May 5, 2023 - KVM over IP technology securely keeps servers and virtual machines separate from users. Servers used in the broadcast industry can be safely stored in a separate room anywhere in the world and users can access multiple physical and virtual servers remotely via a single keyboard and mouse.
This has evolved to large enterprise KVM systems that span all parts of the broadcast workflow – from outside broadcast (OB) vans allowing remote users located potentially thousands of miles away to operate and control equipment in the truck, to studios and production control rooms through to graphics and post-production – all aiding the efficient and resilient operation of a broadcaster.
There are multiple criteria a broadcaster should look at – often ones specific to their application or workflow. Consider these five factors:
- Vendor track record: An enterprise KVM is often installed for 5-6 years at a site, so it is important to work with a vendor that offers a strong track record of quality, support, and ongoing innovation – all of which Black Box has with its 40 years in operation. The selected vendor must have a good track record today and for tomorrow.
- Diverse product selection that enables the ability to tailor a solution: The selected product solution must be flexible enough to be tailored over time – to new operating modes, new video types. Black Box has the widest portfolio of KVM/AV solutions in the industry, focusing on interoperability between products to deliver on this criteria.
- Support for physical and virtual machines – Using virtual machines is increasing and integration of their support into the heart of the KVM product is important. Users should be able to choose from available VM protocols including RDP, Remote FX, PCoIP, and PCoIP ultra. For virtual machine access, some system receivers require an extra transmitter to connect a VM, adding more devices to the system, while other systems have the required VM clients included inside the receivers' units already. Another consideration is the option for a collaboration of multiple users on the same virtual machine. Commonly, virtual machines connectivity is a one-to-one connection and only one user can access a VM session at a time. However, some systems on the market support system add-ons that give multiple users simultaneous access to the same VM.
- Network bandwidth, security, and operation – The ability to create a resilient, reliable and secure KVM deployment is vital for modern broadcast systems. Look for a solution that conserves bandwidth and has the ability to configure individual video compressions for optimized bandwidth allocation, as well as user authentication including AD (Active Directory) and LDAP.
- Consider the user experience - Users work on multiple systems concurrently. Is switching fast and intuitive enough to allow good productivity? Is the system simple to understand with no learning curve? Can users concentrate on the tasks (not on system usage) and does the system support advanced video processing that allows the users to monitor completion of active jobs while working on another project?
Vendor track record; product breadth; support for physical and virtual machines; network bandwidth, security, and operation; and user experience are the five most important criteria to consider when choosing a KVM system. There are lots of other criteria for specific deployments, but these five will always be in the equation when broadcasters are deciding upon the right KVM system for their needs.