Is the TinyPilot Voyager ready to take on the flock of Lantronix Spiders already in data centers? For servers, probably not. The Lantronix units have largely already been purchased and integrated into operations.
For the majority of servers with VGA output, the TinyPilot solution requires an adapter and another cable. Cables are important since the fixed Lantronix Spider cables do not fall out. The TinyPilot Voyager has nine connection points for a basic HDMI setup, and the VGA adapter adds another four for thirteen total. That is too many connection points to check in colocation operations. If one fails, the solution breaks and a customer is upset.
For devices that natively support HDMI or DisplayPort (we use another cable for DP devices) the TinyPilot Voyager works great and often better than having to go through a VGA to HDMI conversion step. Also, the ability to use this solution to setup development platforms like the Xilinx Kria this week and the Jetson Nano makes the process easier than having to plug a monitor in.
At $299, the pricing is higher than a used Lantronix Spider which has more server management features built-in (as of this review) but less than a new unit.
This certainly seems like it is on the right path, but perhaps it will have a bigger role in its current form with those trying to manage non-traditional servers.
In the data center, we mostly just use onboard BMC’s in servers. There is little reason to use anything else. We have serial console solutions for switches and firewalls when needed. That is a big shift in the market over the past decade. It was not uncommon to find a server without a BMC ten years ago, but it is highly unusual today. Solid BMCs make external KVM devices often less useful (except when someone does not has neither OS, nor BMC access these can be used as a purposeful backdoor.)
Then again, there is a new era of lower-power computing being led by client devices and edge devices that do not have VGA connectivity. The new era of computing devices often has HDMI ports since they can connect directly to millions (or more?) of televisions. To us, that is where the TinyPilot Voyager is more impactful. Perhaps the evidence of this is the experiment I have been running for the past six months. I had a Lantronix Spider and a TinyPilot KVM. The TinyPilot has been used for our Project TinyMiniMicro series, QNAP TVS-h1288X 12-bay NAS, ODROID-H2+ with H2 Net Card Cheap 6x 2.5GbE, and several upcoming pieces. The Lantronix Spider has not been used at all except to take some footage for the video portion of this review. To me, that is clear evidence of which I prefer having access to both side-by-side for those use cases.
Still, I cannot wait until there is a version without 9-13 connections that need to be checked to ensure proper operation. Michael and team, my challenge is to “deconstruct the nest.”