I had a conversation recently with Rob Woodbridge, president and CEO of Rove, makers of network administration solutions. Woodbridge talked about the rise of more and more powerful mobile devices, concluding by saying, “It’s reached a point now where these devices are obviously so powerful that they’re more powerful, probably, than the first computer you ever owned.”

He was certainly right on that point. I purchased my first computer back in the early ’90s and was pretty excited to get connected with email—not to mention learning about this thing called the Internet. Thinking back, it’s hard to imagine that computer could actually do any of the things I needed: It came with 4MB of RAM (later upgraded to 8MB!) and a hard disk drive of 120MB. I’m sure it had a processor, but I couldn’t tell you what it was. I think my current toaster is more powerful than that machine was. In fact, these days most people probably carry more computing power than that in their pockets on a regular basis. A lot more. That’s why Rove has focused on giving IT pros a way to use their mobile devices to provide full administrative control over their IT environments with Mobile Admin.

With today’s powerful handheld computing devices, Woodbridge said, “It’s really a great extension to your office. People are now realizing, certainly with the iPhone coming out, that there’s much more to offer than just email and calendaring. There’s hundreds of thousands of applications that are out there for these devices that have been just sitting there waiting for people to find them. And we happen to be one of them that fits a really amazing little niche.” Mobile Admin gives your IT staff the ability to respond to problems quickly from anywhere, and the application interfaces with everything from Windows and Linux servers to your routers and switches—complete access for almost all environments. As Woodbridge said, “Everything that you can do from within your firewall, in your server room, from a terminal window, you can now do from your BlackBerry or Windows Mobile device.”

The company’s latest release, Mobile Admin 4.1, introduces enhanced access control and management capabilities intended to simplify IT administration, including Secure Shell (SSH) and Telnet integration for remote terminal access and RDP and Virtual Network Computing (VNC) integration for remote graphical administration of servers. Mobile Admin installs on a single server, then replicates necessary components to other servers and client devices. Through Mobile Admin, IT support staff can perform tasks such as restarting services, rebooting servers, changing passwords on Exchange Server mailboxes, and reviewing event logs—all from a BlackBerry or Windows Mobile device.

The target market for Mobile Admin is the large enterprise with multiple servers and systems to support. Mobile Admin lets you work with a mixed environment of OSs and with different types of mobile devices. However, as Woodbridge was quick to point out, “Small and medium enterprises benefit from this as well. Oftentimes with 30 to 300 people in a company, you know they’re running ragged already. So the last thing that they can afford to do is have downtime, especially prolonged downtime. So this really covers the gamut.” And, really, who in any size business can afford downtime? “The power is the ability to not have to be tied to a desk in order to be on call or for IT support,” Woodbridge said.

As for the challenges Rove faces with Mobile Admin, Woodbridge said, “We’ve come to look at the status quo as the competitor—the people who still log on with their desktops, the guys who still lug around laptops . . . and take 15 or 20 minutes or 30 minutes to react to something that could have taken a minute and a half from the device. So really it’s legacy thinking that’s our chief competitor.”

You can find out more about Mobile Admin 4.1 by visiting Rove’s website.