The iPhone and iPad are great mobile work solutions for many professions and IT is no exception. With the right collection of apps, virtually every IT job role can become mobile. Systems administrators, user interface designers, and even help desk agents can use their iOS devices to keep tabs on the technologies that they manage and resolve problem at any time from almost anyplace.
IT tools for iOS cover a wide range of ground from basic remote access to network diagramming. Here are a set of tools that no IT department should be without.
There are a lot of iOS apps that make great additions to any IT professional’s mobile toolkit and they cover a wide range of IT roles. Out list of top tools is broken down into the following three categories: server monitoring and management, network management and troubleshoot, and remote access solutions.
Server management can cover a lot of ground, but in most organizations the key server-related tasks that IT professionals may be called upon to do while out of the office include user account management and verifying that a server is functioning properly. With that in mind, here are five excellent server-related apps.
- AD Helpdesk and ADManager Mobile – Both of these tools provide a mobile interface for managing Microsoft’s Active Directory. The primary mobile needs when it comes to Active Directory are basic user account management (locking/unlocking accounts, resetting passwords or password policies, changing group memberships, and managing which workstations users are allowed to access). Both of these tools handle all of these tasks. AD Helpdesk focuses a bit more on resolving user-related issues while ADManager Mobile offers a somewhat broader range of administrative features. Which one is best for you is a matter of your specific needs/responsibilities and personal preference.
- Server Admin Remote – This app provides an iOS interface to OS X Server’s Server Admin utility. Obviously, its use only applies to organizations that use Mac servers, but it is an excellent tool for that community. One can even argue that it’s a more streamlined and efficient tool than Lion Server’s mashup between the basic Server app and advanced tools including Server Admin.
- Server Monitor – Keeping tabs on the current status of any server in an organization is a key IT requirement. Server Monitor is a simple and straightforward way to that. It uses SSH connections to retrieve and display uptime, load average, and memory status.
- RBL Status – Realtime blacklists are most commonly associated with mail servers, where they can automatically screen out mail from domains known or suspected of pumping out spam. RBL Status lets you quickly and easily determine if any servers in your organization have been blacklisted.
Network planning, troubleshooting, and ongoing management requires the ability to quickly determine network capacity and load, breaks in service or cabling that can disrupt various portions of physical network components, and the ability configure IP routing and subnets. These tools can provide invaluable understanding of the state your organizations physical network and logical network addressing.
- Scanny – This apps offers a wide range of network scanning and probing tools to help you determine the health, security, and functionality of your network. It also offers some access to common tool for determining breaks between network segments. Some of the major features Scanny offers include portscan, Apple Bonjour and Windows hostname lookup, MAC address lookup, ping, trace route, whois queries, and a list of known IP ranges (Wi-Fi, 3G/4G, VPN etc.).
- Network “Swiss-Army-Knife” – This is another app that offers a range of tools for network engineers and administrators. Like scanny, it includes some common probing techniques like DNS and MAC address lookups and deep whois queries. It also includes several network reference tools like a subnet calculator, MAC address guide by manufacturer, IANA list of common TCP/UDP ports and the standard protocols that use them, a quick reference guide for the entire TCP/IP stack.
- Net Status – If you need to determine if network hard like routers and switches are functioning, Net Status is a good choice for quick and basic details. It can also be used to query the status of various network hosts and gateways.
- Get Console – This could be considered a remote access tool because it is an iOS terminal console that support SSH and telnet. However, paired with the iOS cable, Get Console allows an iOS device to connect directly to the console ports on enterprise network like routers and switches – making it a must have for network engineers and administrators on the go.
- Bytes – Network engineers, developers, and data scientists all need to work with specialized calculations like converting values into hexadecimal or IP address ranges into CIDR notation. Bytes is a great calculator app designed for such industry-specific functions.
- OmniGraffle for iPad – Network documentation is critical to keeping a business or enterprise network running. Accurate diagrams make life a lot easier when resolving outages and are crucial when planning and implementing network upgrades (or simple service additions or expansions). OmniGraffle is great diagramming tool for network mapping and documentation.
While a lot of IT tasks can be handled using dedicated apps, there are many times when IT professionals need to gain remote access to routers, switched, servers, and even desktop computers. Although there are a number of tools available for remote access, there are just a handful of protocols that an iOS IT toolkit has to include to offer solid remote access.
- iSSH – SSH command line access is a key tool for any systems or network administrator. It can be used to connect to servers, network devices, and individual workstations. While there are a number of SSH apps out there, iSSH is generally considered to be one of the best. iSSH also includes a VNC client, though most IT pros prefer a dedicated VNC because iSSH’s VNC support tends to seem like an afterthought.
- iTap RDP and VNC - As with SSH, there are a number of apps that include remote screen sharing and control using Microsoft’s RDP protocol and/or the open standard VNC. iTap, which is available as separate dedicated apps for each protocol are easily the most well regarded options.
- LogMeIn – SSH, RDP, and VNC provide powerful remote access and control functionality, but they don’t always play well with corporate firewalls. For situations where a remote connection needs to be established quickly and regardless of your actual location, LogMeIn offers a range of great and secure alternatives with desktop editions designed for specific business/IT use cases.
Think we missed a great app or suite? Share your picks for top tools in the comments.