Sysadmin’s tools – what I have installed on my laptop

We need tools to make our work. Either it’s notepad and paper, a hammer (for server’s hard reset… just joking) or some sophisticated and bespoke peace of hardware – we as professionals need tools to make our work better, or even possible.

Since working as IT person, there are many software tools I need to do my day to day tasks, thus here’s the list of pieces of software I’ve been finding useful.

Royal TS – Connection manager

https://www.royalapplications.com/ts/win/features

Price: paid

I connect to many servers, and need to have ability to quickly, connect and swap between them. That’s what I use this software for.

It allows for RDP, SSH, SFTP, VNC and proably many more protocols I don’t even know about. Every connection has it’s own tab, thus jumping between open connections is just click away. On top of that, it can handle multiple credentials, which can be assigned to every connection you created.

I’ve tried many connection managers before – paid and free – and this tool seriously shines. It’s also very stable, thus there’s no need to worry that at some point you might need to reopen all connection.

It’s true value for money.

Server Manager – managing Windows servers

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2693643/remote-server-administration-tools-rsat-for-windows-operating-systems

Category: Free

If you’re managing Windows servers, this tool is simply a must – if you don’t use it, just install RSAT on your laptop (it’s free).

It debuted with Server 2012, and allows to add Windows-based server to it, and have a very quick information about them. Once you’ve added your servers there, it will break them down by server roles, so if you’d like quickly find your AD DS servers, just click dedicated tab of them. Need to quikcly check DHCP reservation? Just right click on DHCP server and bring up DHCP console.

Another great feautre is having a minal monitoring – you can specify CPU and memory treshold, and as soon as the server hit’s the limit – you’ll know it. It will also record the occurence, so that you can double click on it, and have a snapshot of what processes were crancking your server.

I might be wrong here – but seems like that software is not in development anymore (at least I didn’t see any more new features, and didn’t fix old bugs), which is a shame. I’m aware of Windows Admin Center, but that tool can’t replace server manager yet.

VMWare Workstation Pro – Virtual Machines

https://www.vmware.com/products/workstation-pro.html

Cost: Paid

If you spin up many VM’s on your laptop, then this application is a pure joy. I purchased it a year ago, mostly for creating labs for my studies and MCSA and oh boy, I wish I purchased it earlier on.

The big thumbs up for the tabbed view, thus jumping between VMs is quick and easy, the fact that shared clipboard always works (so no problems with copying files or text strings), creating new VMs from the snapshot of source VM – saving huge amounts of space. On top of all of that, Windows upgrades don’t break anything, and VMs can be easily moved between Windows and Linux hosts.

If you use any sort of virtualisation software and are not entirely happy with it, take this one for a spin.

Visual Studio Code – Code editor

https://code.visualstudio.com/

Cost: free

I write PowerShell scripts, and picking this IDE was not a brainer – it’s official POSH editior. It obviously supports plaetora of other languages.

Code is fast, multiplatform and have plenty of extensions. It hanged a few times, but that was probably something to do with my code I tried to run. It has debugging, source control and terminal built in. I didn’t use many IDEs so it’s quite hard to compare – but as a fairly new person to code, I find it cool.

Dameware – LAN remote connection

https://www.dameware.com/dameware-mini-remote-control

Cost: Paid

Dameware is a tool which allows you to conenct directly to the console of the computer. It has a very low latency (at least on Windows 7, 8 and MacOS – Windows 10 is not as fluent). It works, to my undestaring, as a video driver thus mirrroring screen and allows direct interaction with computer, including admin passwords prompt.

In probably, it allows to chat with the user, file transfer, and because it’s working as a service, you can initiate connection without a user being logged on.

I will keep updating the list

This list is not finished, an wil be updated over time. I have been using all tools listed here, thus it’s a personal subjective list. I have ano affilation with any of the companies developing software listed above.

Main Photo by Rob Lambert on Unsplash

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