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KVM Switch : Using multiple computers with only one set of mouse, keyboard, and monitor

February 28, 2003
by Chris Pun

Have an old computer or thinking about getting another computer? You don't want to use 4 computers, 4 sets of mouse, and 4 sets of keyboards and you just want to keep things tidy right. Well, we've got a great solution for you, introducitng the KVM Switch!

"In the early 1980's as the computer industry grew, many server rooms and data centers were faced with the problem of having dozens and even hundreds of monitors, keyboards, and mice, taking up valuable rack space, and adding unnecessary heat disbursement issues. They also created server management problems for larger data centers in which technicians had to physically walk to each server they needed to work on.

Who created the 1st KVM switch (Keyboard Video Mouse Switch) is disputed. Actually the very 1st switches would more approximately be called KV switches. As both graphical environments and mice were not common in the early 1980's, the 1st switches only supported keyboard & video switching. The first switching units were very basic A/B type push button switches, grew to hot-key controllable switches, and later added OSD's (On Screen Displays).

Addressing some of these issues, these KVM switching products allow a single user to access multiple CPUs from a single monitor, keyboard, and mouse. In addition to improving server manageability, heat disbursement issues, and the space savings, there was a huge cost savings from not having to purchase a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse for each CPU."*

This it the basic theory/out look of what we've been talking about all along, using one set of monitor, mouse, and keyboard controlling multiple computer units.

The only materials you will require are the KVM Switch and the cables.

The KVM Unit:

On display: Avocent SwitchView DT

The Cables:

Once you've obtained one of these gadgets, everything is just plug and play. KVM is definitely the best solution to maximize room space and keep things tidy!

If you are interested in purchasing KVM switches, you can check out this site, PCMall.com, they have quite a few products from Belkin.

* History from http://www.42u.com/kvm_switch_history.htm

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