Ideal Administration's aim is to integrate all the functions needed to administer user accounts, network domains and servers in one place, and to a large extent it succeeds. We found it easy to use and had no difficulty in performing normal administrative tasks. Copying files was particularly easy, simply mapping shared drives and folders into an Explorer-like display and then dragging and dropping them.
We were particularly impressed by the fact that we could administer a server without having a remote control session in place. We feel there will always be a need for remote control facilities in network support, but tools such as this can reduce the frequency with which they are used. The administration tools are comprehensive, enabling a system administrator to discover useful server data, including hot-fix status, networking details including MAC addresses, system information, user details and so on.
Server management functions are well catered for. The administrator can monitor processes on individual servers, and can start and stop them as required. User accounts and groups can be managed, as can trust relationships. Devices and shares can be managed, as well as printers. All of these facilities are available at the server console, but they are often distributed between various applications. Server administration sessions can become cluttered with overlapping windows and message boxes, and the benefits of having all the functions in one place, over multiple servers, are considerable.
Ideal Administration does have a remote control facility that uses an implementation of TightVNC that has been modified to provide increased security. This works, opening a separate window for the remote display and giving us full access to the target system.
Ideal Administration can run on systems with Windows NT4 Service Pack 4 or above, Windows 2000 or XP, but not Windows 95/98 or Me. That a network administrator would use the latter systems for administration is alarming anyway. However, this may pose a problem where there is a mix of operating systems.