Cyclades used embedded Linux in a keyboard-video-mouse (KVM) with support for server-based authentication and other advanced security standards. The device has been available since September of 2003.
Basically, the AlterPath KVM is a dual-PowerPC embedded system that boots from 16MB of CompactFlash. It has 128MB of RAM, and includes either 16 or 32 Cat5, RJ-45-based KVM ports, enabling users to access 16 or 32 remote computers using their own keyboards, video displays, and mice.
The 1U unit has local keyboard, video, and mouse connections, to support local users. It also supports remote users through Cat5 connections to terminators. An AlterPath KVM/net version is also available, that provides secure Web-based IP access.
According to Cyclades PR Manager Scott VanSickle, using open source software enabled Cyclades to incorporate advanced security features into the AlterPath KVM, due to the wealth of existing open source security applications. “Many KVM devices don't have any integrated security at all,” VanSickle noted.
The AlterPath KVM's security capabilities and features include server-based authentication support for RADIUS, TACACS+, LDAP and Kerberos, user access lists per port, and user access logging.
Open Source software additionally gives users the ability and freedom to customize the device's operation, modifying or adding features as needed, according to Cyclades.
The AlterPath KVM product family
The AlterPath system is available with PS/2, USB, or Sun Microsystems server-side units, which attach to servers with up to 500 feet of Cat5 Ethernet cable.
In September, 2003, Cyclades hired Linux 2.4 kernel maintainer Marcelo Tosatti to “help ensure the newest version of Linux supports Cyclades's extensive family of remote data center management products.”
President John Lima said, “From our first communications cards to launching the world's first Linux-based remote console server, we have remained true to our Open Source foundation.”
Cyclades competitor Avocent Enterprises used embedded Linux in KVM switches available in September of 2000.
Additional details on the Linux-based Cyclades KVM AlterPath are available online.
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