What is a Rackmount KVM Switch?

by | May 5, 2015 | Computer

In large companies, engineers have to manage vast computer networks. Taking care of all these computer systems can be troublesome unless you create a connection between them. Without an appropriate connection, each computer will require access to a different peripheral, such as a printer. However, with the help of a KVM switch, all computers on the network can use the same peripherals, such as a single display or monitor, keyboards or a mouse.
If you have ever seen the inside of a server room, you must have noticed tall, free-standing structures. These are essentially servers which are operated through a computer terminal. The “racks” on which the servers are placed also have space for additional equipment, such as a rackmount KVM switch. Once connected to a switch, all the connected computers will be able to access similar equipment. KVM switches come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Some of them are huge, allowing more than hundred computer terminals to connect together. Others are relatively small-scale, with 2-3 ports.

The Ports

Before buying any KVM switch, the most important thing to consider is the number of ports in the switch. In computer terminology, all KVM switches are usually described by the number of ports that they have. For instance, a two-port KVM switch allows two computers to share common peripherals by connecting to each other. Similar to this, a four-port KVM switch creates a connection between four computers.

Home or Commercial Use

Needless to say, KVM switches are very popular. They are used in homes for people who have more than one computer, allowing them to share common peripherals for each. However, they are mainly used in commercial and industrial applications. A rackmount KVM switch usually has anywhere between four and sixteen ports and is designed to control numerous server systems with a single keyboard. The server operator can keep track of many different systems using a single screen, monitor and keyboard. This makes it very easy for the operator to discover when something goes wrong.

Rather than purchase a different set of keyboards and mice for every computer terminal in your server room, it is usually cheaper to invest your money in a KVM switch. A rackmount KVM switch connects directly to the computer terminals via wires and requires sophisticated server software to run. In most cases, Linux is used to create a connection between the different computer terminals. That’s simply because Linux is so widely accepted by many as one of the best operating systems for use in server equipment. Not only is it easy to manage, but Linux also allows a greater degree of customization.

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