I have a pretty typically computer environment at home with a personal and a work computer (both laptops in my case). I frequently work from home and find myself going back forth between them. With laptops this isn't the end of the world since you can pull the one you need close to switch from one to the other. Where is starts to get messy is if you add a full size keyboard and external mouse which is my preference. Suddenly there is a lot crowding up the desk.
For servers I use KVM (Keyboard/Video/Mouse) switches so I can access multiple machines, but I'm not sure how well video switching would work with laptops.
Long boring intro to the problem, but there is a great category of utilities known as Software Keyboard/Mouse Switches. I have been using a FOSS package called Synergy which has been a great solution. It allows me to attach the keyboard/mouse to one laptop and drag the mouse to the laptop sitting next to it begin working as though I am directly connected. Even better, they can be different OSs. For work I'm stuck with Windoze, but my home laptop is Ubuntu and it works seamless together.
There are a few issues I've run into, but all very minor:
- You need to install the utility on each machine. No way around it since it is a software solution. Linux, Windoze and OS X are supported.
- It is VERY insecure by default. I'm sure you can tighten it down with something like SSH tunnels. For me, I DO NOT set it start automatically and only have a need for it at home, so security isn't a big concern
- When the Windows screen locks you can't control it to unlock it. Not a big deal since the the laptop keyboard is still close. You might be able to run Synergy as Windows service to get past the limitation if you so desired.
Great for desktops/laptops, but I don't think this is as useful for managing remote servers. My servers sit headless in the next room so I generally connect to them via SSH, RDP or VNC depending on the OS and server configuration. This addresses 95% of my access to the servers. The remaining 5% is when the server is not network accessible from some reason, I need to get into the BIOS or see the boot progress. Then I go back over back to the monitor, keyboard and mouse hooked to the faithful KVM switch then to the servers.