Monday, February 20, 2012

There is remote access and there is remote KVM access

Savvy IT managers are coming to rely on in-band remote access software apps like RDP, VNC, SSH, and Telnet for the day to day maintenance of their servers and devices. These and other software tools increase productivity, reducing downtime and are reliable, low-cost or free.

But while an in-band remote access solution may be the tool of choice for everyday use, combining remote access software with out-of-band remote KVM over IP access gives you the best of both worlds.

Beyond just running your applications, you need to be able to control critical equipment with a single click, troubleshoot OS and below the-OS BIOS-level issues, turn power off and on, and switch between various servers while working on others all from a single remote location whether or not you have the dreaded “blue screen of death” staring you in the face.

The limitation of in-band-only remote access solutions is that the OS on the target server must be healthy, up and running. If we take RDP, for example, you can’t view, let alone fix, a Windows server that has crashed.

To go beyond the limits of in-band software, hardware devices are required. Combining in-band remote access software with IP KVM switches, give you remote access and power control over your servers - also when things go wrong. And it is the ability to combine the two that makes the difference between a true remote management solution and a more simplistic remote management capability that works only in uptime situations crystal clear.

All too often, the advantages of an out-of-band remote access solution are either brushed aside or considered an add-on that can be addressed “at a later time.” Unfortunately for some IT administrators, the realization of why an out-of-band solution, such as IP KVM is a necessity, not a luxury, comes at their expense in the midst of a computing nightmare.

When you’re faced with downed systems and are in a somewhat helpless state, having a remote KVM over IP access solution that can give you the ability to access, troubleshoot or diagnose a problem and remediate that problem remotely over the Internet, can be the difference between an ordinary workday and one that leaves you anxiously scrambling for answers and wasting precious time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The most popular IP KVM switch?

This micro blog post is about us, Minicom, and we’d like to share some exciting news.

As a KVM over IP vendor, and like any other vendor, our goal and aspiration is one – to satisfy our customers, i.e. the IT admins of the world. So you can imagine how pleasantly surprised (putting it mildly) we were to find out that a leading on-line tech magazine in Germany ranked one of our products as runner up in a list of the 10 most popular IP KVM products, nationwide.

What can be more rewarding than the market saying its word! First place went to Raritan’s one port device, the KX 101 and second place went to Minicom’s 32 port IP KVM switch, the Smart 232 IP.

A closer look shows that our product is the top IP KVM switch on this prestigious list (!), making it the favorite multi-user KVM over IP switch among German IT pros.

The full list (in German) can be found at TechChannel.
More information about the Smart 232IP KVM Switch, can be found HERE

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

When IP KVM becomes POWERful!

There are just certain things in the data center you don't want to hear – and a mission critical server that “locks-up” or fails is one of them. For when this happens, every second of down time counts - and so does the cost! A complete server shutdown is likely a total interruption of business, and the race begins to quickly return a server to operational status without having to waste precious time. Yes, you’re right…This is exactly why you have invested in manageable smart or switched PDUs for your server racks.

As the data center grows smarter, remote power control offers IT pros ways to minimize downtime and shorten remediation time. With a single click of the mouse, you now have the tool to remotely power cycle the crashed server - but it doesn’t necessarily stop here. With full integration between your KVM over IP system and your PDUs in your data center, you will now be able to execute critical power commands during a remote KVM over IP session, while “at the server”.

Today, the right IP KVM solution with an integrated PDU control option offers you some very tangible benefits that you need in order to meet the growing demand of maximum business continuity and server up-time.

First and foremost it allows you to monitor the entire boot process in real-time, from the second you sent the power command. Then it lets you cut response time dramatically by preventing the juggling between the KVM session and the power management application. Third, it can prevent hazardous mistakes of power cycling the wrong server(!), if initial setup was not done properly. Finally the ideal KVM over IP solution should also give you the freedom of choice to obtain the specific brand of PDU that you prefer, thus avoiding any type of vendor lock-in.

So next time you're looking for a powerful KVM over IP switch, remember to check out all your options beforehen!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Cloud computing: the paradise of KVM over IP

As cloud computing becomes more and more accepted and is expanding from the public domain to the private or internal IT environments, the natural question arises “so what does this move mean to KVM over IP technology?”

At first sight one can argue that the answer is “nothing” - the need of an IT admin to control his servers remotely (over IP) from the BIOS level, has been around for over ten years, since networks became the main means of communication between man and machine. In recent years software based remote access applications like RDP and VNC have pushed IP KVM to being the spare wheel of the data center truck. You forget it’s there until the flat tire or server crash – then you better have it handy and full of air and ready to go, otherwise you’re into some deep trouble… Or as we earlier described it, KVM over IP can be viewed as the IT manager’s life insurance.

Servers in a cloud environment are no different than any other server out there. The IT infrastructure is the same, they require the same “looking after” by the IT staff and thus need some kind of IP KVM  technology hooked up to them to be ready when the OS crashes and RDP/VNC are not functional.

At second sight there might be something more. This might refer more to private or internal cloud setups, in which applications provided by the servers to the entire organization go beyond the standard shared e-mail or ERP applications, and include other “local” applications like Windows office for example.

Now, wouldn’t you say that this puts a little more responsibility on those servers NOT to be downed? Because now, every second of down-time directly influences the productivity of multiple workers across the entire organization, who suddenly cannot finish the next presentation, or report or price analysis. We are all accustomed to not receiving emails once in awhile, and while the IT guys work like crazy to get the server up again we continue with our daily tasks, sometimes we even see this as a blessing…   but when it comes to our daily work outside of emails, this is already a whole new ball game that we will do anything to avoid.

So this little extra reliance on servers in the cloud means to IT one thing – double check and make sure that the spare KVM over IP wheel of yours is intact.