A Closer look at the AVX1016IP

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Posted 2009-01-05 Email Print this article 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.

The AVX1016IP is a high-density, small-form factor, 16-port KVM switch that provides local, remote and over-the-Web access for users who need to control multiplatform operating systems and hardware. The unit combines USB console support, global IP access and a full KVM feature set. It offers high-quality video and CD-quality audio. The unit’s flexibility makes it suitable for server installations or industrial processes or for office control.

The AVX1016IP is an unobtrusive box that features an Ethernet port and status LEDs on the front and 16 RJ-45 jacks on the back for system connections. Keyboard, mouse and video ports are on the back of the unit, along with an audio port. Support for stereo audio is somewhat unique in a KVM switch. The ability to hear audio from the system being managed is becoming more important as businesses deploy PC-based PBXes, along with software-based VOIP solutions.

The AVX1016IP helps to reduce the tangle of cables commonly associated with KVM switches by using a modular approach. Each connected system uses a CAM (connection access module), which features keyboard, mouse, audio and video connections and is connected via a standard CAT-5 cable back to the unit. The single-cable approach is a vast improvement over the proprietary extension cables found with most KVMs.  CAMs can be located as far as 100 meters from the KVM. Adder offers CAMs for PS2, USB and SUN systems, with audio support optional on each module.

The general layout of the unit and the incorporation of CAMs make deployment incredibly easy. Just provide power to the unit and plug in the appropriate CAMs and cables, along with a local mouse, keyboard and monitor (speakers optional), and the system is ready for use. For remote access, a TCP/IP connection needs to be set up for the unit, which proves to be a simple task of plugging in an RJ-45 Ethernet cable to the front of the unit and programming the unit for either DHCP or static IP addressing.

Video and audio quality is quite impressive, especially for a KVM. The unit supports resolutions as high as 1,600  by 1,200 and audio quality of 44.1kHz. Interestingly, the unit has no buttons or physical controls on the front; users will rely on keyboard commands (when local), such as a CTRL-ALT combo, to access the unit’s management menus or switch between systems.

Administrators will log in to the unit to manage the features, which range from integrated security to system naming to connectivity options. Security is handled by the common user name and password combo and proves to be very granular, allowing certain users to access only certain systems. The KVM switch supports various levels of encryption for both signal transmission and user account information.

Perhaps the most important feature of the unit is remote connectivity. Here, Adder has paired support for RealVNC with TCP/IP connectivity. That allows a user to remotely attach to the unit over an IP connection and have complete control over the connected systems. Remote users can accomplish that by using a Java-based client offered directly from the unit’s integrated Web server or use a locally installed copy of VNC.

Adder makes it quite easy to get VNC going, simply because it offers a link to download the software directly from the unit’s browser-based management console. Solution providers will be surprised with the quality of RealVNC support; video is very smooth, while control is very responsive. A VNC session can be hard to distinguish from an actual physical session—the integration and support is that good.

Solution providers will appreciate the level of control offered by Adder’s KVM switch. In our tests, we were able to program the BIOS of our test servers to power up the server by using the space bar on the keyboard. That allowed us to remotely access the server and perform a complete shutdown (for patching purposes) and then reconnect the keyboard to the server via a remote KVM session and simply press the space bar to initiate a power up.

That is just one of the scenarios where the AVX1016IP proves to be superior to software remote control solutions. We were also able to reboot our remote systems and then hit the appropriate key combination to launch BIOS setup. That capability allows administrators to remotely change BIOS settings or even reflash a BIOS with new firmware.

With the AVX1016IP, Adder proves there is still life in the KVM market. The company offers an aggressive channel program that features decent margins and technical support. Those interested in partnering with the company will find that there are no real hurdles and can be assured that the company’s products won’t be showing up on retail shelves any time soon. The product’s simplicity, along with its impressive feature set, makes the unit a good choice over many of the competitors on the market (most of which don’t offer IP remote support), as well as a good choice over many of the available hosted- or subscription-based remote control options.

 


 
 
 
 
Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com
 
 
 
 
 
























 
 
 
 
 
 

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