In APMdigest's exclusive interview, Bertrand Hazard, Business Strategy Lead for the SolarWinds systems management and mobile IT management product portfolios, outlines the capabilities and tools needed for remote desktop support and mobile IT management.
APM: What types of tools are needed that help teams manage IT remotely?
BH: DameWare NT Utilities (NTU), which includes DameWare Mini Remote Control (MRC), allows IT pros to connect to remote desktops, laptops and servers from their Windows machines. They can provide users with remote support via shared remote desktop sessions and use the integrated Windows utilities to fix problems remotely without ever leaving their desks.
For the most mobile administration power, SolarWinds Mobile Admin packs over 40 IT technologies into a mobile device such as an iPad, iPhone, Android, or Blackberry device. It has multiple layers of built-in security and has connectors to several leading vendors’ software, so IT pros can perform some common (and vital) activities directly with those applications. It’s highly affordable at just $695.00 per seat and under, so it’s a great productivity tool for the whole IT team. And, like most other mature vendors, SolarWinds core products offer Mobile Views that allow users to view data and acknowledge alerts from their mobile devices.
APM: What are the key capabilities offered by these tools?
BH: DameWare allows IT Pros to connect with end-users for remote troubleshooting and help sessions. In addition to the robust one-on-one collaborative end-user support capabilities, DameWare includes Windows utilities that allow you to troubleshoot remotely and configure Windows machines, Active Directory, and Exchange without ever leaving your desk. It makes remote support sessions quick and effective, with powerful features including:
- Desktop Remote Control
- Remote Windows administration
- Management and updates of Active Directory
- Inventory and export of Windows configuration information
- Screen sharing, chat, and click-to-save screenshots
For IT pros that are serious about mobile administration, SolarWinds Mobile Admin is the way to go. It allows them to monitor, troubleshoot, and triage over 40 IT technologies from their mobile devices. The dashboard view allows them to see the status across all the managed applications and do things they might otherwise have to go back to their laptops or desktops to do. The flexibility to do these things from wherever they are – the carwash, the lunch line, waiting for a meeting to start – facilitates workflow and keeps their business humming along smoothly. Users can do things like:
- Acknowledge an alert from vendor applications including SolarWinds, VMware, Active Directory, and many more
- Escalate a help desk ticket
- Restart a misbehaving ESX server
- Restore, create and delete snapshots of Hyper-V VMs
- Increase a user’s mailbox size
- Reset a password
APM: How do these tools make the IT admin and manager more productive?
BH: Remote desktop support allows IT pros to access the computers of users in different places – saving them the physical trips to remote users’ separate offices or places of work that add up to a lot of wasted time. Even trips among floors or around office buildings add up to time wasted when the fix could be made in seconds using remote desktop support.
Giving IT pros the power to work on the go allows them to turn any time into productive time. It also allows them to clear out the workflow and keep things moving forward no matter where they are. Typically, most IT folks have their mobile devices with them at all times. If they can monitor, troubleshoot, and triage from that device, they can have freedom from their desks and from constantly worrying about what’s going on at work.
APM: How does SolarWinds make the remote experience similar to the desktop?
BH: SolarWinds offers DameWare Mini Remote Control to make the IT pro-user connection as personable and simple as possible. With screen sharing, users can see what the IT pro is doing to solve the problem instead of forfeiting all observation of the process. It’s as if the IT pro is right there with the user.
Mobile IT management isn’t about replicating the exact experience as the desktop; it’s about facilitating tasks that need to be done quickly and efficiently to keep the business functioning smoothly. For example, an IT pro wouldn’t want to do detailed performance analysis and reporting of their systems from their mobile devices. Mobile IT management offers a solution for keeping an eye on developing situations, monitoring systems, finding out what is causing an issue, and fixing things when something goes wrong. SolarWinds ensures that these activities are all simple to do from Mobile Admin. Whether the problem is on a Windows Server or EC2 Cloud instance, SolarWinds has built in the functionality a user needs to perform common troubleshooting and triage tasks unique to those technologies.
APM: Any predictions on the next generation of these tools?
BH: We live in a mobile world – people work from everywhere and anywhere. This trend will only continue to grow over time. Now, more than ever, IT must find effective ways to support users regardless of location. Demand for IT support will likely always exceed human capital, so making the process easier for IT pros – by letting them manage more problems from a single location with efficiency and effectiveness – will only become more and more appealing to IT departments.
In network management, there used to be a multitude of vendor-specific tools that evolved to be more vendor-neutral. That trend will likely continue in the mobile administration space – where some of these apps will evolve to be cross-vendor and more robust like SolarWinds Mobile Admin. Additionally, even more capabilities in mobile administration – tighter integration and more intuitive interfaces – will arise. It’s going to continue to get easier and more efficient to manage IT on the go.
ABOUT Bertrand Hazard
Bertrand Hazard is the Business Strategy Lead for the SolarWinds systems management and mobile IT management product portfolios.
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