Aperture Technologies has mobilised its Vista datacentre planning and management software. It has taken a Motorola MC50 rugged PDA and added software to help admins inventory their IT gear and track datacentre resources such as electrical power.

Equipment details can be keyed in manually or captured using the device's built-in barcode reader. As information is entered, Aperture's software validates it against a database to make sure it was entered correctly.

The Aperture software can also record the location of equipment, including its position in the rack, what other equipment it is connected to and where it's powered from. The device - called the Aperture Vista Data Capture Handheld - can validate data as it is entered, via Aperture's reference library of equipment details.

If the equipment is on the floor, the Aperture software even checks the position you enter for it to make sure that nothing else is listed as occupying the same floor space.

You still need to buy Aperture's PC-based Vista software, which then models the datacentre, including its space, power and cooling capacity, but Aperture CEO Bill Clifford claimed that using the handheld device - instead of taking notes on paper and then rekeying them - makes Vista quicker and cheaper to implement.

It also allows service providers or contractors to get reliable inventory data without needing physical access to the datacentre, he said, adding: "Datacentre management often struggles to capture accurate information about what is in the datacentre, where it is and what it's connected to.

"The problem is not just a lack of technology, but also a lack of process. Aperture has implemented over 300 datacentre management solutions, and Aperture Vista Data Capture Handheld delivers all our experience and best practice advice into the hands of the datacentre staff."