My Sysadmin Tool of Choice

The title might be a little facetious, but stay with me.

We recently underwent a semi-invasive project here on campus. It involved replacing the backbone switch for the entire campus and replacing it with a larger chassis which allowed us to consolidate some switches into the new chassis along with adding some 10G switching capacity (which we are now using for our VM storage systems).

What tool was the most important during that project? My iPad.

When a student was stating that their router was not connecting properly with the network, I needed the ability to easily check whether my changes were having an effect. Easiest way to do that? Use my iPad and OpenVPN.

We have a metric ton of projects sitting in the pipeline right now which range from pulling out the last of our Novell NetWare servers and replacing them with OES 11.2 to continuing the migration and consolidation of current services onto smaller VMs and SLES 11. That all comes with a lot of documentation I need to wade through and also using Trello to try to keep track of the moving parts.

What is with me for that? The iPad!

When my family and I recently took a vacation to visit my wife’s family in Milwaukee I wanted to bring along the minimal amount of technology so that we could also pack in a half-hog for my brother-in-law. I still needed to have access to the office and the ability to troubleshoot machines while I was on the road.

What made the cut? My iPad, complete with cellular internet connection, OpenVPN, and Prompt for working with my servers.

I did not originally imagine that this is how I would end up using the iPad.

The idea really stemmed around using the iPad to carry around documentation, and that was pretty much about it. Couple that with some email and web browsing capabilities I was going to be happy using it as my daily-carry machine. However, as I dug into the new iPad Air it became apparent that it could be used for so much  more (and in some cases, be better).

So as it stands right now, the iPad is my sysadmin tool of choice in many situations. Of course, there are many tools that I use in a given day, but I have been pleasantly surprised with how well my iPad Air has transitioned into more than just a daily-carry documentation tool.

One reply on “My Sysadmin Tool of Choice”

Hey Bob,
Thanks for the helpful post. I wanted to let you know that I linked to your article in the InterWorx roundup of March’s “Best System Administration, Hosting, Security, and Enterprise IT Content.” Thanks again.


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