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The Real Value of IP KVM: Secure, Remote Server Management for Your Distributed IT Infrastructure

As edge growth continues to explode, applications continue to migrate to the cloud, and data center staff are being asked to manage increasingly complex and mission-critical servers with fewer resources. Remote server access is becoming an absolute must for today’s organizations. Remote KVM solutions give your data center team the flexibility to connect multiple users to a large number of devices, regardless of their physical locations. Perhaps even more importantly, IP KVM technology ensures those remote connections are secure through a combination of advanced methods, encryptions, and fine-grained authorizations, affording IT administrators the greatest confidence and peace of mind in managing distributed IT assets.

What Is IP KVM?

Often referred to as KVM over IP, remote KVM over IP, KVM switch over IP, or KVM console over IP, IP KVM essentially refers to a device that offers IP-based remote access to servers and equipment located anywhere in the world. The keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) signals are digitized and then sent over a secure LAN, WAN, or internet connection, allowing a remote user to control one or more servers in another location, at any time.

While the IP KVM switch itself physically resides with the servers to which it is providing connections, users can be anywhere, inside or outside the organization, even halfway around the world. They can manage the remote server as if they were sitting right in front of the device by using a web browser, a virtual network computing (VNC) viewer, or a serial connection for command line access.

How Does IP KVM Enable Secure Remote Management?

With remote KVM over IP capabilities, data center employees can remotely manage numerous servers in another location using in-band or out-of-band access. In-band access uses the local network fabric, such as a LAN/WAN, and offers an immediate secure connection through the enterprise’s network.

Out-of-band access enables IT staff to access network infrastructure when in-band access is prevented for any reason, such as network congestion or an active attack on the network. The interface depends on the device and network setup but may use direct Ethernet connections or the KVM switch or serial over LAN to provide the connection. When networks are down, this secure connectivity speeds problem resolution, allowing teams to get systems back up and running faster, reducing downtime and eliminating the need for costly and inconvenient truck rolls.

Top Four Advantages of IP KVM

In-band or out-of-band, remote KVM over IP solutions provide a reliable and secure way to remotely access and manage IT infrastructure and can enhance or even replace other solutions you currently use, which may not be as secure, flexible, or reliable as you need them to be. In a situation where an IT team is responsible for multiple data centers and branch offices in dispersed geographic locations, IP KVM offers several advantages.

  1. Improves response times and increases IT efficiency and availability. Remote KVM allows data center staff to efficiently work from remote locations. With 55% of organizations using edge computing to bring services closer to their users, this is rapidly becoming necessary for IT teams with increasingly large footprints to cover. A variety of KVM over IP connection options makes it exceptionally simple and convenient for team members to gain access. It’s easy to switch between connected devices and applications, so team members can work with no delays to more quickly resolve issues for users throughout the business.
  1. Decreases truck rolls for thousands in savings. Just one IP KVM switch can prevent a significant number of truck rolls since remote data center staff can use the KVM over IP set-up to complete common tasks such as firmware and software updates or helping another user regain access to the server. In the past, these types of activities have traditionally required IT staff to be on premises. IP KVM is a true remote management solution since it allows for remote server access at the BIOS level. This means technicians can troubleshoot from off site, even when the operating system is down, saving the time, expense, and hassle of dispatching IT staff to remote sites. Vertiv estimates that this type of remote KVM over IP access dramatically reduces truck rolls, which can save up to $10,000 a year per user per site.
  1. Enhances security through fine-grained authorization. A key benefit of KVM over IP is the ability to grant the right sever access to the right users. While a large number of users can have access to a theoretically limitless number of servers at the same time, IP KVM affords the ability to assign the appropriate access rights on a user-by-user basis. By leveraging and enforcing rich business rules and authorizations policies related to time, location, action, role, and various other criteria, a KVM over IP solution can give data center managers greater confidence in their teams’ abilities to serve the business remotely.
  1. Provides the flexibility to grow. With a network based KVM switch, you have the ability to put people and equipment wherever you need them. The solution offers the potential to add a nearly unlimited number of new users and devices in an unlimited number of locations, facilitating the interconnection and management of all your organization’s devices from the enterprise to the edge.

IP KVM Solutions Available From Vertiv

Vertiv offers a wide range of KVM over IP switches designed to improve local and remote server management and increase the performance and efficiency of your critical IT infrastructure.  These KVM over IP solutions vary in the number of ports, users, and features they support. Some of our most popular solutions include:

  • Vertiv™ Avocent® MergePoint Unity™ digital KVM switches include both KVM over IP and serial console management technology to provide IT administrators with a complete remote management solution for the various devices found in data centers and branch offices.
  • Vertiv™ Avocent® ADX Ecosystem combines a series of products to create the fastest and most feature rich KVM experience available. Security and agility are unmatched, enabling the management, monitoring, and control of all IT devices that power a business. The solutions include the Vertiv™ Avocent® ADX MP1000 Management Platform, the Vertiv™ Avocent® ADX Rack Manager RM1048 for a single IP, the Vertiv™ Avocent® ADX IPUHD 4K IP KVM, and the Vertiv™ Avocent® ADX IPIQ IP KVM.


Go online today to learn more or see additional IP KVM solution options.

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