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REVIEW: Rove IT's Mobile Admin 4.2

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Posted 04-19-2009 at 03:41 PM by Otto

Vendor: Rove IT
Software: Mobile Admin
Version: 4.2

Assuming you haven't found yourself living under a rock for the last few years, Rove IT has often found a place on our devices and in our hearts - not to mention atop practically every industry "Best Of..." list for BlackBerry software.

With each release of Mobile Admin, Rove has been dedicated to the addition of more services, more supported platforms, and more functionality. Mobile Admin 4.2 does not fail to deliver with this proven path for success. The additional support for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) 2007 and full support for VMware Virtual Infrastructure were already enough to make me a very happy administrator. Now throw in the certification of support for BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 a few months before the launch of that product and I must say that I'm quite impressed. Rove also added support Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager (SCMDM) for the administrators who have ventured into the Windows Mobile platform.

Like many of you, the documentation that accompanies software is rarely something I read before installing the product (although Rove IT obviously put in a LOT of time and effort on the impressive 270-page Client Guide), so it's the installation that I first measure my initial impressions of the product. I believe this is one area that Rove IT should take a lot of pride, as I would say that it was perhaps the quickest and most complete installation I've ever had the pleasure of running through. Less than a minute after double-clicking on the installer, I was able to install the client on my BlackBerry and found myself able to manage users in Active Directory and able to restart a server.

NOTE: Most of the supported systems require additional client connectivity to be installed and configured, so I would HIGHLY recommend reading the documentation on what needs to be installed. For example, if you want to manage users on a BlackBerry Enterprise Server, you will need to install the User Administration Service (BUA) on the Mobile Admin server (for BES 5.0 support, the BlackBerry Administration API (BAA) and BlackBerry Administration Service (BAS) would need to be installed). There is an included Deployment Guide that details all of these additional requirements.

Connecting to managed servers from the device client, the most interesting point to be made is that only the managed services found on that server are displayed to you. For example, if Internet Information Services (IIS) is found on that server, I get an icon to manage IIS. Connecting to my Small Business Server, I found Active Directory Users and Computers, DNS administration, Exchange System Manager, etc. Connecting to my BlackBerry Enterprise Server, I found BlackBerry Manager and all of the standard Windows services (Services, Event Log, and much more). I believe this auto-sensing of services is something that really makes Mobile Admin stand out, as there really are no additional configurations of services required (this is not to say that you can't make changes to what is displayed, of course).

The administration of Mobile Admin is implemented in a self-service model. Each user can login and add only the servers they want displayed to their own console, which can improve the efficiency of that specific individual. A user with administrator privileges in Mobile Admin can also administer the displays of other users, just in case a uniform approach to the displays is preferred within your deployment.

While the focus of Mobile Admin is extending IT reach to a mobile device, one must not overlook the ability to perform these same administration and management tasks from any desktop web browser. This feature alone makes this product worth its weight in gold, in my opinion.

Nearly one year ago, Rove IT made a radical change in their licensing model that certainly registered a few marks on the Richter scale. Moving against the industry grain, the change actually lowered the price of Mobile Admin for the majority of would-be customers. With Mobile Admin 4.2, the pricing structure actually starts reducing the cost for deployments of three or more users.

Mobile Admin Server: $1,595 per management server
Mobile Admin Users: $200 per user
Mobile Admin Roaming Users: $300 per user

In the previous licensing model found with Mobile Admin 4.1, the cost for two users would have been roughly $500 less than Mobile Admin 4.2. However, increase that number to 10 users and you will suddenly notice the value included in the new pricing model - $7,500 versus $3,600 (maintenance fees excluded). Now that's what I call a company that understands our current global economic crisis and delivers a solution that allows us to still have the perks of a great product that improves our work-life balance.

One month ago, I found myself in that situation that no person in a relationship wants to be in – I was scheduled to be on-call on Valentine’s Day. Luckily for me, I had a girlfriend who was very understanding of the situation and suggested we postpone our Valentine’s Day plans to the next weekend. Imagine the look on her face when I would tell her that we could have kept our dinner reservations and plans to go see a movie and spend the night together with no stress, as I would have had a means of responding to any alerts or pages from the convenience of my BlackBerry. Imagine if I would have had a tool to accomplish every remote administration task I would need to perform from my laptop without having to be concerned with finding a Wi-Fi hotspot or rushing back home to connect to the internet from there. The underground marketing slogan for Rove may as well be "Rove Mobile: Saving Relationships Since 2001". Next Valentine’s Day, I don’t believe I will make the same mistake.

For more information on Rove IT and Mobile Admin 4.2, please visit www.roveit.com.
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