The vendor has also given DSView 3 users the ability to reset passwords, edit batch files and handle other functions from their handhelds, giving IT workers "the ability to respond to unplanned issues regardless of where they are," said Steve Geffen, a product manager at Avocent. "It certainly provides them a safety net."

The handheld management feature uses the same authentication process as logging in to systems from a desktop does, so it does not add significantly to security worries, he added.

Avocent acquired the handheld management technology when it bought Sonic Mobility in 2004. but didn't want to sell the handheld technology as a stand-alone product. "We really want to provide a complete data centre solution," Geffen said.

There are a number of vendors that support monitoring of systems via handhelds, but Dennis Drogseth, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, said he thinks Avocent's out-of-band server management capability is a unique offering at this point. "It is a natural extension of their core product offering," Drogseth said.