After wrestling with profiles in dozens of terminal emulators, this week I downloaded a trial of SecureCRT from VanDyke software. It saved me so much friggen time, I bought an otherwise–steep US$99 licence for it without batting an eyelid.

If you manage dozens of machines, SecureCRT's Session Manager is worth its weight in gold-pressed latinum. You can define host hierarchies to perform actions on, automate logins through jumpboxes, and connect with more obscure protocols and ciphers. Most importantly for me, you can also export all your host definitions.

As an aside, PAC Manager is a free and open source alternative on Linux that's almost as good, but it‘s very fiddly to get running on OS X. You need to use XQuartz, build GTK+, and resolve a ton of Perl dependencies. SecureCRT just works.

About my only gripes are it doesn't support RDP (which PAC Manager does), and some of the icons look pretty janky on my retina MacBook Pro. VanDyke issued a user survey a few days after I registered, and I told them as much.

Overall though, a wonderful piece of kit. Over the coming weeks, I’ll likely be posting some tips and tricks I’ve learned in the process of using it. Though if you're a sysadmin, you likely already knew about this software ages ago.