Being a systems administrator for servers, storage and networks used to mean that there was the potential to get a call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year with the bad news that either the network was down or a server had crashed. And as luck would have it that call was probably going to come at 3am in the middle of January. This left those lucky enough to work in this particular role with little choice than to beat a path to the office to try and figure out what had happened. Such was the lot of the systems administrator then.
Now, things have changed. Yes, there is still the potential to get notified of a systems problem at some un-godly hourly. However, the need for getting dressed and heading off into the dark should be greatly diminished thanks to remote access. Remote access through Virtual Private Networks enabled administrators to access the troublesome system from afar. Remote access, however, was often tied to being near your home desktop with VPN access or you lugging about your laptop with VPN client installed.
The laptop solution also involved finding a network connection perhaps in a cafe with free wireless or the never enjoyable phone tethering nonsense. But mobile is breaking off the shackles for on-call IT administrators. Not only are you no longer confined to where you had your VPN connection setup, usually your home desktop or laptop, but you can now start to initiate remote support and troubleshooting from mobile devices. And while there is not an abundance of tools to provide mobile access to your network one such solution is provided by Columbitech.
Columbitech Mobile VPN client is available via Google Play for Android devices running Android Version 4 and above and is also available in iTunes for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. Windows Phone 8 support is not available yet but is in the pipeline. It is free to install the application from both the Google Play store and iTunes but requires Columbitech Mobile VPN Software to be installed on your network. The software is designed specifically for mobile technology. It features advanced data compression, persistent connections and military grade encryption using 256-bit AES encryption.
If you don’t fancy investing the money or resources into setting up a more enterprise level solution such as Columbitech’s Mobile VPN then you could use LogMeIn which is rapidly becoming the most popular means of remote desktop access and remote server management. LogMeIn can be installed on Windows Server 2008 and 2012 meaning you can get direct access to the server and also any Windows desktops or Apple MAC’s. But by having a Windows desktop or an Apple MAC inside your network you can remote desktop using LogMeIn’s software and from there SSH using the likes of Putty into any type of server you like, running say any of Oracle’s Solaris, HP-UIX, IBM’s AIX etc. LogMeIn now also have mobile apps in Google Play and iTunes that allow you to use their service from your device. LogMeIn Ignition is in both Google Play at £19.64 and iTunes £89.99 and offers HD quality connections to Windows and MAC desktops but no Linux support so far.