Belkin KVM technologies for small and medium businesses

Small and medium – sized businesses (SMB-Small / Middle Business) are currently the most profitable consumers of IT solutions. Today, there are more than 78 million small businesses in the world (turnover up to 10 million euros). The approximate number of medium-sized businesses is 614 thousand (turnover up to 100 million euros). And these figures are constantly growing (9-14% per year), which is not true for large businesses, where the growth is only 3-4% per year. In this situation, computer equipment manufacturers adapt to the current conditions and implement solutions that are optimal for the promising SMB market.

KVM equipment and related accessories supplied to the Russian market allow you to build solutions of any level of complexity — for small offices, enterprise server rooms, and data centers. KVM switches allow you to connect multiple computers or servers to a single keyboard, monitor, and mouse, without requiring any complex software settings or additional hardware.

The Russian market includes KVM switches from such manufacturers as Avocent, Aten International ( Aten, Altusen), Adder, Acme, AESP ( SignaMax), Belkin, Cyclades, Gefen, D-Link, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Planet, Raritan, Rextron Technology, Rose Electronics, TRENDnet and a number of others. In other words, KVM products of all price segments are presented.

And yet, in our opinion, KVM equipment is not given enough attention on the Russian market. This group of products has not yet become as widespread as in the West, and only a few modern companies use their advantages. Hence the lack of a sufficient number of specialists in this class of equipment, which in turn hinders the introduction of technology to the Russian market. Vicious circle...

In these conditions, it is difficult for the consumer to find the right equipment that can perform all the tasks set, while having the optimal price. The solution to this problem was taken over by Mototelecom, which created an Internet portal in 2003 where you can not only buy a KVM switch, but also get advice on equipment selection, find out the latest news and trends in the KVM equipment market. Specialists they are one of the few who are well-versed in the entire variety of KVM switches, know the advantages and disadvantages of any of the devices in practice, and have extensive experience in building solutions of various levels of complexity based on KVM technologies.

Let's take a closer look at KVM equipment for small and medium-sized businesses.

Manufacturers often pide equipment into solutions for the SOHO market (home users) and for businesses. Until recently, there was no separate hardware category for the SMB market. Companies were forced to either purchase SOHO devices, which often limits capabilities, or enterprise-level KVM switches, in which case the firm was forced to overpay for benefits that would not be used. In recent years, manufacturers have revised their positions and directed their efforts to the small and medium-sized business sector.

Let's try to evaluate the KVM switches that the modern SMB market chooses. For an overview, let's take a few of the most popular enterprise-level analogs that have approximately similar characteristics-Avocent, HP, and Belkin. All three manufacturers offer solutions for the top price and quality segment.

Avocent AutoView 400 1x8

Avocent's AutoView 400 1x8 KVM switch allows a single user to control up to 8 servers while supporting PC, Sun, and USB platforms. The maximum distance of the device from the servers is 500 ft (152 meters). Avocent AutoView 400 supports video resolutions up to [email protected] at distances up to 10 ft (3.05 m), as well as video formats VGA, SVGA, XGA and XGA-II. The device itself is 1U in size and can be installed in a server rack.

Avocent Auto View KVM switches are equipped with the On-Screen Display program, which is used to manage switches, assign names to servers, organize queues, and restrict user access to workstations. Thanks to the Keep Alive feature, all devices ensure reliable and stable operation of servers and computers, even in the event of network failures.

HP Server Console Switch 1x8

With the HP Server Console Switch 1x8 KVM switch, the system administrator can control up to 8 servers simultaneously. HP KVM supports PS/2, USB, and Sun systems. This device allows you to control computers and servers up to 100 ft (30.5 m) away.

HP Server Console Switch 1x8

HP's KVM is also equipped with an On-Screen Display (OSD) program that displays system information on the console monitor: the name of the selected server, status, power-on data, and configuration menu. The maximum supported video resolution at a distance of up to 50 ft (15.2 m) is [email protected]

The Keep Alive function ensures reliable and stable operation of servers connected to KVM. The switch also provides password protection against unauthorized access.

Belkin OmniView Quad-Bus CAT5 1x16

The Belkin OmniView Quad-Bus KVM switch allows you to control up to 16 servers from a single console, with the ability to expand to control 256 servers from 4 consoles. The switch allows users to control servers from up to 304.8 m (1000 ft) away from the KVM switch, thanks to CAT5 technology.

The built-in powerful graphical on-Screen Display IntelliView simplifies server management by allowing you to assign an inpidual name to each server in the entire system. You can also group computers together. The maximum video resolution at a distance of up to 200 ft (61 m) is [email protected] Hz.

The Belkin device, like its Avocent and HP counterparts, is equipped with the Keep Alive function. Provides support for PS/2 servers.

Conveniently located buttons allow you to select the desired computer directly from the front panel of the KVM switch. Active servers are displayed on the interactive front panel, and if the KVM switches work in a stack, the seven-segment display shows the Bank number, allowing you to select the desired Bank and computer directly from the front panel.

Table: comparison of KVM switches

KVM-switch comparison

AutoView 400 Server Console Switch OmniView Quad-Bus CAT5 OmniView SMB CAT5
Vendor Avocent HP Belkin Belkin
Model AV1400-001 336044-B21 F1DW116C F1DP108A
Ports 1x8 1x8 1x16 1x8
Scalability 256 256 256 256
Max. users number 1 1 1 1
Max distance, m

152 30.5 304.8 30.5
Supported ports

PS/2, USB, Sun PS/2, USB, Sun PS/2 PS/2, USB, Sun
Maximum resolution 1600x1200 @75 hz up to 10 ft 1280x1024 @75 hz up to 50 ft 2048x1536 @75 Hz up to 200 ft 1600x1200 @75 Hz up to 50 ft
Keep Alive Yes Yes Yes Yes

So, all the above KVM switches support CAT5 technology, have a graphical On-Screen Display and the Keep Alive function.

Unlike the others, Belkin OmniView Quad-Bus makes it possible to remove computers from KVM up to 304.8 m (Avocent - up to 152 m, and HP-up to 30.5 m), while it has the highest maximum [email protected] Hz. The main drawback of Belkin is that it only supports PS/2 servers, while Avocent and HP also support USB and Sun.

The Belkin KVM switch, the only one of the presented analogs, allows you to control from the front panel of the KVM switch. At the same time, Belkin gives the largest warranty – 5 years, while HP – 3, and Avocent – 2 years.

But there is one "BUT". Devices with this performance are quite expensive.

The question arises : does a small enterprise need such high performance indicators in KVM and is it ready to pay for them? Is this the reason why the Russian market of KVM equipment in the segment of small and medium-sized businesses is not actively developing?

Many people solve this problem by choosing KVM switches from the lower valuable segment. But this choice can hardly be considered correct. First, such devices have low quality characteristics (for example, video transmission). Second, and most important, is the unreliability and fragility of these devices.

Belkin set out to solve this problem by developing and releasing a new series of KVM switches, the Belkin OmniView SMB CAT5, in January 2006. The idea behind the new series is to reduce the costs that the SMB client makes by choosing a large enterprise-level KVM. This series is based on the high-performance OmniView Quad-Bus KVM Switch with CAT5 series discussed above.

Belkin OmniView Quad-Bus KVM Switch with CAT5

Many of the features and capabilities of the enterprise-level series are preserved, but there are also some truncations that just reduce the cost of the switch, making it more affordable for small companies.

Belkin OmniView SMB CAT5 supports a distance of approximately 30 meters, which is quite enough for medium and small businesses. At the same time, CAT5 technology allows you to avoid confusion of wires. The maximum video resolution was slightly reduced – [email protected] to 15.2 m, but it is still larger than the HP and Avocent reviewed. Another difference is that KVM Belkin SMB has a text menu, not a graphical one, as in enterprise-level models. however, it is quite convenient.

But there are also improvements – unlike the Belkin OmniView Quad-Bus CAT5, the SMB series supports not only PS/2 systems, but also USB and Sun.

From its progenitor, the Belkin OmniView SMB CAT5 also retains convenient buttons-switches on the front panel of the KVM, allowing you to quickly select the desired computer. Given that medium-sized and small firms have a small fleet of computers, this distinctive feature of Belkin is particularly valuable.

It is also important that the new OmniView SMB CAT5 series KVM switches are backward compatible with the previous Belkin series, which will allow companies that have Belkin KVM equipment in their fleet to increase it at a lower cost. And most importantly, the main task has been solved-to make KVM solutions more accessible to the SMB market. The price of new devices is two times lower than the considered analogues. Belkin OmniView SMB CAT5 KVM switch tested by experts it is recommended for small and medium-sized enterprises.

As in many other industries, competition in the KVM equipment market is becoming more intense with the emergence of new manufacturers and with increasing segmentation of the market, depending on the needs of consumers. Belkin is one of the first companies to focus on the benefits of medium and small businesses. Undoubtedly, this innovation from Belkin will accelerate the development of the KVM equipment market in the SMB sector, and we will soon expect a response from our nearest competitors.

Ksenia Sergeeva

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