To iPad or not to iPad, that is the question for my readers

Even though I’m your typical IT geek, I’m not one to jump on technology just because it’s new. I like to wait until technology stabilizes, prices drop and the lines at your favorite geek store decrease in size. I’m fortunate to have a Macbook Pro, and use it for just about everything I do. While I love my laptop the size and weight have always been a draw back for me. This week I got to visit the Apple store for the first time in I can’t recall, and I fell in love with the iPad2.

I’m seriously thinking about getting one, though a few questions came to mind:

– How much storage do I actually need? Should I max it out or will 16GB get me by?

– Will the lack of flash be a problem?

– How will I like using the parallels or fusion viewer vs. firing up a whole VM?

– Is the iPad a suitable platform for development and managing systems?

– Will I actually use the TV integration features offered by the iPad2 / Apple tv combo?

– Can I just grab my iPad at 3am and deal with system issues?

– How well do the various SSL and IPSEC VPN solutions work with the iPad2?

I’m sure a number of my readers are using iPads, and I would love to get your thoughts on these questions. I’m leaning towards this model, though I’m not really sure I need 64GB of SSD storage. I like to be practical when it comes to things like this, though sometimes more is actually better. :)

11 thoughts on “To iPad or not to iPad, that is the question for my readers”

  1. + 64GB is only for power User, who has Videos, huge datas and too lazy to delete. 32GB is enough for Musics, podcads, pictures, many apps and some video. Check some app in itunes store to get feeling of app size.
    + no, I’m not missing flash. I have Skyfire for the worst case but I need it once time.
    + your have Teamviewer, VNC Viewer or the best one Terminal App (jailbreak needed but you are root on BSD Unix and has ssh to your VM server)
    + managing systems: not realy, development: no.
    + you can forget Apple TV and iPad for TV. You need Mac Mini and make it to media server with opensource software.

    + iPad & iTunes are great HW/SW at home. Used for browsing, email, games (yes, it makes fun like real game WoW..). It’s much more comfortable than my macbook pro with ssd (open monitor, PW tipping = min 10s, iPad 3s).

    I think you should ipad3, so you can get iPad2 with 1/2 price.

    P.S. your write great entries about solaris and linux. Thanks!

  2. + ipad at 3am for monitoring your system (nagios…) is okay, get the reason of system issues with some simply command: top… via ssh is okay but you need your macbookpro to fix the issues. The other solution is taking a real keyboad dock for iPad and you use ipad as monitor only (because to fix the system issues you need only some shell via ssh only)
    + SSL and IPSEC VPN are working Cisco VPN too.
    With the iPad you have a fully POSIX BSD Unix (okay, maybe new compile for ARM CPU for your very special commands, I dont have any)

  3. got the first ipad and to be honest my 4 year old son loves it but it didnt click with me, except for some gaming and watching video…

    using issh/logmein works.. hardly and trying to DO anything on the device just makes me search for a keyboard/mouse

    iphone4 + macbook air is all I need except when I am doing multimonitor work (windows@home/ubuntu@work for sysop/documenting and the usual stuff)

    also love your posts :)

  4. – How much storage do I actually need? Should I max it out or will 16GB get me by?
    => 16 is enough except if you plan to have 10+GB of films at every time.

    – Will the lack of flash be a problem?
    => No
    – How will I like using the parallels or fusion viewer vs. firing up a whole VM?
    => Cumbersome?

    – Is the iPad a suitable platform for development and managing systems?
    => Certainly no and NO (I have a background in both).

    – Will I actually use the TV integration features offered by the iPad2 / Apple tv combo?
    => Probably not.

    – Can I just grab my iPad at 3am and deal with system issues?
    => Besides checking Nagios mail of connection to the monitoring website, not really. POSSIBLE, yes. But extremely cumbersome.

    – How well do the various SSL and IPSEC VPN solutions work with the iPad2?
    => Juniper SSLVPN only work if the VPN admin do serious changes from their side (like no checking though a AD).

    Great for technical documentation (those pesky pdfs) and book, though.

  5. > How much storage do I actually need? Should I max it out or will 16GB get me by?

    I maxed mine out, but if you don’t need to carry your music collection or movies, 16GB is fine

    > Will the lack of flash be a problem?

    It’s a feature. No more crappy video ads

    > How will I like using the parallels or fusion viewer vs. firing up a whole VM?

    Can’t comment. I use the Prompt SSH client and iSSH VNC on a regular basis, however.

    > Is the iPad a suitable platform for development and managing systems?

    Not for development. You can get apps like iStat for basic monitoring (more will come, to be sure) and the web browser is excellent, I have a Zabbix tab open at all times.

    > Will I actually use the TV integration features offered by the iPad2 / Apple tv combo?

    I don’t, but my wife does, specially to play music, and it works very well. We used to have Squeezeboxes, and she never used that because the UI was too confusing for her.

    – Can I just grab my iPad at 3am and deal with system issues?

    Yes. I’ve fixed a crashed system while waiting for my pizza to arrive at a restaurant, using 3G. It’s much lighter than a laptop so you are more likely to carry yours with you all the time.

    – How well do the various SSL and IPSEC VPN solutions work with the iPad2?

    Can’t comment, I only use SSH.

  6. openvpn is not supported if you need to use it, the VPN support is the same of any other iDevice, so if you have access to an iPhone or an iPod Touch you can use it to test if they support your VPN solution.

  7. I think that as a highly professional Linux/UNIX administrator, you’d appreciate the flexibility and the environment of choice that Android platform would give you. Android supports VPN, SSH, VNC, remote controls for your XBMC, MythTV, MPD or DAAP servers, and much more. Choose a Xoom or a Galaxy tab, you’ll see how cool they are.

  8. You only need 64GB is you like to load and play with a lot of apps, music or pictures.. For me personally, the extra cash for the memory won’t be missed for a few months, but the extra memory will be missed at every upgrade.
    Missing flash will be an issue, but not a big issue. Good luck with no flash at the Oracle support site for example.
    You will grab your ipdad at 3:00 am. I routinely do. But must often rdp to a regular desktop, to get by flash and vpn issues. Don’t forget you only get GPS with cellular version.

  9. wish there was a dock connector -> serial connector that I can use to connect the iPad to the serial console on my servers.

    Without that, then I agree with most everyone’s comments about it being cumbersome for managing systems.

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