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KVM Switches
Technology Overviews

ServSwitch KVM Switches

The Ultimate in Control, organisation, and efficiency.

What is a ServSwitch?
ServSwitch™ is a family of advanced electronic KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) switches from Black Box. A ServSwitch enables you to access two or more computers using only one keyboard, monitor and mouse.

With a ServSwitch you can cnetralise the control of your server resources. You can reduce time-consuming visits to the comms room - a room that's invariably located far way from the day-to-day work area. What's more, by providing network administration staff with the ability to access and maintain servers from the comfort of their desks, you can increase productivity and introduce far higher levels of comms-room security than were previously possible.

With the advent of KVM over IP you can even provide secure 24/7 access to your servers from anywhere in the world!

With any Black Box ServSwitch you can:

  • Access all your CPUs and servers with only one keyboard, monitor, and mouse.
  • Save time by centralising control of your computers.

  • Save space by 70% or more - monitors are bulky and keyboards and mice take up a lot of space, which you can't afford to lose.
  • Save money by reducing the number of keyboards, monitors, and mice you need and slashing the energy costs to cool your server rooms.
  • Manage multiple servers from outside your network without using bandwidth or interfering with network traffic.

Typical ServSwitch Applications:

  • Organise server farms
  • Manage Comms rooms
  • Reduce desktop clutter
  • Access multiple data-gathering laboratory computers
  • Use one keyboard, monitor and mouse for both Mac® and a PC
  • Monitor manufacturing flow right from your desk
  • And many, many more!

The Before and After photos above illustrate how much space and, in turn, expense that just one ServSwitch can save in an eight-server PC application. Advanced KVM switches evolved out of the need for organization and control. Five years ago, even in a large business, a data centre might have had six or seven servers. Today, that number might be more than 1000.

Desktop ServSwitches
Desktop ServSwitches are small (2-8 CPU) KVM switches that allow a single user to access more than 1 CPU from just one keyboard monitor and mouse. An increasing variety of these space-saving and cost effective devices are now available to suit a huge range of applications. Multi-platform Desktop ServSwitches allow users to access PCs, Mac® and Sun®s all from one KVM station; perfect

for programmers or administrators that need to work with multiple operating systems. Dual and Quad head Desktop switches are ideal for Mulit-head applications and DVI Desktop Switches can be used where high end DVI video cards and flat-panel displays are necessary.

To find out which Desktop KVM Switch is right for you, call Black Box technical support at 0811/5541-110 or e-mail Take a closer look and browse the selection of Desktop ServSwitches in our online catalogue.

Single-User Rackmount ServSwitches
Most medium and large companies have comms rooms with rack-mounted servers running business systems. Adding a ServSwitch to the server rack gives the administrator access to all the servers from one KVM station. This sort of switch is also ideal for administering racks of servers in server farms. Having one monitor per server would be impractical; a ServSwitch will give you hardware level CLI and GUI access you require.

Rackmount ServSwitches usually have an on screen display so that servers can be named and accessed via a server list rather than by port number. They also often have security features such as passwords and user access lists and can be cascaded together to increase capacity. Single user rackmount ServSwitches are available for PC only as well as Multi-platform environments and some are even able to support serial devices allowing the management of servers and network devices all from one KVM.

To find out which Single-User Rackmount KVM Switch is right for you call Black Box techincal support at 0811/5541-110 or e-mail Take a look at our range of Single-User Rackmount ServSwitches in our online catalogue.

Multi-User ServSwitches
Reducing the number of KVM stations you have cluttering up your server room is great but sometimes more than one administrator will need to look at a server at the same time - sometimes a whole team of individuals will need simultaneous access to a ServSwitch system. Multi-User ServSwitches allow 2 or more users to access servers in the switch system simultaneously. Like Single-User Rackmount Switches, Multi-User ServSwitches usually

have an on screen display to make access to servers and administration of the switch system easy. They also often support multiple hardware platforms and can be cascaded for ease of expansion. The number of users that can simultaneously use a ServSwitch system is limited by the number of video paths available in the
switch matrix. For this reason it is essential to plan ahead when specifying your switch solution. If you order a single-user KVM switch now you can easily add more CPUs by cascading another switch to the system later but additional simultaneous users can not be added in this way.

To find out which Multi-head KVM Switch is right for you call Black Box technical support at 0811/5541-110 or e-mail Take a closer look at our range of Multi-User ServSwitches.

CAT5 ServSwitches
A recent development in ServSwitch technology has been the intergration of CAT5 technology into higher end ServSwitch solutions.

CAT5 KVM extenders have been available for some time and are often added to ServSwitch solutions to move KVM stations out of the server room. This increases server room security and allows users to work in comfortable and convenient locations.

Traditional ServSwitches use proprietary cable sor VGA and PS2 cable to connect CPUs and KVM stations to the switch. While giving excellent preformance, these are limited in length and are thicker and more expensive than CAT5 cables.

CAT5 cables are very inexpensive, easy to install and are often already in place. Switches utlising this technology are slim-line high-density devices that use up very little rack space and are quick to install. CAT5 KVM switches are available for single-user and multi-user applications and are available with Multi-platform and serial support.

To find out which CAT5 KVM switch is right for you call Black Box technical support at 0811/5541-110 or e-mail To find out more about our CAT5 ServSwitches have a look at our online catalogue.

KVM over IP is the new buzz word in KVM offering you the ability to access your servers securely from anywhere! Software like PC anywhere and VNC viewer has been available for years allowing users to access CPUs over IP either using the local network, WAN link or the internet. The problem with this software is that it does not allow BIOS level access to the system. Hardware products that

allow access to ServSwitches over IP solve this problem giving users flexible access at a very low level. In addition, no software need be loaded onto the managed CPUs. By adding IP connectivity to your ServSwitch solution or by selecting a ServSwitch with built-in IP connectivity you can ensure secure 24/7 access to your mission critical systems from anywhere in the world.

To find out which KVM over IP solution is right for you call Black Box technical support at 0811/5541-110 or e-mail To see our KVM over IP ServSwitches in more detail have a look at our online catalogue.

Secure KVM switching for networks with multiple security classifications
With a TEMPEST-approved* BLACK BOX® ServSwitch Secure (with USB), you can switch between networks with multiple security classifications - and be assured that snoopers are being kept away from your data.

  • Manage classified and unclassified networks from the same keyboard, monitor, and mouse.
  • A host of security features - including port isolation, DVI support, and unidirectional signaling.
  • Support for USB CPUs with DVI-I video in two- or four-port models.

TEMPEST-approved BLACK BOX® ServSwitch KVM switches are ideal for government agencies, corporations, and many other organizations with a strong need for reliable security and networks with multiple security classifications.
With ServSwitch Secure (with USB), there is no way to access a classified CPU from any other attached CPU, classified or unclassified. And there is no way to access one network from the other.

Plus, you get all the benefits of KVM switching. Save time by not having to run back and forth between secured and unsecured workstations. Save space on your desktop by using just one keyboard, monitor, and mouse. And because you only need one keyboard, monitor, and mouse, you save money.

* NSA tested and TEMPEST-approved for and by the U.S. Air Force. Other agencies under review for approval.

ServSwitch Solution from Black Box
Whatever your ServSwitch requirement, from a small desktop application to a multi-chassis enterprise ServSwitch solution, Black Box will make it easy for you. From conception to installation, we offer a superior service and expert technical support.

To talk to Tech Support, please call us at 0811/5541-0 or use our free of charge Callback Service.

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