bazgow

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Aug 31, 2013
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I have heard there is a tablet device which will display the video output from servers via being plugged in to the servers USB port or maybe VGA/DVI port. The software on the tablet is then supposed to allow the user to interact with the server via the touch screen keyboard etc. The idea is that you can have one of these and plug and play into multiple servers in a datacentre environment, rather than having a bunch of 'laptop' type KVM devices permanently hooked up to each rack. I did see a link to one such device somewhere, but for the life of me can no longer find it, and am struggling to get even close via searching on the web as all that I can turn up is Android tablets which don't seem to be what I am looking for. I want as minimal operating system on it as possible although could use android at a push. Any pointers would be fgratefully received!
 
Solution
Remote Desktop. Easy to setup for Windows, but you can use several products for non-Windows devices also. You don't connect it with USB though, just needs to be on the same network as the computer you are connecting to. http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/five-apps/five-remote-access-tools-for-android/

I don't know of anything that turns a tablet into a keyboard/mouse thing.
I'm not sure that this can be done in hardware. After all, you would need one USB port per server.

What I have seen is applications that you install on both the tablet and the PC, that allow the tablet to remote-control the server. The tablet will display a small version of the server's screen and allow you to mouse around, click, type input, and otherwise control the PC. What kind of servers are you talking about?

EDIT: Joe describes one such app here: http://www.tomshardware.com/faq/id-1773121/view-desktop-android-device.html
 

jpishgar

VP, Global Community
Jan 5, 2010
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I've seen Symphony Violin storage management for servers and data centers via tablet, but haven't seen a mobile KVM yet. That would be an interesting item to cover for Tom's IT Pro, I'd think. If you find it again, please let us know. :)

-JP
 

bazgow

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Aug 31, 2013
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Thanks for the responses, but I think maybe I overcomplicated things in my explanation. I am looking for a tablet style device that outputs only what would be shown if I hooked up a vga monitor to a server. The device should do this and allow input from the device to control the server much in the same way a conventional KVM system would do via keyboard/mouse. I do not need it hooked up to multiple servers at once, I would instead like to plug it into whichever server I wish to manage at any given time, offering more advanced flexibility than a traditional KVM which would be hard wired to specific servers. Incase it matters, the servers are mainly IBM servers, 3650s etc but I imagine if such a device does exist, and can be connected via USB, then it'd work with most servers.

Ideally, I am not looking for some RDesktop type program to be run on a server and the device, not all the servers run Microsoft products, some run Linux and other operating systems, I am therefore looking for a one size fits all device.

Simply, it needs to accept a display input and be able to send back key presses and perhaps cursor manipulation commands if possible. Perhaps I have been misinformed and it doesn't exist, but I sincerely hope it does!
 
Remote Desktop. Easy to setup for Windows, but you can use several products for non-Windows devices also. You don't connect it with USB though, just needs to be on the same network as the computer you are connecting to. http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/five-apps/five-remote-access-tools-for-android/

I don't know of anything that turns a tablet into a keyboard/mouse thing.
 
Solution

bazgow

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Aug 31, 2013
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Thanks for the feedback, but RDesktop isn't really the answer I was searching for as our networks are varied and no one machine can connect to all of the servers because of how the firewalls and switches need to be configured so I would need to use various machines to enable me to RDesktop to each server. Plugging in direct is the best way for me, but it just seems a waste having to KVM up every server and keep buying KVMs for new racks... its so inflexible. I figured a very basic display output with touchscreen and way of inputting to the server from that would be a cracking way forward... one device to use on any server... plug n play. No cables, no mess, no fuss, freeing up rack space and power. Looks like perhaps I was dreaming the model I thought I found though!

 

wjlambert

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Jan 24, 2014
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I believe that the OP and I are on the same path. I too seek a tablet or netbook that will take the VGA output from a rack-mounted server and offer a UI with keyboard and mouse.

So far I've tried hacking a netbook to this purpose, by removing the main-board and replacing it with an LCD, keyboard, and mouse driver boards. The device is a mess, but it works at the very lease. I still have to use a crash cart for now, but the plan was to build a single board with all three functions.

But it dawned on me that I have several tablets, why not use a VGA to micro USB cable, then write an app that would interpret the hardware. This tablet idea is still all ethereal, but it might just be doable (if it has not already been done).