7 Minute Miles

iStat by Bjango

Posted Sunday, February 22nd, 2009 03:50 am GMT -5 in Longform, Technology, Work

During my oh so fun network adventures the past few weeks, I did run across one wonderful new tool. iStat is a $1.99 iPhone application (normally $2.99) by a company called Bjango that can be used to remotely monitor Mac servers (and regular computers).

Very easy to set up, iStat actually has two parts: the iPhone program and a Mac program called iStat Server that runs on the machines you want to monitor. It transmits data on port 5109, so you may need to make adjustments to your firewall in order to get the two programs to talk to each other. I set this up on several Xserves running Mac OS X Server 10.4.11 and 10.5.6, as well as two Mac minis that I use as servers running regular 10.5.6 (see screen shot on the left).

Once your firewall rules are correct, configuration on the phone side was easy – enter an IP address and enter the 5-digit passcode that the iStat Server displays. As you can see in the sample screen shot on the right (provided by Bjango), iStat gives you a nicely designed layout for each device that provides live updates for CPU usage, RAM allocation, open hard drive space on each volume, network traffic (in both directions) and, depending on the machine, internal temperatures. Device uptime and system load are also displayed.

The program also allows you to see information about your iPhone: memory usage (with an option to free memory), open storage space, IP addresses in use, uptime, load, your phone’s unique identifier and the wi-fi MAC address. The last two items also have buttons to email those bits of data to whatever address you want.

There are also options for ping and traceroute, but I haven’t had as much luck using those as the normal monitoring features. That is probably more of an AT&T issue than the program, though. When connected to a wi-fi network, it seems to work better. Bonjour is also supported, so it can see devices that are running the server software.

Since my network has been wonky, iStat was a nice discovery to allow me a chance to get out of the building, but still watch what was going on in the server room. The look and feel are perfect and it works as advertised (aside from the ping issues). A steal at $2 – this is an application I would have paid much more for – especially when you look at the price of tools like Intermapper.

Now if Apple would come out with iPhone editions of Server Admin and Workgroup Manager, I’d be all set…

Originally published by DK on February 22, 2009 at 3:50 am

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