Windows administrators have always had a selection of graphical remote administration tools. Virtual Network Computing (VNC) has been around for quite a while, and many organizations still use Symantec's pcAnywhere on their servers despite Windows 2000's built-in Win2K Server Terminal Services.

Although you can't question the value of remote administration, choosing the right tool can be tough. Here are some tips:

  • Avoid remote administration solutions that impose high CPU overhead. In my experience, for example, a pcAnywhere session can increase processor load by as much as 20 percent.
  • Choose a remote administration client that lets you control more than one server at once from your desktop. Both VNC's and Terminal Services' client lets you do so.
  • Choose a small remote administration client. VNC's client fits on a floppy disk, as does Terminal Services' client.
  • Look for a remote administration solution that lets you use one client to administer all your servers. In a mixed-OS environment, VNC is often the best bet because it provides cross-platform support.