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  1. #1
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    Decent KVM over IP anyone?

    Hello community.
    So I'm a total noob in KVM oper IP question but i have 10 servers colocated which i would like to "visually" control from home.
    Any suggestion there to start from?
    Would be nice to have something with an easy to use GUI.

    Beforehand thank you.

  2. #2
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    We're using these: http://www.avocent.com/SwitchView_IP_1020.aspx . Cost: $500 - 600 or so off the top of my head.

  3. #3
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    ive been trying to pawn off my raritan for some time, vmware reduced my servers. raritan makes some good products.

    they even have a kvm gateway for rdc and ssh plus vmware addons for console access. neat stuff.
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  4. #4
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    I was actually looking at something like this:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/AVOCENT-DSR2161-...item5636b50ad4
    16 port, kvm over ip option and in rack control option. But i would like to have one with decent gui and easy to install, so guys at the dc would not have any troubles configuring it.
    What do you guys think about this one?

  5. #5
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  6. #6
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    Check out the Lantronix Spider - as long as you're ok with having a datacenter tech move the connectors between servers when you need to view a different server it's a really easy/cheap/simple solution.
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  7. #7
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    You can use the Lantronix Spider to control a cheaper NON IP KVM... that's a solution that's worked well for some of our clients and been cheaper to implement then a large IP KVM.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by USSHC_Colo View Post
    You can use the Lantronix Spider to control a cheaper NON IP KVM... that's a solution that's worked well for some of our clients and been cheaper to implement then a large IP KVM.
    That's interesting. So, use like a USB/PS2 normal multiport KVM, and use the Lantronix on the back end of it.
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  9. #9
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    Avocent needs the expensive DSView3 softwarte. Buy the Dell ones, the software is then free and the product is exactly the same.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by larry2148 View Post
    Check out the Lantronix Spider - as long as you're ok with having a datacenter tech move the connectors between servers when you need to view a different server it's a really easy/cheap/simple solution.
    We've got quite a few of these deployed in all of our locations and they're actually quite nice. Definitely recommended for a good, cost conscious solution
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by USSHC_Colo View Post
    You can use the Lantronix Spider to control a cheaper NON IP KVM... that's a solution that's worked well for some of our clients and been cheaper to implement then a large IP KVM.
    Hi, been researching these options after reading your post.

    Could you explain this in more detail?

    I have several 4 port KVM's and few 3Com switches how would a single port Spider be used to best advantage with this equipment? I have a few dozen servers to handle, where they will be grouped in each their own small network.

    Kind Regards,
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  12. #12
    I recommend the dell branded avocents as well. They are fairly cheap and you can expand them with additional SIPs and PEMs to handle fairly large numbers of servers. The downside is mine never would allow multiple logged in users (you have to spend some real money to get high capacity)

    I don't think that you can use 1 single head ip-kvm on multiple smaller KVMs, that would probably only work if you got a single KVM that had like 16 ports and hooked the spider up to it.

  13. #13
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    The Dell branded avocents are great units. It's unfortunate that in the recent months/year the price on them has gone up rather significantly

  14. #14
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    We have been using Raritan, its also good with its Java-based remote management interface.
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  15. #15
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    I have searched alot today about kvms and seems like the one im looking at to buy is this: Belkin OmniView SMB 1x16 KVM-over-IP PS/2 in CAT5 Out
    http://www.provantage.com/belkin-f1dp116g~7BELS06U.htm
    Not sure if somebody has some review on that one but simple wht search did not get any results.
    And it also looks good to me because of daisy-chain connection for the future.

  16. #16
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    For us the Adder models always worked great.

    Have a look at these: http://www.adder.com/uk/KVM-over-IP.aspx
    Last edited by giga-international; 11-09-2009 at 05:30 AM.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mavus View Post

    Could you explain this in more detail?
    The reason it works in our cases is that the non IP KVMs being used are hotkey switchable 16 port units. So the Spider goes into the main control ports for the non-IP KVM and keyboard hotkeys change between which of the 16 ports you're working with. Quite simple and in most cases cheaper than using an IP KVM with a plethora of ports. If your KVMs cascade this may work for you as well.
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  18. #18
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    We've had great success with the Avocent DSR-1024 units, daisychained to a standard KVM switch. (We originally used the Avocent Switchview KVM/IP units and had so many problems with image distortion and lockups that Avocent Support exchanged them for the much more expensive DSR unit at no extra charge.)

    Daisychaining a non-IP enabled KVM switch to a single-port KVM/IP unit saves money, and is a reliable solution for remote KVM/IP control of many servers.

    Code:
    [internet]
          |
          |
     [Avocent DSR-1024]
              |
              |
      [Standard KVM swtich with 4, 8, or 16 ports]
                       |
                       |
           _______________________
           |             |              |              |   
           |             |              |              |   
    [server1]  [server2]  [.....]  [server_N]

  19. #19
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    I've deployed many of Startech 16 port units and they work great, the price is definitely right.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by USSHC_Colo View Post
    The reason it works in our cases is that the non IP KVMs being used are hotkey switchable 16 port units. So the Spider goes into the main control ports for the non-IP KVM and keyboard hotkeys change between which of the 16 ports you're working with. Quite simple and in most cases cheaper than using an IP KVM with a plethora of ports. If your KVMs cascade this may work for you as well.
    Thanks, that sounds very promising.
    ABSF
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sekweta View Post
    We've had great success with the Avocent DSR-1024 units, daisychained to a standard KVM switch. (We originally used the Avocent Switchview KVM/IP units and had so many problems with image distortion and lockups that Avocent Support exchanged them for the much more expensive DSR unit at no extra charge.)

    Daisychaining a non-IP enabled KVM switch to a single-port KVM/IP unit saves money, and is a reliable solution for remote KVM/IP control of many servers.

    Code:
    [internet]
          |
          |
     [Avocent DSR-1024]
              |
              |
      [Standard KVM swtich with 4, 8, or 16 ports]
                       |
                       |
           _______________________
           |             |              |              |   
           |             |              |              |   
    [server1]  [server2]  [.....]  [server_N]
    Thanks very much for the diagram, I learn best this way. Got in my notes now!
    ABSF
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    100 year-old Metaphysical Library

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mavus View Post
    Thanks very much for the diagram, I learn best this way. Got in my notes now!
    You're welcome.

    An easy way to think about it is, pretend there is no such thing as "remote" access. All your work is done standing right in front of the servers.

    Pick the ideal KVM setup for that scenario. Select standard KVM units that are reliable, with the hotkey functions, menus, and features that you like best. (Operative word: hotkeys. Do NOT pick units that can only switch servers by pressing a button on the KVM box.)

    Now... imagine that instead of plugging in a keyboard, mouse and monitor into that great new KVM setup, plug in the cables from the KVM/IP unit (which you access remotely).

    Think of the KVM/IP gateway as an extension cord, such that you have "really long cables" between the keyboard/monitor/mouse at your office and the KVM switch at the colo.

    Yep, it's that simple.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sekweta View Post
    You're welcome.

    An easy way to think about it is, pretend there is no such thing as "remote" access. All your work is done standing right in front of the servers.

    Pick the ideal KVM setup for that scenario. Select standard KVM units that are reliable, with the hotkey functions, menus, and features that you like best. (Operative word: hotkeys. Do NOT pick units that can only switch servers by pressing a button on the KVM box.)

    Now... imagine that instead of plugging in a keyboard, mouse and monitor into that great new KVM setup, plug in the cables from the KVM/IP unit (which you access remotely).

    Think of the KVM/IP gateway as an extension cord, such that you have "really long cables" between the keyboard/monitor/mouse at your office and the KVM switch at the colo.

    Yep, it's that simple.
    Thanks again, I added that too!
    ABSF
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by USSHC_Colo View Post
    The reason it works in our cases is that the non IP KVMs being used are hotkey switchable 16 port units. So the Spider goes into the main control ports for the non-IP KVM and keyboard hotkeys change between which of the 16 ports you're working with. Quite simple and in most cases cheaper than using an IP KVM with a plethora of ports. If your KVMs cascade this may work for you as well.
    Can you recommend a 16 port non-IP KVM that works well with Lantronix Spider.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eiv View Post
    Can you recommend a 16 port non-IP KVM that works well with Lantronix Spider.
    linksey makes some rather cost effective 16 port ps2/usb kvm's that can be had either with or without OSD (would always recommend OSD) we use them on our work benches.

    However, if you do plan on scaling I would highly recommend just going with a solution such as the Dell re-badged avocent. You can start relatively cheap with a single head end and up to 16 sip's and if you need more than that you can start building out with the 8 port expanders putting up to 128 onto a single chassis.

  26. #26

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spudstr View Post
    we use the dell "brand" avocent, ds2161 and ds2161-ds2 and they work great.
    My only complaints against 2161DS:
    1. you will need to install a separate Java based application. This makes it troublesome if you want to offer KVM/IP service to your customers.
    2. Once you logged in to the application, eventhough your access to the servers might be limited (depending on which servers your are assigned to), you will still be able to see all servers.
    3. On Windows, the mouse pointer on the console and the mouse pointer on your desktop hardly ever match. Mouse interaction is slow as well.

    I am not sure about 2161-DS2 though.

    Dell has also recently released new KVM/IP series. The number escapes my mind. From what I can gather, it can be used with web browser. I will check my note again.
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  28. #28
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    16 ports are not enough for us. Our Dell 2161DS can control up to 128 servers in a single 1U unit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sekweta View Post
    We've had great success with the Avocent DSR-1024 units, daisychained to a standard KVM switch. (We originally used the Avocent Switchview KVM/IP units and had so many problems with image distortion and lockups that Avocent Support exchanged them for the much more expensive DSR unit at no extra charge.)

    Daisychaining a non-IP enabled KVM switch to a single-port KVM/IP unit saves money, and is a reliable solution for remote KVM/IP control of many servers.

    Code:
    [internet]
          |
          |
     [Avocent DSR-1024]
              |
              |
      [Standard KVM swtich with 4, 8, or 16 ports]
                       |
                       |
           _______________________
           |             |              |              |   
           |             |              |              |   
    [server1]  [server2]  [.....]  [server_N]
    So, how do you switch from one server to another remotely? Do you connect to this "Standard KVM switch" and cycle the port remotely?
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by datarealm View Post
    we've found these to be pretty cost effective:
    http://www.plinkusa.net/webMU-116AP.htm
    That IP-KVM looks good, but I think it only supports one simultaneous user?
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by FHDave View Post
    16 ports are not enough for us. Our Dell 2161DS can control up to 128 servers in a single 1U unit.
    Add as many ports as needed. My point was, design the KVM system as you would if working at the rack. Then the last step is to add a 1-port KVM/IP gateway in place of a physical keyboard/monitor/mouse, to remote-enable the entire setup. You can do it with 100% IP-enabled KVM gear, but that is expensive. The wallet-friendly method is use standard KVM kit which is much cheaper, then add a single-port IP enabled unit at the top to make for remote access. Obviously, if this will be used by customers and not just admins, this setup is not for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by FHDave View Post
    So, how do you switch from one server to another remotely? Do you connect to this "Standard KVM switch" and cycle the port remotely?
    Hotkeys. For example, in our setup the hotkey sequence to switch to KVM port #3 is SCRLLOCK-SCRLLOCK-3.

    A few years ago we had three 8-port Belkin units (they were really horrible) cascaded togehter. The key sequence to get bank #2 port #6 was SCRLLOCK-SCRLLOCK-2-6.

  31. #31
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    This comes up so much it should be a sticky. For general applications, we use the Startech 16-ports. They are inexpensive and generally work very well. If we need media and for customer use (they are easy to move around), we have single-port Startechs with the virtual media function. One also acts as a console server with daisy-chained RPORT adapters into core routers and switches for out-of-band management.

    As many mentioned, the Dell-branded Avocents are another good option. I've seen them on the used market priced very cheap.

    One thing to keep in mind is that if you're using more than one port, the cables could end up costing you as much as the KVM.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by voipcarrier View Post
    One thing to keep in mind is that if you're using more than one port, the cables could end up costing you as much as the KVM.
    I'm glad you mentioned that. Sometimes I think KVM gear is sold the same way as inkjet printers, where they sell the device fairly cheap, then kill you on the cost of ink cartridges over time. KVM cables are ridiculously expensive, and vendors want you to believe you have to use their cables, which is another revenue stream for them. This is only true for oddball units.

    IMO, it is best to buy gear that uses your standard 3-cable setup, instead of units that have K/V/M cables combined into a single plug at the KVM-switch end. This way you can use any generic (translation: inexpensive) KVM cables you can buy online from bulk cable vendors, or cables you already have.

    Drifting off-topic, history buffs might recall that's the way the original Gillette rasors were sold. Mr. Gillette reasoned that a high price dampens adoption, and his was a newfangled product. So he decided to sell the rasor handle cheaply to encourage initial sales, believing that he would see long-term revenue growth through the sale of blade refills. He was right.

  33. #33

  34. #34
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    KVM's are nice and we used to use these until we did a major hardware refresh. Now we do with dells Drac cards for full management remote access/reboot/power cycling and medio mounting which is very important. If you are interested we have a 16 port minicom smartcat 16 switch with ricc available. PM me if you would like more info.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by webecs View Post
    KVM's are nice and we used to use these until we did a major hardware refresh. Now we do with dells Drac cards for full management remote access/reboot/power cycling and medio mounting which is very important.
    I strongly recommend keeping at least a single port IP-enabled unit in the rack for emergencies. Given enough time, you will eventually experience the terror of a DRAC (or similar BMC) unit going unresponsive. If the colo is out of area, you'll be thankful for a basic KVM/IP box that can be plugged in by remote hands.

    Even though we've gone to an all-HP setup with the ILO Advanced pack-- full KVM, remote power, remote mount media-- we still keep a few KVM/IP units in the racks for emergencies.

  36. #36
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    Sekweta - that is an extreamly good point! We actually do this also. How do you like the HP ILO compared to dells Drac?

  37. #37
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    I've only toyed with the Dell DRAC once or twice, never in production or for any length of time. I've been told DRACs are prone to lockups, but others have said newer versions are better.

    As for the HP ILO, we use ILO 100 and ILO2. Both have been very reliable. The caveat with ILO 100 is the KVM/media console cannot be used from outside a NAT gateway, but all the browser based functions such as remote power control work fine. ILO2 has no such NAT limitation.

    The one nit to pick is the slow data transfers to/from remote-mounted media. Even when the server is on the same subnet and physical LAN segment as the remotely connected PC, transfer speeds max out around 4 mbps. This can make for painfully slow software installs if you have to do it this way (such as installing an operating system from bare metal). But when the server is down, slow is better than nothing.

    To get the KVM/IP and Remote Media functions, you have to buy the Advanced license at around $300 per server. Chances are you won't need it often (or at all) but it's worth its weight in gold if you do.

  38. #38
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    Yikes, that's pretty expensive just for a 'license', not to mention you already paid for the ILO itself.

    The IPMI card from Supermicro includes KVM and virtual media is ~$50 add-on. This is way cheaper than an external KVM/IP solution so it makes plenty of sense.

    I'd rather atatch a Startech KVM (heck even a spider on each box) than pay $300/server just for a software license.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastServ View Post
    I'd rather atatch a Startech KVM (heck even a spider on each box) than pay $300/server just for a software license.
    It can probably be found cheaper from a web vendor/reseller, but yeah it is pricey. For those who don't need KVM, the remote power control and basic reporting are included free.

    Also, if you take the server out of production you can delete the license key from the BMC and re-use it on another machine, as long as the replacement box uses the same ILO version (ILO 100 or ILO2).

    I know HP servers (and everything that goes with them) are more expensive than Supermicro and Dell, but you can pretty much smash them with a sledge hammer and they'll keep running without missing a beat. (do not try that at home, kids)

  40. #40
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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by Sekweta View Post
    I know HP servers (and everything that goes with them) are more expensive than Supermicro and Dell, but you can pretty much smash them with a sledge hammer and they'll keep running without missing a beat. (do not try that at home, kids)
    Thanks for that last part, as I do have a lot of them at home!
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