Remote server access technology enables the IT system administrators and lab managers a way to access the remote servers, mainly windows servers, without having to be at the physical location.

Many rely on software such as RDP or VNC for this purpose when managing data centers, server rooms, engineering labs, and remote closets. While this technology can be effective when the Operating System (OS) is healthy, it’s not available when the OS becomes unresponsive. When the OS is unresponsive, the only option left is to send someone to the site which can be very time consuming. Not to mention the cost associated with it (mission critical servers being down while highly paid personnel are traveling to the affected site to fix the issue). In such a situation, KVM over IP (KVM/IP) can come to the rescue. It’s a hardware based and completely OS independent solution.

In the last few months, I have been using the Raritan KXIII to access and manage a few important servers in our lab. One of the servers is a Windows 2012 that hosts an instance of VMware server where various management platforms are hosted on (Raritan CommandCenter, Raritan PowerIQ, Opengear Lighthouse just to name a few). In testing the Raritan DKXIII, I was very impressed with its convenience and ease of use.

The configuration menu is intuitive and self explanatory

Configuring the network interfaces and the ACL list is within a few clicks of a mouse. In addition to the local authentication, KXIII offers two other remote authentication types, LDAP and Radius, so it can be easily integrated into the existing environments where either one of these authentication technologies is implemented. The authorization feature allows the Systems Administrator or Manager to restrict access of a certain group of personnel to certain ports. For example, the engineering group could only access and control port 1 and 2 where the engineering servers are attached to and the Marketing group could only access port 3 and 4 where the marketing servers are attached and so forth.

Easy and remote installation

I use the Virtual Media feature that enables me to mount the local USB drives and media to remotely install a new VM instance at the remote Windows server or transfer files from my laptop to the remote server at the convenience with the click of a mouse. The mouse synchronization feature makes this process entirely painless.

The Power integration is so easy to configure and use

Integrating a Raritan PDU into KXIII only requires a proprietary Raritan Power dongle called D2CIM-PWR. Once this D2CIM-PWR dongle is plugged into the feature port of the Raritan PDU on one end and a straight through CAT5 cable to one of the available ports on the KXIII on the other end, the application picks this up automatically and the PDU is ready to be managed remotely via KXIII. Through the Power menu, one could remotely turn power on/off/cycle of a certain outlet. This feature can be very useful in a lab environment where certain equipment needs to power cycle when a certain condition occurs or at a time interval.

While this KXIII appears to be solidly built from hardware to software, one thing I find inconvenient is the lacing bar, which appears to be a Raritan trademark as it is also available on other Raritan console servers, SX series, and the previous KX generation. I don’t fully understand the purpose of the lacing bar, and it blocks easy access to the ports, especially for folks with big hands.

The two awesome features that I would like to get my hands on are (1) the advertised 1080p, 30 frames/second and (2) tiering that supports cascading KXIII units together to connect up to 1024 servers.

Product review by Quang Nguyen, Sales Engineer at Mirapath. Connect with Quang on LinkedIn.