It's about this time every year that millions of workers wonder why they are stuck in offices when they should be sat outside in the sun, preferably outside a pub with a pint in one hand. Well, thanks to software developer GFI that may soon be a reality for sysadmins across the land.

Receiving critical alerts by pager or SMS has been a staple part of the system or network manager's job for yonks, but proactive monitoring hasn't always been as easy. But GFI has augmented its Network Server Monitor (NSM) with a remote Web view that's optimised for mobile phones and other handhelds.

The company says it has no plans to add the ability to manage servers or networks from handheld devices, but this can already be done today via PDA versions of remote control tools such as VNC.

NSM scans local and remote event logs and alerts from the likes of Windows, Exchange and a range of database applications. As you would expect, it can send out alerts automatically, but the Web interface also allows the administrator to remotely check rule status and whether critical services and processes are running correctly.

Alongside the built-in functions, users can also build their custom monitoring scripts for either Windows or Unix. GFI claims that NSM is both intuitive and inexpensive, costing $699 for an unlimited licence.

"The ability to check the status of key server applications from a handheld or a mobile is a must-have feature," says Nick Galea, GFI's CEO. "With it, administrators can increase network up-time and make their life easier."

And if that includes leaving for the pub earlier or running the network from the grandstand at Lords, we're all for it.