Product of the Day: Real World Linux Product Spotlight - Manage your Network by Remote Control with Net Op from Cross Tec Corporation
Manage your Network by Remote Control with Net Op from CrossTec Corporation
In today's Windows-dominated IT industry, Linux users may often have difficulty finding high quality, feature-rich applications. This is no exception when it comes to remote control software.
There are virtually only two remote control products on the market that claim to allow users to view a Linux graphic user interface: NetOp Remote Control and VNC (Virtual Network Computing). VNC, a free download developed by AT&T laboratories in the UK, doesn't offer many features but does provide cross-platform support. NetOp Remote Control, developed by Danware Data A/S, is a feature-rich remote control application that also offers cross-platform support. There are, however, major differences between the two.
With VNC, when connecting to a Linux desktop for a remote control session, whether from a Windows or Linux operating system, the program creates a virtual desktop. In other words, the desktop that is viewed in the remote control session is completely independent of the desktop that is seen by the Linux user who may be sitting at that system. With VNC, when an employee encounters a software dilemma, IT personnel cannot simply open his/her desktop to view the problem and fix it. VNC restricts IT employees by only allowing them to open a new desktop that loads without any errors or problems that the Linux user may have encountered. So, according to VNC's definition of a remote control application, they do not provide remote control abilities of Linux platforms.
VNC provides, what is more commonly referred to as, terminal services for Linux platforms. Terminal services applications allow a person to make changes to a remote computer but not monitor and control it, with their keyboard and mouse, as if they were seated at that remote computer. VNC also offers limited security, for example they do not provide encryption for keyboard and screen information data streams.
NetOp Remote Control, however, allows for true cross-platform remote controlling of Linux platforms, while at the same time providing advanced security and several other options such as text chat and a graphical phonebook for managing remote users. Unlike VNC NetOp also uses a non-polling architecture, which minimizes network traffic by not needing to send out "keep alive" packets.
With NetOp, when a remote control session is initiated with a Linux operating system, the "Guest" computer, which is instigating the remote control session (whether Linux or Windows), connects directly to the Linux desktop. Using bitmap transfers, NetOp enables the administrator to see and take control over anything the Linux user, or server, is running at that moment. Therefore, any problems a Linux system encounters can be immediately be observed and addressed by the IT department; enabling quicker resolutions to IT dilemmas. Because of this, NetOp Remote Control, technically, might be considered the only true remote control application on the market for Linux.
Aside from enabling users to connect directly to a Linux desktop, NetOp also provides advanced security options such as support for multiple user names and passwords, limiting of what a Guest user can and can't do, encryption of the data stream and support for the NetOp Security Server module. The NetOp Security Server enables administrators to establish roles for individuals and groups. The Security Server also provides both authentication and authorization for Windows users who wish to control both Windows and non-Windows systems. NetOp Remote Control offers cross-platform support of any Windows, Macintosh OS X, Sun Solaris, CE device or legacy OS/2 and DOS PC from your desktop, Pocket PC, Internet Browser, or even a USB Flash Drive.
For the Linux IT employee, NetOp is a reliable, feature-rich program that provides Linux platform support, enabling the best possible help desk environment. However, if terminal service applications are more of what you're looking for, then VNC can provide you with an affordable solution.
But, be sure to look into some other type of security if you pursue the VNC route. Even VNC warns of this on their website: "if the computer or network is connected to the internet, we strongly advise the use of additional security."
Anyone looking to acquire a remote control application for their company is highly recommended to try out their software candidates on their company's network before purchasing to determine which application is best for their environment. Most remote control applications, including NetOp, offer some type of evaluation software.