The top iPad applications for VMware admins

If you are serious about using an iPad in a virtual data center, these top iPad applications for VMware admins will provide the proper functionality.

The iPad is becoming more and more popular in the enterprise, and not just for mobile workers. There is also a

slew of iPad applications for VMware admins.

Many IT vendors see the iPad’s potential and are developing iPad apps that can manage their traditional hardware and software products. Xsigo Systems, for instance, has a very nice app called Xsigo XMS , which manages virtual I/O through the company’s XMS servers. There is also an iPad application called SiMU Pro that manages Cisco Systems Inc.’s Unified Computing System.

In addition, there are several iPad applications that can supplement the traditional VMware admin toolkit, including the vSphere Client and Secure Shell (SSH) applications. With the right iPad applications, VMware admins will reach a new level of management flexibility that’s not possible with traditional desktops and laptops.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Top iPad applications for VMware management

II. Applications for remotely connecting to hosts and workstations

III. Top iPad applications for VMware networking

IV. General purpose iPad apps for VMware admins

 I. TOP IPAD APPLICATIONS FOR VMWARE MONITORING AND MAINTENANCE
With the top iPad applications for infrastructure management, VMware admins can control basic functions, such as powering virtual machines (VMs) on and off and using vMotion.

These iPad apps mimic some of the functionality of the vSphere Client and service console, but they aren’t a full-fledge replacement. Even so, these iPad applications allow VMware admins to perform key virtualization tasks without a full-scale computer.

vSphere Client for iPad  
Cost: Free
Developer: VMware
The vSphere Client for iPad is a watered-down version of the Windows-based vSphere Client, but it cannot connect directly to hosts or vCenter Servers. Instead, it requires the vCenter Mobile Access (vCMA) appliance, which acts as a proxy between the VMware infrastructure and iPad.

The initial release of the vSphere Client for iPad is very limited and provides only basic functionality, such as changing VM power states and viewing CPU and memory usage data. It also lacks vMotion and remote console support.

Until VMware improves the vSphere Client for iPad, its usefulness is limited.

iVMControl
Cost: $9.99
Developer: Project Eureka
This app can directly connect to hosts and vCenter Servers. It can display alarms, host/VM statuses and performance information, such as CPU, memory, network and disk usage.

The iVMControl app can also power VMs on and off and perform snapshot functions.  Additionally, optional, in-app purchases enable support for vMotion, VM screenshots and access to a VM’s console through Virtual Network Computing (VNC).

Rove Mobile Admin Client
Cost: free
Developer: Rove Mobile Inc.
The Rove Mobile Admin Client is free, but it requires the Mobile Admin Server Professional edition, which costs $495. The app provides native administration access to a wide variety of enterprise applications, including vSphere hosts and vCenter Servers.

With Rove Mobile Admin Client, VMware admins can monitor alarms and events as well as view and edit VMs (e.g., adding and removing hardware and changing resource shares and reservations). It can also place hosts into maintenance mode and restart them.

 II. APPLICATIONS FOR REMOTELY CONNECTING TO HOSTS AND WORKSTATIONS
These iPad applications provide several ways to connect to both hosts and workstations through SSH, Virtual Network Computing (VNC), Remote Desktop Protocol and other protocols.

By using an iPad application to connect to a host console, VMware admins can perform numerous maintenance and administration tasks. Accessing the command line for both the ESX and ESXi service consoles is a great way to evaluate the health of a VMware infrastructure. With commands and scripts, you can view host logs, configuration files and performance statistics, such as CPU, memory and disk consumption.  In these ways, the ESX and ESXi management consoles can duplicate much of the vSphere Client’s functionality.

But if you can’t carry out your VMware infrastructure management tasks through the command line, some of these top iPad applications can connect to a workstation, so you can use the powerful and versatile vSphere Client.

Remoter: Remote Desktop (VNC)
Cost: $.99 + $3.99 for all features
Developer: RafSoftware
This application offers VNC capabilities for connecting to workstations, servers and SSH connections to ESX/ESXi host consoles. It supports the recording and running of macros as well as SSH key management -- which provides a key repository for securely connecting to remote hosts without a password.

Remoter also has multiple virtual track pad modes, including a track pad with a lower right-click button and a scroll bar, as well as a plain track pad that you must double-tap to select objects.

iSSH-SSH/VNC Console
Cost: $9.99
Developer: Zinger-Soft
The iSSH-SSH/VNC Console app is another good SSH and VNC application with Telnet, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and X-server capabilities. It supports multiple, simultaneous connections, SSH key generation for connecting to remote servers, customizable keyboards and raw and tunneled connection types. (Raw connections use a native protocol, such as SSH, over a standard port number to connect to a remote server. Tunneled connections, on the other hand, hide the connection protocol inside another protocol, such as HTTP, which is handy for getting around firewalls.)

VMware admins can also configure non-standard ports for connecting to remote servers, which is another method for circumventing firewalls that block certain ports. Non-standard ports also prevent conflicts between applications that may use the same port number.

Wyse Pocket Cloud Pro
Cost: $14.99
Developer: Wyse Technology
Wyse Pocket Cloud Pro is a very nice remote-access client that supports RDP, VNC and VMware View connections. It features a high-accuracy touch pointer, custom keyboard with function and shortcut keys, multi-line text entry and remote application scrolling, which allows users to scroll within applications that reside in the remote desktop .

It also supports compression that’s optimized for 3 GB connections, audio streaming, TLS/SSL encryption, secure tunneling and auto-discovery of RDP 7 VNC connections.

In addition, you can purchase PocketCloud Premium for $1 a month. With this subscription, you can access files and applications on a desktop, which you can then download, email and print. It also supports video streaming from the remote desktop.

VMware View for iPad
Cost: free
Developer: VMware
Over Wi-Fi or 3G, VMware View for iPad provides native connections to VMware View 4.6 desktops (or later) that run Windows. It’s simple to set up, and it’s easy to connect to desktops through the recent desktop list.

VMware View for iPad supports the PC-over-IP protocol, delivering the best user experience, even over low-bandwidth and high-latency connections. It also sports easy navigation, with native iPad gestures as well as a built-in track pad and on-screen keyboard.

LogMeIn Ignition
Cost: $29.99
Developer: LogMeIn Inc.
LogMeIn Ignition is one of the most popular and highest-rated remote-control iPad applications for connecting to both PCs and Macs. It features multi-monitor support, wake-on-LAN, simple setup, encrypted connections and compression -- which allows for better performance over slow connections. LogMeIn Ignition also has a full-featured file manager that allows you to browse, edit, print and transfer files.

 III. TOP IPAD APPLICATIONS FOR VMWARE NETWORKING
In a data center, everything connects to the network, including the vSphere infrastructure. As a result, iPad network utilities and monitoring tools come in handy -- especially for VMware troubleshooting.

With the right tools, the iPad can discover devices (i.e., servers, hosts and storage) on your network, perform port scans, monitor your hosts and execute basic troubleshooting tasks. The following utilities can transform a VMware admins iPad into a network Swiss Army knife.

SNMPmon
Cost: $4.99
Developer: Marcio Almeida
This application can monitor any Simple Network Management Protocol-capable device, including ESX and ESXi hosts, servers, printers and storage devices. Through the use of this protocol, SNMPmon can retrieve and display a wide variety of information -- anything from performance data to device configurations. You can then choose to view this data as a graph.

System Scope
Cost: $4.99
Developer: Typhuun LLC
System Scope is an enterprise server- and network-troubleshooting application. It’s based on ping, a utility that can determine the connectivity of a host. As such, System Scope can monitor devices and websites. Color-coded LEDs on the screen depict the status of network devices, including network latency and device availability. You can also configure Internet Control Management Protocol parameters to solve simple and complex troubleshooting scenarios.

IT Tools
Cost: $4.99
Developer: Kevin Koltzau
IT Tools contains numerous networking features, including continuous traceroute, domain name service (DNS) lookup, ping, routing tables and Address Resolution Protocol tables. It can also list active connections and display network-related statistics, such as ping times. IT Tools fully supports IPv6, including reverse DNS.

 IV. GENERAL-PURPOSE IPAD APPLICATIONS FOR VMWARE ADMINS
In addition to the top iPad applications for VMware management, there are a variety of general-purpose apps that can be invaluable to VMware admins.

For example, there are several apps that can help IT pros stay on top of the incredible amount of VMware information and news out there. Note-taking and whiteboard apps are also useful for sketching out ideas and recording changes to your infrastructure.

These top iPad applications will ensure that you always have the proper information at your fingertips.

Kindle
Cost: free
Developer: Amazon
The Kindle is one of top iPad applications for e-book reading, and Amazon’s platform is accessible on a wide variety of devices other devices, including Macs, PCs and smartphones. This interoperability ensures that you can take your e-books almost anywhere. What better way to read the latest books on vSphere?

GoodReader for iPad
Cost: $4.99
Developer: Good.iWare Ltd.
GoodReader is a very robust PDF reader for the iPad. It handles huge PDF and text files, manuals, large books, magazines and renderings of 100 MB or more with great speed. GoodReader can mark up PDFs with text boxes, sticky notes, lines, arrows, and freehand drawings. It’s a must-have app for easily reading all of your vSphere documentation and information in the PDF format.

WebEx for iPad
Cost: free
Developer: Cisco Systems Inc.
There is a never-ending stream of WebEx presentations devoted to virtualization, and you can use the iPad to watch them. The WebEx app allows you to attend WebEx meetings in full-screen view, see who’s in a meeting and chat with other participants. You can also connect to the audio portion of the meeting with Voice over Internet Protocol or request a callback on the phone of your choice.

Instapaper
Cost: $4.99
Developer: Marco Arment
It’s hard to find time to keep up with the massive flow of VMware-related information on the Internet. Instapaper can save webpages directly on the iPad, so you can read them offline or with limited Internet connectivity. It features adjustable fonts, text size, line spacing and margins. You can download up to 500 articles and store an unlimited amount on the Instapaper website.

ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard
Cost: free
Developer: Easel
This app turns your iPad into an interactive whiteboard, allowing you to record voiceover whiteboard tutorials as well as share them online. For example, it’s a great way to explain a storage architecture for a vSphere cluster by illustrating and describing it at the same time. You can save videos locally or uploaded them to the ShowMe website.

Feeddler RSS Reader Pro
Cost: $4.99
Developer: Che-Bin Liu
To keep up with the many VMware-related articles and blogs, a good RSS reader is a necessity. Feeddler is a fast and highly customizable Google Reader client that stays in perfect sync with Google and presents RSS stories in a clean interface. Feeddler is packed full of features, including caching articles for offline reading and keyword searching in articles. It also supports Twitter, Evernote, Instapaper and Read It Later.

DataVault Password Manager
Cost: $9.99
Developer: Ascendo Inc.
DataVault Password Manager is a virtual security vault that can save sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords.

VMware admins have a lot of passwords, and writing them down on a sticky note is not recommended. But remembering a seldom-used password, such as your vShield appliance password,  isn’t always easy.

DataVault Password Manager can act as central repository for all your usernames and passwords. It uses Advanced Electronic Standard encryption to ensure that your information is safe, even if you lose your iPad.

DataVault Password Manager can also back up your encrypted data, in the event that your iPad is misplaced or stolen. And you can restore that information in a separate desktop utility.

Note Taker HD
Cost: $4.99
Developer: Software Garden Inc.
Note Taker HD is one of the top iPad applications for writing and organizing handwritten notes and diagrams.

Jotting down notes and ideas is a helpful way of staying organized and informed. Note Taker HD saves your work as pages, which you can organize by tags, dates, favorites and more. You can also group pages together into multiple sheets and email one or more pages as a single PDF file. It’s also possible to open Note Taker HD pages in other apps (e.g., Evernote and Dropbox) or print them.

For best results, handwrite your notes with an iPad stylus -- such as the Just Mobile AluPen. (You can also use the iPad’s virtual keyboard.)

Evernote
Cost: free
Developer: Evernote
Evernote is another good note-taking application. Instead of capturing handwritten notes, Evernote supports typed notes, audio recordings and photos. One nice feature is that Evernote syncs automatically across multiple devices, including iPhones, PCs and Macs.

TrainSignal vSphere video training
Cost: Varies by course
Developer: TrainSignal Inc.
Finding the time and budget for IT training classes isn’t always possible. TrainSignal produces a full line of vSphere training videos that are affordable and provide a great way to learn more about VMware infrastructure management. TrainSignal videos are released on DVD, but the company also includes videos that play on the iPad, allowing you to take your training on the go.

This was first published in August 2011

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