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KVM Basics
Analog and Digital KVM
KVM for the Enterprise
KVM for the Data Center
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KVM Basics

KVM refers to "keyboard, video, and mouse". These three items are collectively known as a KVM console.

KVM Basics 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.

Benefits of KVM Switches
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.
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