A KVM switch (stands for Keyboard, Video, and Mouse) enables users to access multiple target servers from a single location.

There are 3 main types of KVM switches:

  1. LCD Drawer is an integrated LCD/KVM solution that allows the users to access the target servers that are attached to the KVM ports.  The targets must be within 50 or 100 feet depending on the vendor’s offering.  This solution is good for a small environment that supports up to 256 targets or a local access is desired.
  2. Analog KVM with additional hardware enables simultaneous sessions to the target servers.  They support up to 16 concurrent sessions and the target servers could be located as far as 1,000 feet away from the KVM.  
  3. KVM over IP (KVM/IP) allows the administrators to access the target servers from anywhere in the world as if he/she is right in front of the target servers. Some vendors even support mobile access. This model supports up to 1,024 target servers.

Need help choosing the right KVM solution? Here are some questions that can help determine which type would work best:

  1. What is the application? Is it for an engineering lab? Data center? Broadcast?
  2. What kind of target devices are you accessing and what is their interface? Are they Windows machines? Linux or network machines? USB? VGA? DVI? HDMI?
  3. How many target devices do you want access and control to?
  4. Where are the target devices located? And, how far are the devices located from the KVM switch? Are you accessing the target devices while you are at the rack, 50 feet away, or in a different country?
  5. How many local users need to access the target devices?
  6. How many remote/IP, simultaneous users need access to the KVM?
  7. What kind of security, encryption protocol, authentication integration is needed?
  8. What type of video quality and resolution are needed?
  9. What other features are important? Integrated remote power control? Centralized management access and control? Virtual media?

If you’d like additional information on KVM switches, please contact us at solutions@mirapath.com.