Looking for a UNIQUE KVM Solution

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I'm looking for something unusual in the way of a KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) system, and have no idea where to find such a thing - so I'll describe it. In this case, I'll happily take brand names, since this would be a commercial product. As part of my business, I visit sites which are running headless servers with NO KVM switch, which are normally administered either by terminal services, SSH or the like. When the systems are down, network-wise this usually means dragging out a monitor, keyboard and mouse from somewhere to work on the system. What I'm looking for is a PCMCIA card, cables and matching software that will allow me to use a window on my laptop as well as my laptop's keyboard and mouse as a KVM for the system in question much as a Terminal Services (Remote Desktop Protocol), pcAnywhere, etc. would do over a network - but locally with cables! Any ideas? Thanks, Bob

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If your running WinXp just plug into a switch and use Remote Desktop Connection to the server. If your running Win2K Microsoft has a plugin you can download for Remote Desktop. Sorry don’t have the link or program name in front of me now though will look.

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  • Paul144hart
    I don't think you find a PCCard solution. However Raritan has an ethernet solution like tke KX101.
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  • Rjournitz574
    Bob: You may want to give the folks at BlackBox a try, www.blackbox.com. I have had some very good experiences with them and if what you are looking for has been or can be done they will do it or offer alternative solutions. One word of caution, they tend to be expensive but they do specialize in the unusual. Hope this helps and/or let us know the outcome of your search. RWJ
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  • Nileshroy
    Hi there!! Good Morning. I would like to suggest you to have a look at the new Avocent DSR range of KVM switches. Avocent DSR1021 KVM Switch will be an ideal soultion for you. The link to the product is: http://www.avocent.com/web/en.nsf/Content/DSR1021 Have a look & LMK if its suitable for you. Regards, Nilesh Roy.
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  • Sonotsky
    Well, Bob, it really depends on what you want to do, and what the hardware in question is. Some previous posters have made some good suggestions, although I've found that Avocent's products are usually less expensive than Raritan or Black Box's offerings. Having said that IP-KVM switches aren't always the solution. For example, I am the primary sysadmin for a smallish (~60 server) datacentre, with a mix of Dell, Sun, and DIY boxen. With the Sun hosts, since they are the enterprise-class servers, they have no monitor or keyboard outputs, just a serial management port. The Dell servers also allow console redirection to one of the onboard serial ports. So in my case, a single large serial port server is a better choice, so I can get into the Dell console and the Sun LOMs. Digi and Raritan have good offerings in that department. So, like you and I have replied many times in the past to other questions, the answer is: "it depends on what you want." Cheers
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  • ITinKC
    PCAnywhere and several other vendors of remote access software do provide for direct connection to client i.e. headless systems. PCAnywhere does provide both USB and Parallel cables for direct connection to systems. You don't need a PC card or any other hardware to connect. check this link. http://www.symantec.com/pcanywhere/Consumer/par_con.html Personally I use a small 5 Port switch and a couple of patch cables to connect to the system and use VNC for remote control of the system. I don't like being constained by the length of the USB/LPT cables. Hope this helps
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  • Bobkberg
    First off - Thank you to everyone who responded. Second, I clearly need to clarify more on what I'm looking for, and summarize what I've found so far. Here are the scenario assumptions: - NO Network connectivity - NO Operating system to provide RDP, SSH, pcAnywhere, etc. - I have to carry it with me, along with my laptop and tool box. - I'm in a colocation facility or data center with NO KVM equipment available. What I've found so far: -Avocent/Cybex makes a 1 port KVM over IP solution. List price is about $900-$1,000. This is almost workable. The cables connect to the "target" system, then an Ethernet cable connects to the laptop, and the console is accessed via a web browser. - Blackbox doesn't have anything close - I've found a handful of queries from other folks who would also like to buy the same sort of thing. So at the very least, I'm in good company. Bob
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  • DrillO
    Hi Bob.... Paul here....The unit you found is the only thing I can recall seeing that is close to what you want. Sounds to me like, if I could build it, I'd sell a few. Lemme see what I can do. Good luck. Paul
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  • Pedwards17
    Bob--I'm not sure that your Cybex 1-port solution is viable because it assumes that you can communicate to the down system via IP. If it is down, how is the system going to get an IP address? Are they configured to use PXE/DHCP? It sounds like you need a portable version of something like Compaq's (sorry, HP's--old habits die hard) Remote Insight Board. It is now the iLO (Insight Lights-Out) board, but in a ProLiant system, it gives you access to the console from power on and later and you would be able to view the POST. I'm not sure what you want exists, but it's a great idea.
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  • Clarkvr
    Bob, like told before Avocent is a good choice. You should see Cyclades too. Both had solutions for KVM over IP. This kind of KVM is like VNC or PCAnywhere, but you can see an machine since you turn it on an setup bios machine. Bye...
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  • Bobkberg
    Thanks again all - some clarifications. Paul/DrillO - maybe we should talk offline? Pedwards17 - The IP communication takes place between the laptop computer and the KVM system. The target system only needs to connect via the usual cables. Clarkvr - Yes, I was following your suggestion, thank you. Just passing on what I found to the group as a whole. I will also follow up on your Cyclades suggestion as well. Right now though, I'm going to bed. Bob
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  • Netmerc
    We went with minicom (www.minicom.com)... nice units, reasonably priced. They use a tranciever box that daisychains. Then in addition we have RDP and or VNC access on all servers and on all our HP servers we use the iLO boards if the crap hits the fan and we need in remotely.
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  • Maclanachu
    One other thing u could do via IP. In the BIOS settings of most modern PCsservers is u can set the NIC or Modem to "Wake on LAN". Ie power up when it gets a wake up call. I'm pretty sure u can also send re boot or power down cmds. New Intel servers have a controller card that can do this, bit pricey tho. U may way to cherry pick ur critical servers that require this. On boot up then u can see the bios posting on ur laptopconsole. Can even use the F keys to control the boot up as if u were right there which I imagine is what u want. Raritan have have KVM-RJ45 adaptors so u can see where the OS problem is. However, if the entire network is down and u can't communicate via IP, u r hosed and will have to look at the network first which involves a local trip. rgds Mac
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  • Nileshroy
    Hey Bob, As you might recall, I had suggested you to go for Avocent. I would still insist that you should go in for Avocent. I understood your requirement for your 1st message itself. I am using Avocent at my datacenter, where I manage 127 servers. Its the right soultion for your scenario. So make up your mind & go for Avocent dude. Regards, Nilesh Roy.
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  • Bobkberg
    Just this morning, I got an email advertising the "Raritan Dominion KX 101" which is a "palm-sized", single port KVM over IP solution. This is not quite what I was looking for, but if the price is workable, I may settle for it, since the physical size is pretty much what I was looking for. For your information, here's the URL: http://www.kxbutt.com/more_product.php Hopefully I'll find out the price soon. When I do, I'll post that also. Bob
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  • Bobkberg
    Well, I heard from the Raritan sales rep yesterday afternoon. List price on the little KVM unit is about $900, with discounts available here and there. So I guess I won't be getting one anytime soon. Bob
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  • Nileshroy
    Hi Bob!! So, what did u finally implement? - Nilesh.
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