With Apple iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices booming within the enterprise, IT organizations need to ensure secure data delivery and reliable performance is across these devices. Enterprises now require mobile WAN optimization products to ensure business continuity and high performance for employees equipped with mobile devices.
The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is one of the main drivers of the need for mobile WAN optimization. “Employees are becoming dispersed,” said Andre Kindness, senior analyst at Forrester Research. “As less employees work out of the campus environment, they are empowering themselves by using their own devices,” he said.
As the number of branch offices increase, coupled with BYOD, vendors should be thinking mobile WAN offerings, Kindness said.
Mobile WAN optimization for any device
Vendors have been offering varying degrees of mobile WAN optimization to their customers, but most have needed to be tied back to the branch office hardware or data center, Kindness said. WAN optimization vendor Circadence recently launched Circadence MVO for Mobile, a new mobile WAN optimization product that operates independently of branch or data center appliances.
“From a mobility perspective, [Circadence MVO for mobile] clears the last hurdle by untethering users from particular areas.” Kindness said. “The user can be optimized no matter where they are.”
The MVO for Mobile software supports Windows Mobile and Linux mobile devices. It also includes a software development kit that allows Android and Apple iOS app developers to write mobile applications that Circadence can optimize, according to Rob Shaughnessy, CTO of Circadence.
MVO Mobile can be installed onto mobile computers and smartphones and provides secure connections to corporate WANs through both public and private networks, said Shaughnessy. MVO for Mobile, like the full MVO suite, is managed via a web-based console, and continuously monitors network connections and automatically adjusts as need be. MVO for Mobile is the first mobile WAN optimization product that supports Apple IOS devices, Shaughnessy said.
Mobile WAN optimization is not new to the industry. Riverbed has its Steelhead Mobile software, used primarily for both Mac and Windows laptops. “Our product development has been driven by customer needs in providing IT performance solutions that offer LAN-like access to corporate files and applications no matter where they are in the world,” said Miles Kelly, senior director of product marketing at Riverbed.
While rich content -- including enterprise applications and video -- can be viewed via Steelhead Mobile on a laptop, the product does not support smartphones or tablets.
The growth of business applications used in the mobile environment, as well as the complexity of media, have enterprises asking for more mobile WAN optimization offerings, Shaughnessy said. With the Circadence MVO for mobile, network managers can offer increase performance on mobile devices while decreasing the load on the infrastructure, he said.
Mobile WAN optimization: Future direction for vendors
Mobile WAN optimization does not come without challenges. Enterprises struggle with management of the infrastructure, Kindness noted, because different job functions dictate different ways of using mobile applications. While HR employees may use email and move an application like PowerPoint across to one another, an engineer might use CAD. As a result, network engineers must know their users in order to optimize efficiently in a mobile environment.
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Security is also a concern for smaller devices that can be lost or stolen more easily than a laptop, noted Circadence’s Shaughnessy. MVO for Mobile offers security and compliance with no encryption manipulation -- which maintains end-to-end security independent of the application being delivered -- a necessity for enterprises and organizations held to tight regulations, such as the healthcare industry. “Security in motion is a huge aspect of mobile WAN optimization,” Shaughnessy said.
While hardware is still the main focus for many WAN optimization vendors, mobile WAN optimization could not come at a better time, Kindness said. Vendors will begin to embrace mobility in the same way that enterprises have.
“From a user perspective, this is a wireless world,” he said. “Because this is the direction [enterprises] are heading, vendors like Circadence are going to be covering all their bases so they can offer enterprises what they need to support its changing workforce.”
With adoption of greater mobility evident within the enterprise, mobile WAN optimization offerings are just at tip of the iceberg, Kindness noted. As enterprises become more dispersed, hiring employees who rarely visit a corporate office, the need for mobile WAN solutions will only grow, he said.
“Employees are doing more and more from their phones and mobile devices,” he said. “Vendors are going to work to offer products geared toward mobile devices.”
Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, News Writer