What is your KVM brand of choice?

Phishfry

Son of Beastie

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#1
I am building out my home lab and I had to buy a KVM for it and I already use a Belkin Omniview PRO2 - 8 port version.
So I bought another. I did not realize they had a bad capacitor issue and bought used from ebay. First one had white lines in the display and I found the bad cap issue and a resulting fix.
https://www.instructables.com/id/Fixing-white-streaking-of-Belkin-omniview-pro2-KVM/
Mine had the caps in place(read comments above) but I did not care to unsolder parts so I bought another labeled as 'tested'.
Turns out it had the exact same white streaking. Ugh.
So on a whim I see a 16 port Belkin Onmiview PRO2. $20 and nearby so quick shipping.
Probably more than I need but I am up to 6 ports used already so I buy it hoping it is built better. Ho-ray, It works.
So I have $30+$30+$20 into a used Belkin KVM that I know had crappy capacitors used.
I just like that it has PS/2 and USB plus VGA. With 16 Ports I can tie in some of my Arm boards via HDMI to VGA adapters.

Finding a KVM with both HDMI and VGA seems tough. For the money they ask for new KVM I am expecting flexibility.

Many KVM's use a DB15 connector only with special cables. Newer yet is the RJ45 jacks that many modern KVM's use.
I think these RJ45 units also require special cables.
These newer rackmount KVM units cost a pretty penny.

Belkin is cheezy but it is what I use and like. What about you? I still have my Y2K era PS/2 and VGA Avocet/Outlook 8 port.
 

Bobi B.

Well-Known Member

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#2
PS/2 connectors are pretty scarce on current motherboards. We (and our customers) tend to buy IPMI-enabled SuperMicro motherboards, where you get remote administration with zero additional fees.
 

gkontos

Daemon

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Messages: 2,137

#3
At work we use Spider KVM from Lantronix when we want to manage a server that has a broken IPMI. To overcome the Java issues, I have a very old version of Ubuntu in a VirtualBox VM that does the work.
 
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Phishfry

Phishfry

Son of Beastie

Thanks: 1,110
Messages: 3,190

#4
So IPMI and BMC with Java KVM has replaced old school KVM.

I am researching serial console servers now like the Digi, Moxa and Perle.

Planning on adding either a Serial Terminal Server or build my own. Looking at RocketPort cards.
 
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Bobi B.

Well-Known Member

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#5
You can get a Raspberry Pi, a powered USB hub and a handful of USB-to-serial adapters to build your own. Also I believe the serial-over-LAN part from IPMI might work with no Java, but using sysutils/ipmitool.
 

gkontos

Daemon

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Messages: 2,137

#6
You can get a Raspberry Pi, a powered USB hub and a handful of USB-to-serial adapters to build your own. Also I believe the serial-over-LAN part from IPMI might work with no Java, but using sysutils/ipmitool.
Yes, it does work from FreeBSD and Linux but I have not been able to set it up properly on my Mac.
 

Datapanic

Well-Known Member

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Messages: 321

#9
I have an 8-port Rose Electronics ServeView Pro. There are different cables for it so that you can have all kinds of computers connected to it. I have several VGA+PS2->usb and a Sun Video + USB for my old Sun stuff. I bought it new about 10 years ago and it's still going. It was very expensive then, but you can find them and the cables on eBay pretty cheap now a days.

I can also go up to 1920x1200x32 resolution.
 

msplsh

New Member

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Messages: 10

#10
Belkin is cheezy but it is what I use and like
I used this same series of KVM and it served well for many years until I grew beyond the VGA limitations. They're good KVMs and VERY fast switching, which is really the most important part of the KVM, assuming that simply passing the signals correctly is table stakes. I really miss double tapping that Scroll Lock key.

The problem with current KVMs is DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort's EDID. In order for the display and adapter to not freak out and try and negotiate resolutions when you switch computers, you need the KVM to emulate this connection once it switches and lie to the computer about the display. Gefen used to make some devices that would do this, but they weren't built into their KVM products. They planned on making a new one that did, but then they got bought out. I refuse to buy anything that works worse than my old Belkin, so I just use input switching and a USB switch. EDID Emulation is more difficult to do and resolutions are much higher bandwidth than they used to be, so any KVM implementing it would be more expensive than just being dumb, and normal consumers don't know the difference or don't care. This makes it incredibly hard for such a product to exist.

Smart-AVI appears to make some equipment that does this, but it's useless to me because it's HDMI. ConnectPro also seems to make some promising equipment, but it's currently unavailable.

The other problem with modern KVMs is that USB is so complicated now, as you could potentially hang a storage device off the keyboard hub, and you can't just emulate that. Look at Emulated USB vs DDM.

According to my notes from last July 2018, Black Box, IOGear and StarTech's stuff don't do EDID. StarTech has some DDM switches, but they seem to have a low resolution. Aten's specs were too obtuse to be sure.
 

alexseitsinger

Member

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Messages: 81

#11
I use an older 8-port Dell KVM switch. I've had it for a while now, since I bought it used on eBay. It only has PS-2 and VGA ports, but it does it's job well. I find it important to have a KVM switch so I can easily switch between machines that I don't want to run SSH on. I'm currently using four of the eight ports, with one of them used for debugging random machines at a test bench. I have used other switches, like a Belkin 2-port one. However, I found it to slightly degrade the performance of the hardware connected. It caused my mouse to temporarily lag/freeze here and there.
 
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