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In the last few weeks I have written about the complementary relationship between Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile File Management (MFM). As a proof point to that, yesterday we announced a new partnership with MobileIron (press release is here), a leading MDM vendor and the innovator in enterprise management and security for mobile devices and apps, and we are one of the first companies to join their MobileIron AppConnect program. This partnership spans marketing, development and sales.

MobileIron Appconnect is loosely a mobile device management framework which allows enterprises to secure mobile apps and data. Essentially this allows apps, such as our mobilEcho, to operate within the MobileIron ecosystem with all the security and management capabilities inherent with MobileIron. This will not only provide more secure mobile computing but will also greatly enhance management capabilities through integration.

We are already seeing (and actively engaged with) enterprises who want to have mobilEcho as part of their enterprise mobility strategy and see it as very complementary to MDM. Some of the organizations have already bought MDM and considering mobilEcho as an add on. Others are considering MDM for the first time and they see mobilEcho as a natural extension of that effort. Our partnership with MobileIron is an outgrowth of this demand and a desire on the part of both companies to deliver complete solutions to customers.

Over the next few months I will be keeping you updated how customers are leveraging this partnership to provide an integrated MDM and MFM environment and experience for their users.

With the increased usage of mobile devices has also come a host of new needs and new capabilities. Certainly the emergence of Apple’s App Store and all its applications has changed the way people, both consumers and enterprise users, utilize and interact with applications. However, as much as things change, things also stay the same. Most users, be they consumer or enterprise, have a need for email. It is a core function that you expect from a computing device. Web access through a web browser is another. And if you have email you probably need some kind of address book/contact manager, and you may as well throw in a calendar in there as well so you can keep track of your appointments and meetings. I would call these core functions of any computing platform. And lo and behold, the mobile computing devices so popular today offer this functionality.

But there is one core function that has been completely under-served, and perhaps said more strongly, completely missed. And that is file access. How do mobile devices access files that you created that sit on laptops, desktops, corporate file servers or even NAS (network attached storage) devices? That is where Mobile File Management (MFM) solutions step in. Essentially, MFM solutions allow users to get access to files. For us this is an enterprise focus and we address it with our mobilEcho solution. What makes mobilEcho an enterprise MFM solution is that it not only provides the simplicity for the end-user but more importantly, provides the security and management need by IT organizations.

So why is MFM important? Whether we like it or not we still live in a world of files. And for decades we have been producing files – and spent plenty of money doing it. Now we have a wave of new mobility devices – the iPad being the best example of all. So the question is, “how do you access all those files, all that content, which you work with on a daily basis on your laptop or desktop, from your iPad?” In other words, how do we get mobile file access to files sitting on corporate servers, just like I have access to the file servers from my laptop or desktop? Now, we are an enterprise company (for over 20 years now) so we are obviously not just concerned about the access but also about providing safe, secure, and managed access to files – whether they be documents, spreadsheets, presentations or other formats.

For us, this is what Mobile File Management is all about. The ability to access and manage files from a mobile device.

This is the fourth and final use case (for now) that we are publishing. All of these will also be available up on our web site shortly. And as we gather more insight from customers and how they are using mobilEcho we will publish those as well – Anders.

Collaboration within enterprises is at an all-time high with the advent of new technologies to accelerate the process. Enterprise mobility introduces a new set of issues as users are no longer locked to their desktop or laptop. The introduction of new devices – tablets and smartphones – has necessitated a new set of technologies to address the issue of anytime, anywhere access.

With some mobile devices, like iPad and iPhone, the lack of a native file system or method to distribute files, and different versions of files, to a group of people, has inhibited any true mobile collaboration within a team. Many users, lacking a real solution to the problem, found workarounds in using consumer synching services which provide some, albeit limited, ability to collaborate across teams and different lines of businesses. However, although simple to use, consumer synching services not only limit IT’s ability to manage file sharing and access, but pose a severe security risk for violating corporate governance and compliance policies.

An alternative option? Build custom applications for various mobile-driven collaboration efforts. But much of the collaboration needs to be done on standard file types and is occasionally informal in nature. Custom apps may not support all file types nor provide the simple methods that users are accustomed to when working from their desktop or laptop. In addition, this approach requires additional cost which usually involves a long time to market as well as custom development and maintenance which results in skyrocketing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), limited return and an unproductive user learning curve.

The Solution: mobilEcho
mobilEcho is the industry’s first and only Mobile File Management (MFM) software for enterprise mobile device users. mobilEcho enables enterprise IT to provide secure access to enterprise file servers for users of mobile devices like iPad and iPhone, eliminating the need for work-arounds like emailing files to yourself or storing critical enterprise files in unsecure consumer synch services.

Collaboration usually takes the form of working on particular files – documents, presentations, spreadsheets and other file types. And it can take place anywhere, any time. The benefit of mobilEcho is that it extends the office beyond its physical four walls, and gives users the same access to files on corporate file servers that they have in the office. There is no need to develop a new mobile application, no need to buy new storage and servers to make files accessible solely for mobile devices. GroupLogic’s mobilEcho works on your existing file servers and files to give users the same access they have on their desktops and laptops.

With mobilEcho, employees can use shared folders to store files for collaboration. The files can then be accessed from anywhere, whether it’s through a desktop, laptop or mobile device. Users can review and edit files from a mobile device, and, then, save the file back to the shared folder. Employees can even save a file locally to the device, if IT opts to configure that permission, so they can work on it offline.

Significant productivity can be gained as mobile employees now have the same access they have in the office. The team is able to move forward with projects regardless of where the employee is. In addition, IT is empowered with the security and management capabilities it needs to effectively implement and administer the solution. mobilEcho addresses the security requirements by providing key features such as encryption, integration with Active Directory, and remote wipe capability. Further, mobilEcho addresses management requirements by providing an array of administrator-configurable settings and policies through its server-side management console.

Benefits to the user and the enterprise:
• Improved productivity as employees can now collaborate anytime, anywhere in a very simple, familiar manner
• Access to critical, detailed information on-the-go that goes beyond the packaged templates of third-party mobile applications.
• Improved collaboration between employees by making the mobile device an extension of the physical office.
• Ensures proper security and compliance for sensitive business data.
• Provides key management functionality to provide the appropriate end-user functions.

The second in a series of use cases we are seeing with mobilEcho customers. Will publish a third in the next week or so – Anders

New portable computing devices like iPad have re-invigorated the enterprise move toward the “paperless” office. In addition to benefits like improved collaboration and reduced IT Management costs, many companies are looking at tablets to help them with corporate-wide Green initiatives that reduce carbon footprint through the elimination of paper consumption.

One of the obvious enterprise areas where iPad and other tablets can help reduce paper consumption and promoter a leaner and greener business is with participants in meetings and presentations. Instead of printing out reams of papers, which is both time consuming and not eco-friendly, participants can use iPads as an alternative to paper.
There is no doubt there are clear benefits to moving to an electronic format but this also necessitates that a number of functions become available. For example, for meetings of a confidential nature there has to be a way to remotely wipe files from an iPad or to limit the user’s ability to move or copy a file. Another example is the ability to update documents for meetings that are held regularly. Files need to be updated centrally and then easily accessed by participants.

 

The Solution: mobilEcho
Meeting material can take many forms – documents, spreadsheets, presentations and other formats – any meeting material solution needs to support these formats. GroupLogic’s mobilEcho provides the flexibility to address most file formats and provides the key functionality to provide the security and management of meeting materials that is required by enterprises. mobilEcho is the industry’s first and only Mobile File Management (MFM) software for enterprise iPad users. mobilEcho enables enterprise IT to provide secure access to enterprise file servers for iPad users, eliminating the need for work-arounds like emailing files to yourself or storing critical enterprise files in unsecure consumer synch services.

Meeting administrators can simply utilize “meeting folders” on file servers to upload meeting materials. Users can then access these files from their iPad by connecting to the “meeting folder.” The administrators can decide what level of access the users should have – read only, ability to store or not store locally on iPad, ability to open up files in other apps, etc. In short, mobilEcho provides the key management and security needs for the enterprise, while also providing a very simple method for participants to access files without any training necessary.

Benefits to the user and the enterprise:
• Supports Green Initiatives and carbon footprint reductions.
• Eliminates the costs of printing and paper.
• Simplified updating of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
• Easily enforce access rights and permissions to meeting materials for assured policy compliance.
• Improved security policy and document management regardless of lost or compromised devices with mobilEcho features like read-only and remote wipe.
• Reduced IT management time and headaches with one cohesive solution.
• Deployment and scalability guaranteed with advanced and intuitive management tools that provide immediate integration with existing ecosystem.

As noted in my last posting, this is the first of several mobilEcho use cases we will be publishing over the next few weeks. These will demonstrate just a few of the ways that customers are using mobilEcho in their enterprises. Today, these are more or less more horizontally-focused but over time we expect to see vertical-focused usage as well – Anders

Empowering Decision Making with Anytime, Anywhere Access
From the small business to the Fortune 500, an enterprise’s mobility strategy is driven often by the earliest adopters of the latest and greatest mobile devices and platforms—senior executives. Providing mobile access to crucial applications like email and Personal Information Management (PIM) is a required component of enabling anytime business communication for the management team. Also essential, but not often provided by IT because of security concerns, is mobile access to corporate files and content that are required to operate the business, such as documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more.

When it comes to supporting iPad, the challenge for IT organizations increases exponentially. The popular tablet lacks a native file system which makes accessing, interacting and moving files from a corporate network to the device in a simple, secure and managed manner difficult. To further complicate things, many users resort to work-around solutions that compromise corporate security such as storing corporate assets in third-party consumer synching solutions or emailing files to themselves. These work-arounds are extremely dangerous as they expose the enterprise to data leakage and other security risks, raising questions about regulatory compliance and corporate governance. Further, they are simply not productive for the end-user nor are scalable for the enterprise.

The Solution: mobilEcho
The enterprise mobility challenges faced by IT organizations in providing mobile file access are not only common, but frustrating. Most IT managers are struggling to answer the simple question: How do I provide a simple solution for the end-user, as well as a solution that meets the security and management criteria of the IT organization?

The answer is mobilEcho, the industry’s first and only secure Mobile File Management (MFM) product for enterprise iPad users.

With mobilEcho, enterprises can take full advantage of the power and freedom of iPad by providing access to corporate files, such as documents, spreadsheets, presentations and other file types. It meets the simplicity requirements for the end-user by using a very familiar interface paradigm that requires no training. On the security front, mobilEcho provides key features such as encryption, integration with Active Directory, and remote wipe capability. And, it addresses IT management requirements by providing an array of administrator-configurable settings and policies through its server-side management console that keeps deployment time under ten minutes and on-going cost of ownership low. In addition, mobilEcho’s support for Network Reshares and Distributed File Systems (DFS) ensure that the largest organizations can deploy globally and support increased use of iPad in their enterprises. With mobilEcho, executives can now access files just like they would with a laptop or desktop. Furthermore, they are able to store files locally on iPad to be accessed offline. For example, one can download documents before a flight and then access those files offline while on the plane. mobilEcho is not only a secure mobile access solution but also a secure mobile file storage solution that promotes efficiency without sacrificing security.

Benefits to the user and the enterprise:
• Anytime, anywhere access to critical corporate documents
• Easy and intuitive to use for added productivity and instant communication of senior management
• Improved collaboration between business units with real time information.
• Enforcement of proper security and compliance for sensitive business data.
• Simple and fast deployment and configuration for ease of use.
• Instant integration with Active Directory ensures security and user policies are enforced.

Today, I’ve asked Reid Lewis, our President and Founder, to share a few thoughts on our latest ExtremeZ-IP 7.2 release – Anders

Yesterday Apple released Lion, an important upgrade to Mac OS X, and GroupLogic is ready with an enhanced version of ExtremeZ-IP. The new ExtremeZ-IP has been improved and extensively tested confirming it supports Apple’s improvements to Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) including its improved security and all of the many functions of Lion that ExtremeZ-IP delivers to Mac users connecting to Windows servers. If your organization supports Mac clients with Windows servers and Active Directory, ExtremeZ-IP is the only solution that can deliver the complete Mac OS X experience integrating Mac and Windows users on Windows infrastructure.

GroupLogic engineers have been working with Apple engineers for months testing Lion with ExtremeZ-IP to ensure that your users can upgrade to Lion with complete confidence that their Windows file server solution will continue to provide unmatched performance and trouble free compatibility. This is the seventh major Mac OS X upgrade that we’ve supported with ExtremeZ-IP and we’re excited that Mac OS X Lion is faster and easier than ever. We’re all enjoying Lion’s cool-iOS inspired features that we’ve been experiencing on our iPads and iPhones. If you’re running older Mac OS systems, I’m happy to report that ExtremeZ-IP is backwards compatible from Lion and Snow Leopard all the way back to Mac OS 9.2 so all of your Macs can safely co-exisit with Macs running Lion.

ExtremeZ-IP bring Lion compatibility to all modern Windows versions including Server versions 2003 through 64-bit 2008 R2. ExtremeZ-IP has proven integration with the enterprise features of Windows Server including Active Directory managed permissions (often a source of trouble for Mac users with SMB), Windows Search, Distributed File System (DFS), Clustering for failover, backup solutions and the wide range of hardware choices and virtualization options available for Windows.

As we have seen over the past couple years, Apple continues to improve AFP, maintaining it’s file copying and directory listing speed advantages over the SMB (Windows file sharing protocol). And since Apple doesn’t control the SMB protocol or the SMB server on Windows, it’s unable to bring its new ideas to SMB making AFP the only way to get the full Mac OS X experience. For example, Apple has had to remove Time Machine support for the SMB protocol because of it’s inability to evolve the SMB protocol to support the needs of this important function. The speedy searches delivered by Network Spotlight are still missing when searching non-Apple servers via SMB while Network Spotlight has been supported by ExtremeZ-IP for years.

At GroupLogic, we hear daily from our customers that they rely on the compatibility and performance of AFP as delivered by ExtremeZ-IP, and the support and rapid response to maintenance issues that they know they can get from GroupLogic.

I encourage you to plan your migration path to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion as soon as practical and be sure to upgrade to ExtremeZ-IP 7.2 first.

As always, please share your thoughts and suggestions with us by writing info@grouplogic.com.

This past week we launched mobilEcho, our Mobile File Management solution for enterprise iPad users, at TechCrunch Disrupt (http://disrupt.techcrunch.com/). I’d say by all accounts, our launch was a success. We also had numerous interactions at Disrupt with a diverse group of people fellow entrepreneurs, vendors, VCs, enduser, developers, press and others. We were kept very busy and it was very gratifying to see all the nodding heads. People understood the problems with the current state of mobile file access instantly and saw how mobilEcho addressed it.

And most important, we saw a tremendous response from our customers and potential customers. Apple’s iPad has penetrated numerous enterprises and whether its corporate owned or employee owned iPads, mobile file management is seen as a core functionality that needs to be offered to all employees. mobilEcho provides the simplicity, security and management enterprises and IT organizations require.

On TechCrunch Disrupt specifically, the show was great overall with a lot of interesting companies and many great discussions. I did get a chance to walk around and check a few things out but it’s almost a bit of a blur at this point! There were a few things I did like, though. One was Tabbles (www.tabbles.net ) which is basically a way to tag files and other content, like emails, and then organize and find this stuff in a new way. There is a good idea in here. Another one that I liked, but I have to admit, it’s more of a personal interest, was yumm (www.yumm.com).  Which, being a bit of a foodie is really appealing – the app allows me to aggregate all my recipes from various sites (foodnetwork, all recipes, epicurious, chowhound, etc.) into one space. Then it allows me to do a lot of cool stuff with it, like sharing with others, creating shopping lists, creating a food calendar for the week, etc. Again, I am probably selling it short so take a look yourself.

There were plenty of other interesting companies but I just did not get around to see everything (sorry). TechCrunch is definitely a unique event, where anyone interested in what is hot (and not) in technology can see what is about to shift the tech landscape. Plus, with all the startups, it’s a fun place to be. A lot of people with some really cool ideas. Worth checking out if this is up your alley. There’s one coming up in San Francisco in the Fall.

Anders Lofgren, VP Product Management

Today Apple announced the end of life for the Xserve family of rack mount server hardware.  What does this mean for you, the Xserve customer?

Apple recommends that you upgrade your Xserve hardware to Mac Pro or Mac Mini hardware. These systems support nearly all of the software functions of Xserve, but neither provides the data center ready form factor and remote LOM management functionality of Xserve.  Given those limitations, you may decide to migrate to another server platform such as Windows or Linux.

If you decide to migrate to Windows, Group Logic can help as we provide a range of software tools to support Macs connecting to Windows servers and support those tools with a strong technical support team well versed in multi-platform solutions. In response to customer feedback, we’ve also modified our pricing to provide flexible licensing options for a range of enterprise requirements and launched a new education pricing program for campus-wide deployments.

The Windows ecosystem has a wide range of tools that support your Xserve transition and supports nearly all of the critical functions that you need to replace.  Group Logic and our partners in the Enterprise Desktop Alliance are just part of the extended ecosystem for integrating Macs into the infrastructure.

For more details on this announcement and your alternatives to Xserve, see our Xserve End of Life – Frequently Asked Questions page.

If you have questions or suggestions about your migration, please call us at +1.703.528.155 or email info@grouplogic.com.