The first thing to do is clear the air as to what we mean by Rack mount Monitor. Though it can be used to describe any display that can be mounted into a server rack, for the purposes of this discussion, it will be confined specifically to a LCD display and keyboard combination that is fitted into a 1U or 2U rackmount enclosure. These displays slide out of the enclosure and open up to allow a user to manage other equipment in the server rack.
1. What type of rack will the monitor be installed in?
There are two prevailing types of server racks and what type of rack is used will often depend on where the rack is being installed. The most common racks are 4-post server racks. They are found nearly everywhere that servers and related equipment are installed including as mobile carts for test equipment in different indoor and outdoor environments as well as in vehicles. The second type of rack is a 2-post rack, which can be found in all of the same locations as a 4-post rack, but are most commonly located in telecomm closets and other areas where space is at a premium.
2. What is the available Rack Depth?
Most server racks will range in depth from 19 inches up to 29 inches depending upon the type of equipment being used. For shallower depth installations or where a 2-post rack is used; a shallow depth or Short Depth Rackmount Monitor will be necessary. Because of the loss in depth and depending on the configuration, some Short Depth Rackmount Monitors may require 2U of rack space.
3. What type of keyboard is preferred (Touchpad or Trackball)?
Rackmount Monitors that include an integrated keyboard will also feature an integrated mouse option. These options are either a touchpad similar to what is available in laptop computers, or they may include a trackball option much like what was common in earlier laptops. Many times the type of interface is determined by environmental factors. Trackballs are frequently necessary in environments where gloves are a necessity.
4. Will the display be used independently from the keyboard on occasions?
If the Rackmount Monitor is being used primarily as a monitoring device with occasional user interaction, a dual-slide Rackmount Monitor may be preferred. Dual-slide units allow the display to be used without the keyboard interfering with server doors or walkways. Because of the extra hardware necessary for dual rails, it is not uncommon for Short-Depth Dual-Slide Rackmount Monitors to require 2U of rack space.
5. What type of video connectors (VGA, DVI, HDMI, Composite, S-Video)?
Rackmount Monitors are available with a widely customizable selection of video connectors. When choosing which type of connectors to select it is important to answer the following question.
6. What type of device will the monitor be attached to?
Rackmount monitors are most commonly used to administer servers. However, they are not limited to servers. Other areas where they are frequently used include render farms, surveillance installations, and testing facilities. Each of these installations has their own special set of requirements and the video ports on the monitor will change appropriately (HDMI for video rendering, composite or s-video for security cameras, and DVI or VGA for older servers).
7. What video resolution will it need to support (1920×1200, 1920×1080, 1600×1200, 1280×1024 or other)?
Many early Rackmount Monitors did not keep pace with the resolutions common in the high end graphics arena. This was driven by the fact that they were largely used to administer servers somewhat infrequently and rarely needed to display much high end graphics. This has changed; however, as the modern video interfaces have become more pervasive and more powerful integrated graphics chips have become available. Now, widespread DVI-D and HDMI adapters are causing HD resolutions to become a cost effective option.
8. How many devices will the monitor be attached to?
Because the point of having a Rackmount Monitor is to save space, it makes sense to have as few as possible in a server rack. This means that they are often accompanied by a KVM Switch. To further reduce rack clutter Rackmount Monitors can be configured to include a KVM Switch ranging in size from 8 ports all the way up to 32 ports. Rackmount Monitors with integrated Cat5 KVM Switches can support cascading KVM Switches to administer entire server farms from a relatively small number of consoles.
9. How far away will all the devices be located?
Because a standard rack maxes out at 42U, it is not uncommon for a Rackmount Monitor with Cat5 KVM Switch to be controlling servers in multiple server racks. Of course there are limitations and all the servers must be connected with a maximum cable length of 40 meters (132ft).
10. Will the monitor require remote access?
Once a Rackmount Monitor has been installed to manage multiple devices, users frequently find that it is inconvenient to constantly administer them from within a secure, climate controlled server room. For installations that require remote monitoring it becomes necessary to install a Rackmount Monitor with secured IP Access. Quality Rackmount Monitors with Integrated Cat5 KVM over IP will also feature multiple users so that the activities of each administrator who accesses the monitor can be logged.