Organizations are increasingly turning to Mac OS and Linux operating systems to augment their primarily Windows-based networks. Art and creative departments often prefer Macs, and Linux is a permanent fixture in server rooms and data-centers. This trend poses unique challenges to IT departments tasked with both desktop and server support. Help-desk analysts and system administrators supporting multiple operating systems must often use several remote support tools.
Remote Support can be broken down into two distinct areas: remote control and remote administration. As such, there are tools built specifically for each area. Remote control tools are those that allow system administrators to connect to and control remote computers as if they were sitting at the keyboards of those computers. The most popular remote control tool for Windows is, not surprisingly, RDP. VNC offers some advantages over RDP in that it works across OS platforms. It also allows techs and end-users to share a desktop which can make the troubleshooting process much easier. On top of those two widely used tools are a host of proprietary solutions.
Remote administration tools are those used by system administrators to troubleshoot and perform tasks on remote computers or applications without having to take full remote control of the computer or system the applications are hosted on. There are a handful of tools on the market and some built-in to modern Windows operating systems that allow techs to perform Windows administration tasks without having to log on to the computer being worked on. Some of these include viewing event logs, managing updates or installed software, and restarting services.
Other remote administration tasks are those performed on popular business systems or applications. The most common of these tasks performed by system administrators are those related to Active Directory environments. If you are supporting desktops and servers, you almost certainly will be adding/removing users, security groups, and OUs to and Active Directory Structure, or even updating or creating group policies. Although there are tools on the market for these types of tasks, native Windows tools are far and away the most widely used.
Aggregating all of these functions into one familiar MMC-style console can save time and simplify the day-to-day tasks of IT professionals supporting mixed-OS environments. Looking to a comprehensive remote support tool can cut down the clutter of having multiple tools open to perform the most common tasks performed by system administrators. Use a tool that can connect to Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux computers, and perform Windows administration and Active Directory tasks from the same console and watch your productivity increase.