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Small Management

By Steve Jones,

This editorial was originally published on June 21, 2007. It is being republished as Steve is traveling.

I saw this article on server management from a handheld and it's always seen like something that's very cool and handy, but I've almost never been in a situation where I really needed to manage my server while stopped on the side of the road or eating dinner. There's times I got called away from something to go into work, but usually it's not something I think I could have solved, or even wanted to solve, on a 320x240 screen.

But recently while I was at TechEd, I saw some really cool new handheld devices. The capabilities of handheld devices, usually PDAs converged into phones, is really amazing. So I wanted to know:

How many of you can, or would, manage your servers from a handheld?

I've never had a phone with a keyboard, like a Blackberry. I've been a candy-bay Nokia guy for a long time, though my updated Startac, errr Razr, adorns my belt these days. Not by choice, but for another 6 or 7 months I'm stuck with it.

Years ago I also had a small form factor laptop to test for my boss. It was a Casio Cassiopeia A-10, and it ran CE and limited applications (this was circa 1997). I run pcAnywhere on it and actually logged into a workstation at work and tried to manage our SQL Server and other applications. It didn't work, at least not without frustration. Granted that was over dial-up, but it was way worse than my laptop because of the small form factor.

Recently I saw APC giving a self-guided tour of their new racks using PDAs. You could pick up a Dell Axim, click a button to start the video or move to the next section, and watch the tour while you walked around the rack. With headphones you could get the sales pitch and pause or move forward as you wanted. And it actually worked pretty well.

That's not quite typing in a T-SQL command and I'm not sure how difficult it would be to try and navigate SSMS thorough a Terminal Services screen, but it gave me some hope that it might be something I'd try down the road.

So let me know if you think it's something you might do.

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