Tuesday, March 19, 2013

IT Support with a tablet: So cool!

At work, I need to do some IT tasks once in a while. The biggest concern is when I have to reboot the main server to apply some updates. This is an issue because I cannot do it on during business hours as it would require that I would have to stop all the users in their tasks while the server is rebooting.

A we all do it, I will connect remotely from home and execute the updates on the server in the evening when nobody is at the office. Nothing new here, business as usual.

With tablets (and smartphones), the evening tasks got a bit easier to execute. What I mean is that you can do it in less time compared to using a desktop or a laptop. It's not that a tablet is faster... The tablet is ready to go, all the time (unless you shut it down).

Of course, I could keep your laptop powered up all the time to get the same accessibility, but the reality is that I shutdown my laptop when I'm done. At home, I don't have a dedicated desk for my laptop. When I need to use it, I will set it up in the living room until I'm finished, shut it down and put it back in it's carrying case. I don't have enough space for a home office as all rooms are currently occupied by a member of the family.

Basically, if I need to access the server in the evening, I have to:
- get my laptop
- boot it up
- log into my user account
- wait a bit for Windows to be ready
- start the remote access software (LogMeIn)
- access the server
- do my tasks
- close the remote access software
- shutdown the laptop
- put the laptop back into it's carrying case.

The overall process can take easily 20 minutes without including the time for the task executed on the server.

With a tablet, an iPad in my case, things are different
- grab my iPad
- Start the remote access software (LogMeIn)
- access the server
- execute the tasks
- close the remote access software
- lock the iPad
- put it back where I grabbed it

The whole process can take 5 minutes (without task time) simply because:
- I don't have to find an outlet to plug my laptop
- I don't have to wait on the booting/login process
- I don't have to wait for the remote access software to start
- I don't have to handle power cords
- I don't have to wait on the shutdown process
- I don't have to put my tablet away, in a case, in another room

The laptop could be in sleep mode, in a locked session on a dedicated furniture to make the process faster. But even then, the iPad (or any mobile device) will take less time. With the iPad, I usually have it at hand if not using it for something else. I can put it away on the coffee table, on a shelf or beside my bed since it does not take space. And launching apps, whatever they are, only takes a few seconds. It's ready to work, all the time!

Why would I bother using a laptop when I can access my main server in a few seconds with my iPad? That the beauty of modern technology and its available right now!

Patrick Balleux

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