Rackmount monitors are displays designed to be mounted in standard IT racks alongside servers, switches and other data center hardware. As data centers and IT infrastructure continue to evolve, rackmount displays are also advancing with new innovations. This article explores emerging trends and technologies poised to shape the future of rackmount monitors.
Ongoing Transition to Higher Resolutions
A key trend is the steady migration to displays with higher pixel density and sharper resolution. 19″ LCD racks monitors with 1280×1024 resolution were once the norm. The shift has been towards wider 1920×1080 full HD and 2560×1440 QHD resolutions even on smaller screens. Looking ahead, 3840×2160 4K resolution will become more common on rackmount displays by 2025.
This aligns with increased rack density in data centers and desire for more real estate to display monitoring data. The tiny text and crowded UIs of yesterday are giving way to ultra-sharp imagery and video viewing. High PPI (pixels per inch) is crucial for legibility.
Expanding Screen Sizes
Larger physical sizes for rackmount monitors are also emerging. The widespread 17″ to 24″ models will be joined by full-fledged 27″ to 30″ options. Bezel-free designs help maximize viewing area within confined rack spaces. Giant 46″ to 55″ rackmount displays are also coming to market for control rooms and video walls.
Bigger screens make it easier to view monitoring dashboards, security footage and even digital signage content in data centers. They also enable collaboration between admins viewing the same screens.
Integration of Capacitive Multi-touch
Legacy rackmount displays relied on old-school resistive touch technology. New models increasingly integrate projected capacitive multi-touch, much like smartphones and tablets. This allows intuitive direct interaction, pinch/zoom capability and multi-user collaboration around the same screen.
Gesture-based control is a natural fit for system monitoring dashboards in hectic data center environments. It enhances workflow and allows rapid response to infrastructure issues using the same displays that present the data.
Built-In KVM-over-IP Switches
Higher-end rackmount monitors are integrating KVM-over-IP functionality through virtual extender technology. This allows IP-based switching between multiple remote video sources and USB peripherals over the network.
With KVM built into the monitors themselves, data center admins can easily switch between servers and PCs from a single console without separate KVM hardware. This reduces clutter and cost while enabling management of remote machines across the facility or worldwide.
Thin Clients and Virtual Workstations
Rackmount displays will increasingly run thin client endpoints and virtual workstations rather than dedicated PCs. Centralized computing resources can power multiple monitors through protocols like PCoIP and HDX.
This streamlines deployment and remotely hosts desktops on demand for greater flexibility. Thin clients also optimize rack space usage versus traditional PC hardware.
Growing Adoption of Open Standards
Proprietary KVM technologies will give way to cross-platform standards like OpenStack. This fosters interchangeability between rackmount displays and computing hardware from different vendors via open APIs and protocols.
Open standards future-proof investments in rackmount technology and avoid vendor lock-in. They also simplify integration and administration in heterogeneous data center environments.
OLED Panels Becoming More Common
OLED displays render deeper blacks and offer wider viewing angles compared to LCD panels. As their cost drops, OLED will overcome LCD as the favored display technology in high-end rackmount monitors over the coming decade.
OLED enhances video viewing as well as system monitoring UIs with crisper contrast and vivid colors. It also reduces power consumption compared to backlit LCD panels.
Onboard Video Wall Processing
Where once external processors were needed, new rackmount displays will feature onboard systems on a chip (SoCs) to enable video wall capabilities. This allows easy configuration of multi-monitor arrays without added complexity.
As video walls permeate control rooms and data centers, integrated video wall processing gives rackmount monitors built-in scalability and versatility without expanding hardware requirements.
Convergence with Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality
Rackmount screens will transform from simple passive displays into multipurpose windows blending physical infrastructure with immersive 3D visualization and augmented overlays. VR and AR elements will enhance real-time monitoring.
Spatial computing via headsets or glasses-free methods will enable admins to visualize and interact with IT infrastructure in new ways. The rackmount display provides the bridge between actual and virtual.
Transition to USB-C and Wireless Connectivity
Legacy analog and cable-based video/KVM connectivity will be replaced by more flexible options. USB-C convergence, DisplayPort-over-USB-C and even wireless video transition are coming. WiGig docking that avoids cables entirely will take hold.
This will enable easy viewing of video feeds from different sources and BYOD interaction with the rackmount display. Positioning will also be more flexible without cable length limits.
AI-Assisted Infrastructure Management
Rackmount displays will feed machine learning systems with infrastructure sensor data to enable AI assistance for data center management. Anomaly detection, predictive alerts and even automated issue remediation based on the input these monitors provide will be commonplace.
The rackmount console will become the lens through which AI gains visibility into data infrastructure to optimize uptime and resiliency.
The rackmount monitor will undergo major transformation as data center infrastructure evolves. Higher resolutions, larger screen sizes, advanced connectivity and embedded KVM/video wall capabilities are just some of the trends and technologies that will define the next generation of rackmount displays. This new breed of smart, versatile and high-performance monitors will become the command interface powering next-gen data centers and IT infrastructure.
What display resolutions will become standard for rackmount monitors?
Higher resolutions like 2560×1440 QHD and 3840×2160 4K will become the new baseline, replacing lower 1280×1024 and 1920×1080 displays. Dense pixel counts allow fitting more data on screen.
Will touchscreens be common on rackmount displays?
Yes, capacitive multi-touch is becoming a must-have feature. Touch enables intuitive interaction with monitoring dashboards and video walls in hectic IT environments.
How will connectivity for rackmount monitors evolve?
Legacy VGA, DVI and HDMI ports will be replaced by advanced USB-C connectivity. Built-in KVM-over-IP and wireless video will also eliminate cable clutter and placement limits.
What new display technologies are emerging for rackmount monitors?
OLED displays will surpass LCD with their vivid colors, deep blacks and improved viewing angles. Video wall-enabled SoC processors will also enable easy multi-display setups.