Product Reviews

Sam I Am—Anywhere!

Take Control with Remotely Anywhere 4.

In writing this review I couldn’t help but think of the famous Dr. Seuss story, Green Eggs and Ham, in which Sam-I-Am keeps asking about eating them on a train, in a plane, with a goat, on a boat. Location does matter, especially to network administrators. For example, you need to reboot the server and you’re sitting at it. No problem. What if you’re home or at another location? On a train, with a goat, on a boat? Well, with RemotelyAnywhere, location isn’t a concern.

RemotelyAnywhere provides the freedom network administrators need, especially if they spend time away from the network (which is recommended for at least eight hours a day). RemotelyAnywhere allows you to administer systems without the need for client software to be installed, so long as the system you’re using has a Java-based application installed. In addition, RemotelyAnywhere allows basic command and control for WAP-enabled Pocket PCs, Palm Pilots and cell phones. The features become somewhat limited to command-prompt access (thanks to the smaller screens), but the system you have can be rebooted in a box, with a fox or on a boat.

What’s really cool with RemotelyAnywhere is its long list of administrative abilities. Through the Web browser, you’re given basic data for the system to which you connect. You can then pick from another set of options, including Administration. At that point, you can select any number of options, including user creation or registry edits for the system. You can also choose to reboot the system (through a normal, hard or emergency reboot) or restart the service.

Security is also well supported within RemotelyAnywhere. There are six levels of security, including IP filtering, IP lockout, NTLM or password authentication, firewall support, SSL and SSH and SSH2 with 128-bit or stronger encryption. In addition, RemotelyAnywhere supports the download and upload of files through an FTP server, which is nice when you need to grab files on a server in your network. Telnet and Secure Shell Server are also included in RemotelyAnywhere’s feature set.

Speed is always a concern with remote administration and remote control software. I had no complaints, but I was running it over a DSL connection. Running it over dial-up speed was slower, but workable. The fact that you can complete many tasks through the administrative tools without becoming involved with taking control is a benefit. RemotelyAnywhere isn’t simply a terminal service wannabe. Its ability to administer without taking control shows its strength.

So, what can be done to perfect this product? Well, one thing on the horizon with RemotelyAnywhere is the ability to print back on the local machine. Currently, you can connect and print from the system to which you’re connected. You can also copy a file down to the system you’re on and print it. However, what if the file format isn’t supported by the system to which you copy the file? It would be nice to just open the file on the server and print it to the local system. That feature is on the agenda for future releases (but may require a client side). Additional concerns are being shown for the ability to use remote control software as spyware, allowing individuals to look into your system without permission. Currently RemotelyAnywhere asks permission, so the debate concerns whether or not this feature should be modifiable (currently it’s not) to allow situations where permission isn’t needed.

Remotely Anywhere
Remotely Anywhere gives you a plethora of administrative options through the Web browser.

So, I feel good about this one. This application functions well and lives up to its claim—to administer a system remotely from anywhere. RemotelyAnywhere really shines in the field of remote administration. Its strength isn’t from any one feature but in its ability to provide so many options for a reasonable price.

About the Author

J. Peter Bruzzese (Triple-MCSE, MCT, MCITP: Messaging) is a longtime contributor to Redmond, an InfoWorld journalist and the Exchange 2010 instructor for Train Signal. You can reach him at peter@trainsignal.com.

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