These days, it's rare to find Network Administrators responsible for just one brand of operating system. Almost everyone has a mix of at least Windows and Linux-based servers, and probably more. And given the fondness for centralization and reorganization over the past few years, most Network Admins are also managing servers remotely. So it's time to look at a short list of remote management tools for Linux/Windows.
When a command-line interface is all you need, Telnet is the first tool that comes to mind. But put it out of your mind if you can, and go with the much more secure ssh protocol. The most popular Windows-based ssh client is probably "
If you're looking for something graphical, on the Windows side, you have a pretty solid option in Windows Terminal Server, which is built-in. On the Linux side, you can spend some money for applications that deliver x-windows to a Windows client -- but if you want to integrate the two and manage both Windows and Linux remotely from the same client, then consider VNC. It's also free, fast and stable.
But, what's really cool, and very handy, is that you can get a GUI interface from both your Windows and Linux servers while you're on the go. Head over to www.btinternet.com/ and download PalmVNC. Naturally, you'll need wireless capability in your PalmOS PDA, like a PalmVII or Handspring Treo 300, and because of the small screen and slow data connection on most devices, it's not terribly fast or stable. But it's still free and you'll be amazed what you can do with 40 KB of memory.
Thomas Alexander Lancaster IV is a consultant and author with over ten years experience in the networking industry, focused on Internet infrastructure.
This was first published in September 2003