However, for all its benefits, KVM has a number of limitations when placed in the “distributed IT environment” where equipment is dispersed throughout a large building, across a campus or even across the globe. These limitations include:
• Limited configuration flexibility and expandability: Traditional KVM over IP switches come in multi-port configurations (8/16/32, for example). In the branch office environment however, there may only be two servers, leaving some unused ports and increasing the cost-per-port. Or, adding an additional server to an even port count can force administrators to purchase an extra multi-port switch when only a single additional port is required.
• Potential blocked access to critical servers: Typical high-density KVM over IP solutions allow access to a limited number of managed servers at a time. For example a high-end 8-port KVM may only allow one or two servers to be accessed at a time. In a busy IT environment, this could prevent an administrator from performing needed maintenance or service.
• Reliability and access to multiple servers: If access to all 32 servers is through a single Ethernet connection and the switch port fails, access to all 32 servers is lost.
• Need for extra hardware and software: Switch-based KVM over IP solutions may require separate KVM and serial “dongles” to be attached to the server(s). Special client-based software may also be required. And, additional external power supply(s) may be necessary.
• Distance limitation between servers and the KVM switch: KVM over IP switches have a CAT5 cable length distance limitation of approximately 50 to 150 feet between the server and the KVM before the analog signal begins to degrade, limiting the flexibility in a distributed IT environment.