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Port on Front of 1U Server

Posted on 2006-10-21
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
What's the port on the front of many 1U servers?  It's usually blue, and looks like a VGA port.  I've never tried hooking a monitor up to it.  But it seems pointless as I still would need to use a keyboard and mouse!?  So what is the benefit of this port?  Or is it a serial port for hooking a laptop up to or something else?
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Question by:rebies
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 17782785
What brand of 1U server?  It could well be a VGA port.
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by:rebies
ID: 17782792
Well I'm not in front of any now.  I do belive the Dell PowerEdge 860's have them.

http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/pedge_860?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd

But I've seen them on other servers before too aside from Dell's.  Never knew if it was a special hookup to easily control the server with a laptop or what.  Seems if it's a plain VGA port it's useless as you have to go to the back of the server to hook up a keyboard / mouse anyway.
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by:rebies
ID: 17782799
Here is the best picture I could find of a random server with such a port...

http://www.asimobile.com/inetpub/ftproot/server_sr1400_front_main.jpg
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by:rebies
ID: 17782804
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by:Raynard7
Raynard7 earned 100 total points
ID: 17782820
On the botom image the only blue port is indeed a video port (you can even see the little icon of a monitor if you look carefully)

This is because many rack mounted servers have KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) switches that can be mounted onto the front of the servers and have one unit for 10+ servers
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by:rebies
ID: 17782830
Raynard7,

I'm slightly confused.  I've used KVM switches before.  But these servers don't have keyboard or Mouse ports on the front.  Granted some of these servers have USB ports on the front, but I've yet to see a correlation.  If there is no USB and no keyboard or mouse ports, this has to come from the back of the server..?

Or maybe I'm wrong and every server with this VGA port on the front has a USB..  maybe.
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Lee W, MVP earned 400 total points
ID: 17782837
Check the documentation - on the 860 that IS a VGA port:
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/pe860/en/hom/html/about.htm#wp1080488

As for other servers, there's any number of reasons you might want to have a monitor on the front and back.
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by:rebies
ID: 17782849
Wow - nice find leew!  Answer nearly accepted on that.  However, can you help confirm what it is to be used for?  Is it to hook a USB keyboard and mouse, and monitor to the system?  Why else would it be used?
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by:rebies
ID: 17782858
I guess I just don't see the benefit in having this on a server.  Granted I dont do much server stuff, but maybe to that 1% of the server users out there it's worth the extra few bucks per server.  Heck, my datacenter has carts with regular keyboard and mouse connectors.  Usb would not even help.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 17782876
I can't be certain, but one of the reasons I can think of is to monitor the system.  You might have a KVM hooked up in the back, but you need to test something on the front.  Just a guess though.  Call Dell and ask why they put it on there... That aside, just because you and I may not know a "good" reason, doesn't mean there isn't one...
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by:rebies
ID: 17782881
Thanks leew.  Something thats always baffled me but I never knew why.  Before tonight never thought to ask anyone about it.

Not that hard up to call Dell and ask them.  But at least I now know it's really a VGA port!
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by:jamietoner
ID: 17782885
Yep, thats what its for, 1 vga port for the monitor and 2 usb ports for a mouse and keyboard, if you want to utilize the the front ports with ps2 devices you could get a ps2 to usb adapter like this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16812147401. The benefit would be if you didnt have a kvm, the kvm was down, or you needed to work on multple systems connected to the same kvm. but usually with a KVM this isnt a feature thats used too much.
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