IBM simplifies cable management

IBM cut some of the mess in back of server racks last week with the introduction of a technology that reduces the number of cables.

With the new cable-chaining technology, servers in a rack interconnect one to the next with a short cable. The last server in the rack plugs into a management switch that accommodates up to 16 keyboard-video-mouse (KVM) cables. The design allows fan-out of cabling from a switch, allowing up to 256 servers to be connected into a single switch.

The Advanced Connectivity Technology is part of IBM's NetBay KVM products and works with the company's xSeries servers. ACT uses Category 5 unshielded twisted-pair cabling.

The company's NetBay KVM products include rack cabinets, integrated KVM switches and the Remote Console Manager.

ACT is incorporated into the Remote Console Manager, an IP-based product that lets an administrator remotely view and manage server installations and operation.

The Remote Console Manager is a 1U (1.75-inch-high) rack-mounted appliance with 16 Cat 5 input ports, a serial port for firmware updates and a LAN port, which supports remote management from as many as two consoles.

KVM switches have used an earlier technology IBM developed called C2T - Cable Chaining Technology, which allowed up to 42 servers to be interconnected and eliminated as much as 300 feet of cable and six KVM switches. Raritan's Paragon series of KVM switches uses C2T technology.

The Remote Console Manager starts at $1,300. It is expected to be available this month.

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