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LISA 2001 Abstract

GEORDI: A Handheld Tool For Remote System Administration

Stephen Okay, Road Knight Mobility Labs; Gale Pedowitz, Protura Consulting, Inc.


This paper discusses the design and implementation of a tool for allowing technical staff to perform diagnosis, triage and remediation of system problems from a commodity handheld device (e.g., a PalmOS PDA) with a wireless network connection using industry standard encryption and privilege management software. We argue that this model is equivalent to using a desktop or laptop from a security aspect but is more convenient and efficient given its minimal resource requirements, ``instant-on'' availability and usability from arbitrary locations.

We explore previous work in this area and posit that our solution offers significant advantages because it adopts the stylus and forms- based usage model prevalent on many PDAs rather than trying to overlay the classic command-line interface onto a system which was not designed to use it.

Finally, consideration is given to how small mobile systems, like the one used in this tool, will impact the task of system management in the future in terms of benefits and risks.

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Last changed: 30 Apr 2002 ml
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