42U KVM Switch Solutions

KVM Switch History

Brief history of KVM Switch Server Management Industry


Single-User KVM Switch Solutions
In the early 1980's as the computer industry grew, many server rooms and data centers were faced with the problem of having dozens and even hundreds of monitors, keyboards, and mice, taking up valuable rack space, and adding unnecessary heat disbursement issues. They also created server management problems for larger data centers in which technicians had to physically walk to each server they needed to work on.

Who created the 1st KVM switch (Keyboard Video Mouse Switch) is disputed. Actually the very 1st switches would more approximately be called KV switches. As both graphical environments and mice were not common in the early 1980's, the 1st switches only supported keyboard & video switching. The first switching units were very basic A/B type push button switches, grew to hot-key controllable switches, and later added OSD's (On Screen Displays).  

Addressing some of these issues, these KVM switching products allow a single user to access multiple CPUs from a single monitor, keyboard, and mouse. In addition to improving server manageability, heat disbursement issues, and the space savings, there was a huge cost savings from not having to purchase a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse for each CPU.

Single user KVM Switches are widely used today and can be found in almost every data center. The best of these products have intelligent on-screen firmware, are software independent, and allow you to connect multi-platform CPUs - such as IBM PC and Compatible, Apple Macintosh, Sun, Silicon Graphics, IBM RS/6000, DEC Alpha, HP 9000.

Multi-User KVM Switch Solutions
Single User KVM switches could handle dozens of Servers with a single monitor, keyboard, and mouse. However, handling large amount of servers with these KVM switches is cumbersome at best, and impractical if more than one user requires simultaneous access.

The KVM industry (see "KVM Switch Vendors" for additional historical information about each KVM vendor), addressed this need by creating KVM switches geared to being enterprise wide solutions, which allow data center managers to set up a NOC or Control Room where their technical people can remotely access any or all of the servers/devices in their server farms. In addition to no longer having to walk and locate a server you need to work on, they allow managers to restrict unnecessary physical access to sensitive equipment. These Multi-User KVM switches have security features which allow you to setup up who can login and access a user station. These KVM switches can be configured be either partially-blocked or allow you to have non-blocked access to every connected server/device.

Though the Multi-User KVM switch solutions shown on our pages are all dependable products manufactured from KVM Switch Industry's leaders, all have different capabilities and features. The KVM Switch products and solutions you select should be tailored for you specific environment and usage needs.

42U's Vision is to inspire corporate responsibility in energy efficiency and be a leader in providing technology and vendor agnostic information, suggestions, and solutions for making data centers more energy efficient.

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