KVM Switch

Massimiliano Fatica fatica at ctr-sgi1.stanford.edu
Fri May 11 14:46:58 PDT 2001

You can get a Belkin Omniview Pro 16 ports (that can be cascaded up to
256 ports)
for around $450-500.
It is keyboard switchable, rack mountable and works  with Linux.
We are using 3 of them in our cluster and they work very well.

There is also an 8 port model for $300.


"Robert G. Brown" wrote:
> On Fri, 11 May 2001, Raghubhushan Pasupathy wrote:
> > Folks,
> >
> > I am looking to buy a KVM switch for an 8-node(16 processor) Beowulf
> > Cluster. Can anyone give me some directions on this since I am completely
> > lost. What specs, brand etc. do you suggest?
> Why?  KVM's tend to be very expensive (I know, I have a Raritan which is
> an excellent choice and even keyboard-switchable BUT which costs a whole
> lot -- good KVM's can cost $100 per port or even more).  I also have a
> really cheapo four position mechanical KVM switch that works for
> keyboard and video but cannot switch PS2 mice.  It degrades video
> quality a bit but is fine for my simple home beowulf, where I have two
> or three systems that do a bit of server stuff and hence need a console.
> Nowadays a cluster node can run anywhere from totally headless (Scyld, I
> believe, is happy enough with no head at all), headless but a serial
> port console (a VERY cheap option that is probably adequate for
> debugging a dying boot and which can be switched with a cheap serial
> switch or managed via a still not very expensive serial port server),
> headless but with a cheap video card that one plugs into a monitor one
> time (to set the bios and monitor the original install) and then never
> again, headed but no X (X plus a GUI is quite expensive in memory and
> moderately expensive in wasted CPU), and headed running X.  I now have a
> $3000 KVM switch that is more useful for switching between servers
> (where one really does sometimes need access to a console) than between
> beowulf nodes, which one generally accesses over the net anyway.
> I personally generally go with cheap S3 cards (or any sort of onboard
> video if the motherboard happens to have it) and no X just to make it a
> bit faster to set up the systems and debug them if/when they break.  The
> one hassle of running a system with no video card at all is that one
> often has to put one in long enough to set up the bios, in particular to
> tell the bios to run without a video card without complaining (which
> most BIOS's do these days if you ask nicely).  Is the time saved worth
> the $30 the card costs per system?  Don't know, but it's close...
>    rgb
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Dr. Massimiliano Fatica
Center for Turbulence Research 
Stanford University
Ph:  650-723-9602 Fax: 650-723-9617

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