Adder Proves KVM Still Has RelevanceBy Frank Ohlhorst | Posted 2009-01-05 Email Print
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The next-generation KVM doubles as a remote support appliance by incorporating TCP/IP, HTTP Server and VNC support into a single unit that can support as many as 16 servers locally or over the Web.
KVM switches have become rather pedestrian, and it’s pretty hard to get excited when the latest KVM switch hits the streets. Why? Well, partly because many KVM switches have been replaced with software solutions, such as terminal services, gotomypc and logmein. But don’t tell that to the folks at Adder, a manufacturer of KVM switches.
While software alternatives to KVM switches offer all sorts of bells and whistles, the simple fact is that software can’t replace physical hardware all of the time. In other words, if someone needs to launch BIOS setup during a boot, a software solution just won’t hack it. After all, remote control software applications load after the operating system does.
For pre-boot situations, solution providers needed to be in front of the subject PC, with access to a keyboard, video display and mouse (hence the moniker KVM) or, at the very least, have a physical connection to those elements on the subject system.
KVM switches offer several advantages over software solutions. First off, compatibility is usually not an issue; neither is worrying about service subscriptions and buggy remote control applications crashing servers. What’s more, a KVM switch is a great way to manage a server when someone is actually in the server room, not to mention the savings in hardware costs a KVM can offer. After all, a whole rack of servers can be serviced by a single keyboard, mouse and monitor. But KVM switches are not without their own problems—many lack any type of remote connectivity, and those that do offer it have proved to be unreliable and unresponsive.
Adder has changed all of that with the CATxIP1000, an eight- or 16-port KVM that offers both local and remote control of attached systems. The 16-port AVX1016IP retails for $645, while the eight-port AVX1008P retails for $495. Each attached system requires a CAT-5 connection module, which retails for about $100.
At first blush, $2,245 to control 16 servers may sound like big bucks, but the simple fact of the matter is that a hosted software solution could run as much as $240 per month ($14.95 per month per managed system) for controlling those same 16 PCs, a cost that will add up quickly over time to more than $2,400 per year.