Remote Server Access for Developers to Improve Application Support

Matt Watson Insights for Dev Managers

Software developers need remote server access to deploy and troubleshoot their applications. Unfortunately, even with today’s focus on DevOps, most of them don’t have the remote server access they need to do so. My team and I built Stackify to give developers the access they need to manage, monitor, and troubleshoot their remote applications.  To give developers what they need without causing unnecessary headaches for operations and IT professionals, we ensured role-based access so developers can access what they need without making unnecessary changes to the production servers.

Remote Server Access

Developers can avoid a lot of rework if they have a means of viewing the health of their applications and the servers on which their applications are running.   Our approach uses a lightweight agent installed on each server that provides developers with the  real-time remote access needed to view server health and files, run remote command and much more. All the information they need is available on a dashboard from which they can monitor servers across multiple locations.  Using the dashboard, developers can download, search & tail log files, view config files, view and search Windows Event Viewer, restart applications and track server and application changes.

To satisfy the needs of today’s enterprises and ISVs, we support Windows, Linux, virtual and cloud servers.  And, we don’t require a VPN connection or firewall changes to use our solution.  Our agent uses an outbound SSL port 443 connection back to our main servers.

Remote Access That Satisfies the Needs of Developers and IT

Software development and operations teams haven’t had the best of working relationships.  Whether or not your organization has a formal DevOps team in place to streamline the outcome of both groups, Stackify enables a “DevOps” approach to application support that developers the remote access that they need while providing operations/IT with the fine-grained security necessary to limit the exact servers being accessed and the type of functions that can be performed. Access to specific file folders and extensions can be limited and data in files can be masked to remove passwords and other sensitive data.

Remote Application Management

I was talking to someone the other day about how developers’ roles are changing as it relates to application health.  While most developers are doing some level of static analysis and unit testing, “to deliver great user experiences” they are being asked to do more functional and performance testing which requires access to a production environment to do effectively.  To meet the needs of modern software development, we designed Stackify to automatically discover web, batch, and background applications. Rather than having to guess which systems an application might run on, we make it easy  for developers  to view all of their applications and the servers on which they are installed. If you have dozens of servers and dozens of applications, just knowing where one application is installed is difficult enough let alone all your applications. Stackify’s automatic discovery of your applications solves this problem. Its dashboards make it easy to see all of applications and their health. Advanced application monitoring is also available to ensure that applications are not only running but behaving correctly.

Distributed Remote Servers

Some solution providers require servers to be installed on-premise at their client’s location. Good examples of this are point of sale systems and accounting software because remotely supporting your application in these scenarios can be very difficult. If Stackify is installed on each of these deployed servers all of the distributed servers and their health can be viewed on a single dashboard. Then, when problems arise, log files can be quickly downloaded and remotely troubleshooting of software is relatively quick and easy.

Bottom Line

If you’re a developer, supporting applications can be very difficult without production access and the right tools. At most companies only a couple developers have remote server access to production and the knowledge to troubleshoot bugs. If you’re like most developers you have to constantly bug those other two developers to provide the access you need to resolve system issues. This causes a bottleneck and typically leads to a backlog of application bugs to be fixed. Stackify provides read-only access to your production servers so more people can fix application bugs. With Stackify you can boost the efficiency of application support by providing remote server access all developers without introducing risks into the actual production systems.

About Matt Watson

Matt is the Founder & CEO of Stackify. He has been a developer/hacker for over 15 years and loves solving hard problems with code. While working in IT management he realized how much of his time was wasted trying to put out production fires without the right tools. He founded Stackify in 2012 to create an easy to use set of tools for developers.