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Merrill Aldrich

Technical content about Microsoft data technologies. All opinions expressed are purely my own and do not reflect positions of my employer or associates.

OT: Improbable use for an iPad?

Here's an interesting tidbit: I have noticed an even more pronounced trend toward centralized or virtual workstations lately. Both my wife and I can sit at home, as we are now, at the dining room table and work on our laptops (exciting life, I know!) but both of us are not actually working locally on these machines. We are both remoting into machines at our respective workplaces. Hers is a desktop machine physically located at her desk, while mine is a virtual workstation in my company's data center across the state. What's interesting is that we don't need anything special in terms of hardware to do this. It doesn't matter that my work laptop is a five year old boat anchor, or a netbook, or whatever. Anything with a working display, network, pointer and keyboard would do. It makes good sense from a cost and a security point of view to let the employee roam but keep more of the decent equipment, data and data processing inside the network.

Last week I was walking past someone at the office using an iPad to do just this, and I thought, "Ah ha!" I had thought of the iPad only for entertainment and light internet use, but it might just be a perfect light-duty RDP client too. Display, pointer, keyboard, wireless, browser and secure RDP - check. Not bad.

Published Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:58 PM by merrillaldrich
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WesBrown said:

I use my iPad to RDP into work all the time. It has a built in VPN client and I use iTap for the RDP stuff. Just awesome. Now if I get an alert I don't have to get off the couch to check it out :)

June 2, 2010 5:55 AM

Zack Jones said:

Interesting idea but I would think the lack of a mouse on the iPad would be a pain to deal with. You can get a bluetooth keyboard for the iPad for around $70 so that would make typing a lot easier. I never thought of using my iPad for that purpose but I like it.

June 2, 2010 6:52 AM

Mark Broadbent said:

however many machines I run I tend to always remote across to a central machine. This solves all the issues surrounding customisation, multiple file copies, backups and the like. Really think thin client is starting to re-appear through the back-door which is probably fueled by the rapidly improving remoting technologies.

June 2, 2010 8:24 AM

sql_noob said:

i've used a free RDP program on my iphone and it works pretty well. I've even RDP'd into my PC at work and opened up the KVM program to access our IP KVM switches to get console access via my iphone.

I make up the configurations for all our new SQL servers and i'm going to start including the licenses for advanced iLO. we use HP and Dell has the same thing, but i forgot the name. the iLO website works on the iphone and this will give me faster console access to servers as well as the ability to press the power button remotely via my iphone over 3G.

i also have a virtual Windows 7 instance on our test VMWare installation and it's nice. no need for a roaming profile. But I think virtual instances for all employees are going to be too expensive when compared to buying cheap desktops for everyone.

never used an ipad but after using my iphone i don't forsee any problems. i even prefer the virtual keyboard to the physical one on my blackberry. and with OS 4 coming out next week it's going to be very nice

June 3, 2010 11:24 AM


I love the tablet idea, and will be purchasing a cheaper alternative when the market evolves a little, but other than quickly looking something up I'm not convinced I'd want to "work" on a tablet.  A cheaper notebook would seem more appropriate for now?

By the way, this isn't a new idea, I remember a colleague using a tablet about 5 years ago to RDP into their PC.  It never ceases to amaze me how Apple marketing has brain washed people into thinking this is all new!

June 4, 2010 4:24 AM

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