An anonymous reader asks: "I've been looking for a cost effective (ie, cheap) way to remotely administer several servers running a variety of OS's, and would like to have a solution that would allow for monitoring of the bios on startup, etc (ie, not VNC). The most appealing solution is KVM over IP, which really just means a souped up KVM switch with something like VNC running on it, unfortunately all of the solutions I've been able to find are more expensive than I can justify spending. I've played around a bit with making my own Poor man's KVM over IP; I did this by purchasing a cheap (sub $50) VGA-to-NTSC convertor, then feeding it into a video card with NTSC input (the ATI All-In-Wonder Radion), and then by logging into a machine running Windows Terminal Services I'm able to watch the reboot process. Of course, this doesn't address the mouse/keyboard issue, and the quality isn't all that great. What I'm hoping is that someone else might have a suggestion on how to do this, preferably using Linux and the least hardware necessary. Does anyone have any suggestions or insights on ways to do this?" There are pre-existing solutions, but it seems they are all kind of pricey. Can any of you suggest cheap solutions (at or below $500USD) that could handle a farm of 5-10 machines?
"Here are the three approaches I found:
ViewProxy: They make the most economical for administration of multiple machines (by one person). Their ProxyView device plugs into your KVM just like it was a monitor/mouse/keyboard, and then does all the packetizing magic. Price is about $6k from what I can tell.
eRIC: These are the same guys who make the Rolf (Reboot on Lan), which is pretty cool. They make a card called Eric which replaces your normal video card with their card, which has a built in ethernet connection and allows remote control. The cheapest solution at about $700 but only would allow control of the machine it's installed in.
Avocent: I think the first to introduce the whole KVM over IP solution, they have KVM's with this sort of functionality integrated. Some of their products allow multiple users to multiple machine, which is a neat feature but not needed for my applications. Their units run from $4k on up."