Freeing on-call admins from "house arrest"

For some admins, being on weekend call meant being confined to one's home. But technology now allows them to care take of server, desktop and even some database problems remotely.

For an IT administrator at a large corporation, one of the downsides of your job was being on call. Being on weekend call meant that, for all intents and purposes, you were confined to your home, like someone wearing an ankle monitor.

However, that is changing. Remote administration technology is now allowing IT administrator to care take of server, desktop and even some database problems remotely.

One such product is Mobile Admin, from Idokorro Mobile Inc., a four-year-old company in Ottawa, Canada. The product enables an administrator to monitor, maintain and manage their networks with their wireless handheld devices. Performing diagnostics, restarting a machine, changing someone's password are all tasks that can be performed with the device. "It's good for a company, because a problem may get fixed faster, and it's good for the admin," says David MacFarlane, president of Idokorro.

Mobile Admin supports BlackBerry, Palm, Nokia, Windows Smartphone and Pocket PC handheld devices. The product allows you to manage not only Domino servers but Active Directory servers, the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, a wide range of Windows servers, as well as Oracle, SQL, and Novell servers.

Earlier this year, the company enhanced the product's Domino administrative capabilities. One of the improvements was to simplify installation and configuration for Domino administrators by eliminating the requirements to run the Domino HTTP server and to install the idokorro.nsf database. "With that improvement, installation went from ten steps to two," MacFarlane said. He said the enhancement stemmed from customer feedback at LotusSphere, specifically from admins objecting to having to install some pieces of software. "I think it was because they were Microsoft pieces of software, and Domino shops were trying to avoid that," he laughed.

Mobile Admin also supports other Domino administration tasks, including the Domino Console, server logs and server tasks.

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