Cloud and mobile devices go hand-in-hand, with the cloud powering many of the most popular mobile apps. For the highly mobile IT support worker, the tables can be turned, with mobile devices doing anything from checking logs to restarting crashed services. Thanks to nearly ubiquitous wireless access, these tasks can be performed whether you're on the bus or on the beach.
Note: This article is also available as an image gallery and a video hosted by TechRepublic columnist Tom Merritt.
1: AWS Console (Free; Android and iOS)
When you think of the cloud, it's nearly impossible not to think of Amazon and its portfolio of cloud offerings. AWS Console (Figure A), an app delivered by Amazon, provides a fairly comprehensive mobile representation of its web-based management console.
While you don't get the full capabilities of the web console, you can quickly view alerts and statuses and restart or stop processes — which might easily save you a trip to a standard desktop or laptop when you need to perform debugging tasks on your smartphone or tablet.
2: Google Admin Console (Free; Android and iOS)
For companies whose foray into cloud computing is centered on Google Apps, the search giant provides a mobile app supporting Android and iOS devices. The app (Figure B) is targeted at administrators of Google's business applications, allowing them to create and modify users, reset passwords, and view service notifications while on the go. Like most management apps, functionality is somewhat limited. But having a way to perform key tasks from a smartphone instantly might save you from otherwise frustrated users.
3: Nezumi for Heroku (On sale for $4.99 on iOS / $9.99 Android)
Similar to the AWS Console, Nezumi (Figure C) provides smartphone and tablet-based administration for Heroku-based cloud applications. For the uninitiated, Heroku provides similar services to Amazon's cloud, but at a higher level of abstraction, allowing you to "push" applications directly to Heroku without worrying about the technical issues like operating system, load balancer, etc.
From an administrative standpoint, Nezumi provides all the tools you'd conceivably need to administer an existing Heroku application, including a console tool that lets you execute any arbitrary command. While dealing with a keyboard-intensive console on a smartphone is never fun, in a pinch, Nezumi might save your afternoon on the beach.
4: Server Auditor (Free; Android and iOS)
Services like the Amazon Web Services and Heroku represent full-scale infrastructure and platform offerings. But sometimes maintaining your cloud application requires some time spent at the command line via SSH and Telnet. Server Auditor (Figure D) provides a great, free Telnet and SSH client that's available for both Android and iOS. And despite a somewhat clunky user interface, it provides access to esoteric function keys and other optimizations some SSH and Telnet clients miss.
5: Mandrill (Free; Android and iOS)
Mandrill (Figure E) is a cloud-based email delivery platform provided by email marketing company MailChimp. Not only does Mandrill offer a great way for cloud applications to send email, but its free smartphone app is an example that other niche cloud providers could learn from. The Mandrill app offers great graphical eye candy for a quick overview of message volumes, and it allows you to view details of individual emails sent by the service, which is useful for debugging a lost message.
Patrick Gray works for a global Fortune 500 consulting and IT services company and is the author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology as well as the companion e-book The Breakthrough CIO's Companion. He has spent over a decade providing strategy consulting services to Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. Patrick can be reached at email@example.com, and you can follow his blog at www.itbswatch.com. All opinions are his and may not represent those of his employer.