Today we are going to review the TinyPilot Voyager KVM. This is a pre-packaged, Raspberry Pi 4-based solution that allows for remote KVM functionality to be added to devices. Since it is based on a Raspberry Pi, there is a lot of extra customization that is possible. This solution is one that we have been using for around six months in preparation for this review, but a bit of context is in order both on the market and why it took us this long to publish our review.
Since this is a product we have used for a long time, and it is a direct comparison to another product we have used for a better part of a decade, we have an accompanying video that includes the most outrageous intro we have done (I snuck it in after the editor was done and before uploading):
As always, we suggest opening the video in a YouTube tab/ browser. There are a few more screen captures when we get to the software section that may be useful to our readers as well.
Several months ago we encountered a problem at STH. The old Lantronix Spiders we used to troubleshoot/ set up machines had invalid certificates and we could not launch their Java-based KVM-over-IP functionality. The Lantronix Spider is the grey box one sees in countless colocation facilities as it can be used to provide remote KVM and media functionality (as well as a serial interface) to almost any device. They have been in the field since PS/2 was common (USB version shown below) and are effectively the gold standard widely deployed single node remote KVM solution.
Traditional rack KVMs have had a challenging time as servers transition to virtually all having onboard Baseboard Management Controller or BMCs these days. Still, in colocation, there are customers that are using networking gear without BMCs for security reasons or workstation hardware and that is a big reason we still see Spiders in facilities today.
In the fall of 2020, a reader approached us asking if we would review a new Raspberry Pi-based solution. Although he offered to send a sample, we declined but said we would purchase a unit to support the effort but only review the unit under one condition: remote media. There have been some other reviews online around the TinyPilot KVM solution, but to us, this solution was not complete enough to replace the older Lantronix units without remote media support. This week, we received word that the feature is in the product, so it is now time for our review.
Next, we are going to look at the hardware, followed by the software, and our final words.