Browsing Posts tagged Apple in the Enterprise

This week’s blog post is from Reid Lewis, our President and one of our Founders. Reed is also President of the Enterprise Desktop Alliance which has recently changed its name to the Enterprise Device Alliance (EDA). This change was done to reflect the changing nature of computing and computing platforms – Anders

On September 22, GroupLogic and its EDA alliance partners announced that the Enterprise Desktop Alliance has changed its name to the Enterprise Device Alliance to reflect the growing importance of iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices in large organizations. The press release can be found here.

The members of the EDA see this as the natural evolution of our Alliance, meeting the changing requirements of enterprise IT organizations. Since 2008, when our organizations came together in recognition of the growing importance of the Mac in enterprise IT, the landscape has evolved considerably. But the rapidity of the adoption of mobile computing is unlike anything in our collective experience. Thus, it’s natural that the EDA adapted to support organizations’ IT infrastructures as they grapple with this new landscape in which mobile devices will play a major and perhaps even dominant role as the tools to access the power of information technology.

Moving ahead, the Enterprise Device Alliance will work to identify and address the challenges faced by IT organizations when they deploy iPhones and iPads in their organizations. Existing EDA offerings such as our Resource Center will now include material on mobility solutions such as mobile device management (MDM), mobile file management (MFM), identity and access management (IAM), IT service management (ITSM) and other solutions that are important to IT organizations. The Alliance is dedicated to adding new solutions that address issues that are unique to enterprise mobility.

EDA webinars, whitepapers, articles, surveys, and presence at industry events will include solutions for iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices as well as the Mac. In these materials, we’ll explore the issues that confront organizations as they plan and deploy these mobile devices and explore how solutions from our companies can help.

The EDA is also doing a survey on mobile device usage. If you are interesting in participating you can find the link here .

We’d value your feedback as to what’s important to you, so let us know what’s on your mind by writing to us at info@grouplogic.com, or posting a comment on this blog, or on Twitter @grouplogic.

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.

There is no doubt that security is one of the key topics raised by customers when discussing their enterprise mobility strategies. One of the first things I would say about mobile security is that good mobile security starts with good overall security. What I mean by that is that mobile security has to be viewed in the greater context of an overall security infrastructure within an enterprise. Why? There are several reasons, but scaling and streamlining management is one, setting a universal set of policies is another (although there needs to be flexibility here), and to address the notion that a security plan is only as good as its weakest link. So you can’t view mobile security in isolation, especially given the current and projected proliferation of these devices and their increasing usage.

From a mobility perspective, many of these discussions start with Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions such as those from Mobile Iron, Good Technology, Sybase, AirWatch, Absolute, JAMF, and others. However, there is also a need to provide secure Mobile File Management (MFM). Just like enterprises need to provide simple and secure file access to their desktop and laptop users, they also need to do that on mobile devices. This means an MFM solution requires several things:

1. Providing encryption in-transit as well as on the device
2. Integrating with existing security infrastructure, such as Active Directory
3. Giving IT the management capabilities to turn functions on/off to meet corporate security policies. For example, the ability to turn on/off the “open in” function.
4. Remote wipe so that the application and its data can be permanently deleted if the device is lost, stolen or compromised.
5. Having control of the file servers/storage resources themselves.
6. Ability to audit both management and user activities.

And there is much more of course but those are some of the basics to think about. If you are interested in hearing more about mobilEcho, we are holding a live demo/webinar/chat on October 12 at 11am Eastern (4pm GMT). The registration is here: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/523964858 . This is a general overview of mobilEcho but highlights many of the enterprise security features as well.

We have been holding monthly webinars and live demos on mobilEcho for a few months now, and we have received a tremendous response (even for what would be considered down months in July and August). One of the things we learned pretty early on is that there is no substitute for seeing the product in action and that is why we these live demo sessions have been so popular (and why we do the 21-day free trial). Our mobilEcho Product Manager, Brian Ulmer, runs through a few quick slides then spends the majority of the time demo’ing the client and management capabilities of mobilEcho. And we answer questions via chat. Hope you can join us.

You can follow me on Twiitter @andersgl and you can follow GroupLogic @grouplogic.

In my last post, I talked about Mobile File Management (MFM) and why I thought it was important (Essentially, it makes up for the lack of an iPad file system, amongst other things). One question that comes up occasionally with our customers is, “how are you different than mobile device management (MDM)? Do I need both?” They are, in fact, very different; addressing very different needs. I would also say that they are very complementary solutions and for an enterprise, they are both core to any enterprise mobility strategy.

Just by way of short definitions. MDM helps organizations to manage, secure and monitor the mobile HW and OS. MFM provide secure and managed access to corporate files and content. I am sure some would quibble over these oversimplified definitions but I am just trying to put a general framework around it. The point is that they are not competitive and address very different customer needs. In discussions with customers we will naturally hear about their use of various MDM vendors such as Mobile Iron, Good Technology, Sybase, AirWatch, Absolute, JAMF, and others.

The point I am making is that as enterprise mobility continues to grow there are a number of core functions that need to be there. Some of them are obvious (ex. Email). Others are not as obvious yet. But it is very clear from the conversations we have with enterprise customers that there needs to be a whole ecosystem of functionality around mobility In other words, a group of core applications that are applicable to just about every enterprise user and organization. This is obviously still evolving although some of the pieces already exist but it is fragmented. My expectation is that enterprises will be looking to address necessary management and security functions in a number of different areas. MDM and MFM are but two critical areas, and from my perspective, they are completely complementary.

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.

I watch CNBC just about every morning. Either at the gym, at home or on the road in the hotel. I always find something interesting to take away from it (or at least pass the time on the treadmill). Yesterday they had a gentleman on from Comscore talking about web traffic and where it comes from. The discussion was about US connected device traffic. This is non-computer devices, so smartphones and tablets. 36% of the traffic goes to Android Phones, 24% goes to iPhone, and 22% and iPad. The remainder is a hodge-podge of smartphones and tablets. He also stated that about 97% of all tablet traffic comes from iPads. I am not surprised by these numbers but it astounding to see how much iPad has grown and the market power it as.

The real question is when will other tablets emerge as a viable competitor to iPad? I am no expert on this but it seems to me that the competition has emerged already (RIM Playbook, several Android tablets, and others) and so far seem to be having minimal impact on iPad sales. iPad keeps chugging along and I expect this to continue for some time. I am mostly speaking from an enterprise perspective here where all the conversations we have with customers is about iPad, at least on the tablet side. I keep waiting for a new generation of Android tablets that may perhaps change this dynamic. On the smartphone the dynamic is certainly different. Clearly there is a fair share of Blackberry users still out there. But our discussions are mostly around iPhone and Android. Now admittedly since we are initially targeting iOS devices it’s natural that those are the discussions we get involved in. But we talk to organizations, from the very large to small, and iPad is top of mind in enterprises.

These situations change and certainly competition for iPad will emerge. It just may take a bit longer than many expect. From our point of view, choice is good for customers and our objective is to support customer with whatever device they choose. mobilEcho, and more broadly, Mobile File Management (MFM), is not just about supporting one device but about cross-platform support of heterogeneous device environments.

Anders Lofgren, VP Product Management

Guest blog post this week by our CTO Derick Naef and his thoughts on last week’s Apple WWDC – Anders. Thanks, Derick!

Apple’s Vision and What it Means for iPads in the Enterprise

I attended my first Apple Worldwide Developer Conference 20 years ago, and even though Steve Jobs would not return for another 7 years, the keynote presentation was always a highly anticipated, electric event.  This year was no different – where else do you see people campout overnight on a San Francisco street to get a good view?  Where do you have people lining up four deep so that the line doesn’t wrap around a city block before the big event? 

For enterprise customers, I think this year’s keynote was more significant than the last few years’ speeches – up there with the unveiling of iOS or the AppStore in 2008.  In his presentation of Lion, iOS 5, and the new iCloud service, Steve Jobs presented Apple’s clear vision for how users will work with documents in the future – and it has important implications for the enterprise.

Jobs said their studies show new users do great amounts of learning to operate Macs until a key point – they start interacting with the file system.  Then all bets are off and the learning curve goes straight up.  Apple’s vision is to completely hide the file system from the user and the iPad is the ultimate example of this – there is no file system from the user’s point of view. Apps are like tiny walled gardens that deal with documents and content only, and the functionality of iCloud mimics this – it focuses on sharing content between apps on different devices, not a cloud file system. Mac OS X 10.7 Lion is moving in this direction as well, and it is a bold vision.

Our corporate, education and government customers have thousands of file servers, with tens of millions of files.  They have complicated, creative workflows that involve interaction with many users and applications.  They deal with document management systems.  They have strict security, regulatory and governance requirements regarding how information is accessed and protected.  They will not be able to embrace this vision of a file system-less future unless it integrated into this infrastructure.

Does this mean Apple doesn’t care about iPads and Macs in the Enterprise?  No – far from it.  In discussions with Apple field reps, our partners and resellers, it is clear that the enterprise adoption of Macs, and iPads in particular, is a key focus of Apple.  Companies in every industry imaginable are piloting iPads – and it is clear that when those pilots conclude, the demand generation for iPads in the enterprise will skyrocket.  I have repeatedly heard talk about pilots of 10-50 iPads increasing to 4,000+ in deployment within 12 months.

Apple has created a game changing new platform that is on the cusp of revolutionizing corporate and education IT.  Apple’s vision for a file system-less future is compelling, but it needs to have tools to fill in the gap between the vision and the reality.  There is a vibrant green field opportunity to help fill this gap, and this is the opportunity that GroupLogic’s products, such as mobilEcho and ExtremeZ-IP, fulfill.

Derick Naef, CTO