Many small and medium businesses don’t have the resources to pay for system administrators to keep on eye on their servers round the clock. Nevertheless, servers do need to be up 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week. A good hosting provider will take care of the fundamentals, but for the tweaks and modifications that keep a business’ infrastructure in top form, sysadmins, whether they are dedicated staff or a startup’s founders, need to have round-the-clock access.
It’s no fun to lug a laptop around or be tied to a desk, so it’s fortunate that there is large number of mobile applications that will let the roving admin monitor and manage their servers while on the move.
We’re going to take a look at five of the best apps for managing Linux servers from your Android phone. iOS and Windows Mobile users shouldn’t feel neglected; we’ll be bringing you a future article with the best sysadmin tools from your favorite platform soon.
An SSH client is usually top of the list of tools that any sysadmin will need in their kit. Connectbot is one of the best. It can handle multiple SSH connections and create secure tunnels. For a quick reboot or a bit of config file hacking, Connectbot is the perfect choice.
Many of you will already be familiar with the Pingdom suite of monitoring tools. If you’re not, Pingdom is a service that runs periodic checks on a server to make sure that all is well, and includes a number of tools to help diagnose problems. The Android app features push notifications and access to server health information and response time stats.
For the Android App to be useful you’ll need to set up a Pingdom account (not free).
Cura is a set of server admin tools. It includes a terminal emulator, syslog module for reading server logs, a monitoring module for displaying hardware status, and access to Nmap. It works via SSH so there’s no need to install additional software on the server.
Cura also has some handy security features. Phones have a tendency to get lost, and the last thing a sysadmin wants is a stranger having access to their servers. Cura allows users to remotely wipe its database with a predetermined SMS.
If you are planning on hacking config files and scripts from your mobile device, you certainly don’t want to be doing it from the default keyboard, which lacks control and tab keys among others. The Hackers’ Keyboard restores these necessities and puts the punctuation keys back where you expect them to be.
When all else fails, or it’s the weekend and the sun is already well over the yardarm, it’s time to deploy that other sysadmin standby, the excuse. SysBull very handily generates excuses as to why things aren’t working and why they are likely to stay that way for a while.
Those are our five favorites, but we’d love to hear what you guys are using. Feel free to share your tools of choice in the comments.