The Advantages of a 1U Keyboard in Rackmount Systems

Rackmount systems are popular in data centers and server rooms because they allow efficient use of vertical space. Servers, switches, routers and other IT equipment can be neatly mounted in racks, usually 19 inches wide. But easy access to racked devices is also important. That’s where a   comes in handy.

What is a 1U Keyboard? 

In rack terminology, “U” refers to a standard vertical mounting unit that is 1.75 inches tall. A 1U keyboard has a height of 1.75 inches, allowing it to fit in a single rack space. This ultra-low profile design gives just enough room for the keys without wasting valuable rack real estate.

Key Benefits of a 1U Keyboard

Conserves Rack Space

Rack space is prime real estate in a server rack. A full-size keyboard would take up 3U or more, eating up room needed for other equipment. A 1U keyboard maximizes space for other devices.

Provides Rack Access

A rackmount keyboard slides smoothly on rails to pull out from the rack. This gives easy access to the racked servers even when you’re not using KVM switches. It’s much more convenient than a separate standalone keyboard on your desk.

Designed for Data Centers

1U keyboards are designed specifically for the data center environment. Keys have a low profile and use laptop-style scissor switches for quiet tactile feedback. Often they’ll include hotkeys for controlling servers and network gear.

Better Ergonomics

Because it’s mounted right on the rack, a 1U keyboard is ergonomically positioned for accessing racked servers. You don’t have to hunch over a separate keyboard on another surface.

Flexible Positioning

The keyboard can slide to different positions along the rails to line up with various servers in the rack. So you can conveniently control different devices without straining.

Takes Up Minimal Desk Space

With the keyboard mounted on the rack, your desk or workspace stays clutter free. The keyboard retracts into the rack when not in use.

Features to Look For in a Quality 1U Keyboard

Durable and Spill Resistant

Since it will live permanently in the rack, you’ll want a keyboard built to last in an IT environment. Look for rugged metal construction and keys designed to resist minor spills. Easy to clean and sanitize.

Tactile Key Switches 

Look for low-profile mechanical key switches designed for smooth, comfortable, relatively quiet typing. Avoid cheap membranes that flex and quickly wear out.

Programmable Hotkeys

Often you’ll get dedicated hotkeys to control power, reset or KVM switching for racked devices. Some keyboards have programmable keys to customize shortcuts.

LED Backlighting 

Important in dimly lit server rooms. Look for adjustable brightness levels. Some offer color customization for status indicators.

KVM Cables or Integration

To control multiple servers, KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) cabling will connect the keyboard to a KVM drawer or switch in the rack. Or some 1U keyboards have KVM built right in.

Strong Integrated Mounting 

Should securely attach to rack rails without looseness or slippage. Front and rear mounting points provide stability.

Ideal Uses for a 1U Rackmount Keyboard

Server Racks

From tower servers to dense 1U servers, a rackmount keyboard provides convenient access and control without wasting space.

Networking Racks

Manage switches, routers, firewalls and more from a keyboard in the rack. Easily configure networking gear.

Audio/Video Racks

Control media mixers, controllers and other A/V components mounted in a standard equipment rack.

Industrial Control Racks

Rugged 1U keyboards are ideal for factories, utilities and other industrial sites with rack systems. Custom key functions can automate processes.

Broadcast Racks

Access and control broadcast equipment from transmitters to video gear using purpose-built 1U keyboards.

Remote Access

Combine with KVM over IP switches to control rack systems from a remote computer, tablet or smartphone.

Trade Show Racks

Mount a keyboard in a mobile rack case to manage trade show audiovisual presentations and demonstrations.


A 1U keyboard is a smart addition to any standard rackmount setup. Allowing hands-on access without consuming valuable space, 1U keyboards are designed for the demands of data centers and server rooms. Look for quality construction, tactile keys, and features like programmable hotkeys to get the most benefit from a rackmount keyboard. Properly installed, it will provide convenient and ergonomic control of all your critical racked equipment.