitor and mouse to each server, so a
business only needs one or very few keyboards, video and mouse devices
to control and manage many servers. This not only lowers hardware costs,
but also frees up valuable physical space, along with reducing demands
on electrical power and heating and cooling systems.
- Improved business continuity - KVM switches allow
"out of band" access to a company's servers and other IT devices. As
such, they are not dependent on a corporate backbone or network. Thus
they allow IT personnel to access, control and manage the company's
servers even if the corporate network itself is down. A KVM switch can
even enable a complete system reboot from a remote location.
- Hardware platform and OS independence - KVM switches
work in heterogeneous server environments. They are not dependent on
the hardware or operating system from a specific manufacturer. As such,
they can function in corporate IT environments that have servers from
different manufacturers like HP, IBM, and Sun , that run on different
operating systems like Solaris, Unix, or Windows.