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Remote-Site Management Products

C o n t e n t s
Remote Control and Access
Ethereal vs. Sniffer
RealVNC, TightVNC, UltraVNC ... What's the Diff?

We surveyed Network Computing readers on the major challenges of remote-office management. After reviewing the results, we decided to examine remote-control software and protocol analyzers, and how investigate how they can be used for branch offices. Why these technologies? Because 76 percent of respondents said availability of local technical support is one of the biggest challenges in managing technology at remote offices, and these remote-access and diagnostic tools offer relief for resource-strapped IT staffs.

We also looked across the software spectrum, contrasting the features and suitability of commercial offerings versus popular open-source applications. Although nearly half of those polled said they will spend more than $250,000 on branch-office hardware and software this year--28 percent will spend more than $500,000--there's always room to save a few bucks by using open-source software that's comparable to commercial offerings.

In general, the commercial products we examined provide the broadest spectrum of features, centralized management and conventional support. But all that comfort comes at a substantial price. The open-source applications, on the other hand, cost little or nothing, but no single offering in this group provides all the features of the top commercial products. You'll have to add other open-source applications to get the security and central management you need.

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