Test Center review: An IP KVM for the little guy
The AdderView CATxIP 1000 packs just enough punch at a sweet price for SMBs and remote officesFollow @infoworld
All major setup functions of the AdderView are performed on the physical console, eliminating the hassle of pulling out my handy USB-to-serial dongle. During setup, I noticed a couple of oddities. First, the USB ports are device-specific: Plugging a mouse into the keyboard port or vice versa won't work. I wouldn’t think that USB devices would be so particular. Second, the Ethernet port is on the front of the AdderView, which doesn't make much sense if you plan on racking these units. It would be better to have everything on the back -- at least from my datacenter-centric view of the world.
Notably, there is a serial option port, which Adder suggests using to set up a daisy-chained line of controllable power boxes. With only two dipswitches to control addressing of the boxes in the chain, however, you're limited to a maximum of four controlled power boxes. I’m not sure if using DB9 cables for daisy-chaining is a good thing or bad, but seems odd when RJ-45s are in place for everything else.
The tricky parts
From a management perspective, as mentioned, Adder doesn't offer the single-click convenience that you'll find in pricier systems. Still, you don't lose access to management functionality entirely: Just open up a Telnet window to get at iLo, DRAC, or IPMI service processes. You'll want to take good notes, however, as to which address is which. To the big boys' credit, making these additional management pieces available via a simple right-click removes the "oops" factor of typing in the incorrect service processor address and rebooting the wrong machine.
AdderView offers a particularly clever trick: You can control a collection of dual-headed computers by tying two KVM units together via their serial-option ports, then sending a CAM from each KVM to each video port on the computer. The trick does requires that you have two KVMs for each of your dual-headed video connections. The benefit here is that you don’t have to pay for an extra console video port if you don’t want to, but you have the option to add it later without the need to trade in the old unit. I would like to see a model in Adder's lineup offers DVI instead of analog video, especially considering that DVI has replaced VGA for most multiheaded setups.
The AdderView CATx1000 IP is a low-cost, no-frills IP KVM that simply does its job without any fuss. Thanks to VNC, even a branch office can have remote access to their servers, right down to making BIOS changes and watching for errors as systems boots up. It can't compete with enterprise-oriented IP KVMs in terms of scalability or easy access to management tools -- but it's targeted at SMBs, not large companies, and it's priced accordingly.