KVM Switches and their common types

While many are familiar with how peripherals such as mice and keyboards may be used to control a single computer, some may not know that such devices can extend control over multiple computers simultaneously. Commonly being relied on for data centers, the simultaneous management of multiple devices can permit a more efficient workflow if the same task needs to be conducted for multiple devices. To make such control possible, a hardware device known as a KVM switch is used.

Prior to the major use of mice in server switching procedures, devices known as Keyboard Video Switches (KVS) were used as keyboard and monitor switching devices. As Microsoft Windows rose in popularity leading into the next century, the mouse and other peripherals became useful tools for a number of applications. The founder of Cybex, Remigius Shatas, developed a switch in 1995 that would include mice as well, establishing the Keyboard, Video and Mouse (KVM) device. In the following years, Universal Serial Bus (USB) technology began to establish itself as the standard for peripheral connections, and as such switching devices have improved as well.

Depending upon one’s needs, there are a number of common KVM devices that may be used, each of which may provide different operational characteristics or capabilities. For computer access and control, single user and multi-user KVM switches are both relied on. The single user KVM device is most optimal for remote offices and small installations. These KVM switches allow for a single individual to access and manage a number of computers simultaneously based on the hardware tools that they are using. Multi-user KVM switches, on the other hand, are for data centers and larger organizations where there are computers and servers that are to be managed by a group of individuals. Depending upon the KVM switches used, such devices may permit around 16 individuals to manage upwards of 64 servers or networking devices.

When considering KVM switches based on the applications that they serve and the technology they contain, such devices then may be separated into analog and digital types. Analog KVM switches are those that feature direct cable connections between computer hardware, switches, and consoles. The cable attachments are often Coax or Cat5 types based on the switch that is used. With digital KVM switches, control is established through IP connections. As such, digital switches may manage devices that are close by on a LAN network or those across the globe. While there must be a computer directly connected to the switch itself, the user controlling the computer does not have to be physically present with digital devices.

If you are in search of various KVM switch technologies and devices, it is important that you first consider compatibility before making a purchasing division. Some may only support specific types of keyboards and mice, while others may be dependent on varying forms of video interfaces. One should also consider compatibility if they have a Windows or Mac based system, as each may need certain types of devices for switching. When a decision has been made and it is time to initiate the purchasing process, there is no better alternative to Purchasing Management 360.

Purchasing Management 360 is a premier supplier of computer hardware and technology, providing customers competitive pricing and rapid lead-times on over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items that we have in stock. Take the time to explore our vast offerings at your leisure, and our team of industry experts are always readily on standby 24/7x365 to assist you through the purchasing process however necessary. Get started today and see why customers choose to steadily rely on Purchasing Management for all their operational needs.


April 11, 2022

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