KVM-over-IP recommendations?

Hi All,

I’m in the process of looking for a KVM-over-IP for a PC server. I need this OOB solution for when I do something stupid like, type “sudo poweroff” instead of “sudo reboot” or when I get a kernel panic and cannot remotely SSH into the box to reboot. For the first scenario, I cannot reliably count on sending WOL magic packets even if it’s enabled in the system BIOS. It seems to be hit or miss.

I saw a product by a company called Raritan which seems to fit the bill. Dominion® KX IV-101. But it’s a bit pricey.

I was wondering if anyone might have a less expensive alternative or if it’s worth the price. Thanks in advance for any help, comments, suggestions, etc.


If it’s a real serverboard you might be lucky there’s IPMI access directly in the system.

We bought a couple of Raritan KX2 several years ago, and they have been stable and functioning when we needed them - even though they’re EOL long time ago.
I like the fact that the new models use html5 and not the beeep java-client we have in ours.

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Raritan makes good solid stuff. But would it be cheaper to get an IP controlled power switch?

I agree, if it is a real server board, then IPMI, iDRAC, whatever HP calls theirs, etc. is a nice option. Generally speaking, if the unit has power, you can force reboot and have console (KVM) through the IPMI interface.

If you go with the Raritan, I would wire that NO (normally open) contact to the power or reset switch in the server. That way you have a power button to bring it back up, or possibly force it off if needed. You can just parallel the wires with the chassis power switch, which should also be an NO switch.

I ended up down a rabbit hole a few weeks ago looking for IPKVM solutions and found a load of Raspberry Pi related projects. I forget the exact names (I have a tab open on a browser on a machine somewhere) but I found a couple that looked promising.

Worth a google for Raspberry Pi KVM

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Might have been a YouTube video

There was a recent Youtube video on the subject, something like $200 for all the parts because it uses a “strange” custom HDMI to CSI interface. Said to be open source but there is a paid version with some extra options.

I’m kind of thinking of one to put on the output of my KVM switch, I have a couple of machines where the software is poorly written and RDP into them breaks the services requiring a reboot. Fine when reboot is the end result like updates, but not fine when you need other work. Just for clarity, this software requires that an ADMIN level user is logged in to operate. This might have been fine in Server 2000 or NT 4 days, but no excuse in Server 2019 days. And yes, even RDP into the currently logged on user session still breaks the services.

@Greg_E TinyPilot is what you are referring to. https://tinypilotkvm.com/

I’ve had one for about 2 weeks. I bought the full kit ($300 plus a bit more for the VGA->HDMI adapter). I really like it! It’s a bit pricey, but not compared to other KVM solutions. I installed Zerotier on it so I can get into it from wherever it is, no matter the network. I’m going to ship this one out to a customer where I need to reinstall Windows on a bunch of machines, and I’ll just have the customer move it from machine to machine. Way easier than walking them through BIOS settings, etc…

Tinypilot does not yet do power management, and when it does, it will be via a controlled power outlet. Not ideal. But could work (if machines are set to power on when power is lost…).

I want to play with PiKVM as well, which is compatible with the TinyPilot hardware from what I understand.

It is possible to do TinyPilot much cheaper by buying all the parts yourself. I chose not to go that route because I wanted to get up and running quickly. And, when shipping this thing out to customers I don’t want the thing to look janky (especially because I’ll take a deposit to ship the hardware). The case with the full kit really is nice.

Here’s the video Craft Computing did on it: https://youtu.be/CyEpshm16HY

That’s the recent video I watched, he also purchased the complete thing because he wanted to see the whole package.

The only real downside is that they had to use a funny power adapter scheme. I think I might have put a connector on the header pins for power and typical barrel jack on the side of the case. But the USB power and keyboard splitter thing seems to work.

The power splitter thing isn’t too weird. Makes sense - the USB A ports on Pi are looking for devies, the USB A ports on the PC you’re wanting to remote into are looking for devices. I guess USB C can do the opposite and BE a device that the PC sees as a keyboard and mouse. But it’s also where the Pi gets its power. And the PC’s USB ports are not powerful enough to provide power to the Pi. Hence the USB C splitter thing that separates power and data. I’m with you, would be cool if power could come in separately to pins on the Pi directly. The added advantage, though, is a power switch for the Pi.

Attached is the Tinypilot connected to a test machine in my office.

Lantronix Spider is a good option too.

@FredFerrell I’ve seen those and wondered. How do you get to them remotely? Port forwards? Do you need hardware or a client for access?

They get an IP via DHCP and you use a web interface. From there you can launch a console session via Java.

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I had a Lantronix print server x a few years ago. Quite liked it but never used any of their other gear.

I think I saw another review of the Tiny Pilot where the guy used a HDMI to USB adaptor but I’m struggling to remember now! Too many things to look at. I’ve since watched the CC video as well.

I have used Startech KVM switches and a couple of those had VNC, that said, the VNC “burned out” early and would lock up the switch when ethernet was connected. Now I either RDP or use IPMI, on the things that can’t do either of those, I walk into the room and put my hands on it.

Startech no longer makes any of these KVM switches with VNC, everything seems to b an individual module you hang on the back of each server, and that gets up into Raritan price ranges really fast. With the newer IPMI I don’t much care, except for the times the “console or KVM” connection doesn’t work, which seems fairly often lately, even on my Supermicro X10 servers, the X9 and older weren’t very good to begin with.