Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Harry Trott, Ashish Nanjiani, Moshe Kranc, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Mobile IoT, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Article

Using the Cloud to Enable Next-Generation Enterprise Mobility Solutions

Leveraging the economics of the cloud

Mobile computing has drastically impacted the social, commercial and even philosophical aspects of our society. Seeing the explosion of mobile applications in the consumer world, companies can't avoid dreaming about revolutionizing their businesses with the presence of mobile applications. The ability of extending business capabilities to mobile devices leads the priority list of most CIOs. However, the path to enterprise mobility goes beyond building sporadic applications for specific line of business systems. Companies embarking on the enterprise mobility journey need cohesive strategies for important mobile infrastructure aspects such as device management, identity, security, and monitoring, that are required to provide a true enterprise mobility experience.

The good news is that, as an industry, we have been addressing those challenges for a few years through platforms such as Research in Motion (RIM) enterprise server. The bad news is that the RIM model has severe limitations when adapted to modern mobile technologies. The good news is that we have various modern solutions to address those challenges. The bad news is that the solutions might seem a bit radical at first. The good news is that today's solution to enterprise mobility has been proven for years in the consumer world.

The good news is that you are reading this article.

Traditional Enterprise Mobility
As mentioned in the previous section, mobility is not a strange element to modern enterprise. For the last decade, companies have embraced different models to expose certain business capabilities through mobile devices. As effective as some of those models have been, they've all failed to quickly keep up with the wave of changes caused by the release of the first iPhone and the IOs stack. Fundamentally, IOs changed the game by mainstreaming the concept of application development and providing developers with the tools and infrastructure necessary to develop, market and commercialize new applications. This model was quickly followed by other mobile platforms rapidly making the predominant model to deliver a mobile experience in modern devices.

Witnessing the explosion of mobile applications in the consumer world, various enterprises decided to start building specific mobile applications to provide different business capabilities. However, they quickly realized that there is a fundamental difference between building mobile applications for the consumer and enterprise markets. While in the consumer model, each application operates in a well-defined level of isolation from other applications; in the enterprise space, applications need to share a common infrastructure in areas such as security, data sharing, monitoring, and provisioning. Orchestrating that foundation for enterprise mobile applications represents the biggest challenge of the current generation of enterprise mobility solutions.

Why is this?

The current solutions in the enterprise mobility space dangerously resemble the RIM enterprise server model. Even though this model has proven successful in previous years, it presents some serious limitations when applied to modern mobile applications. Figure 1 resembles the traditional model of enterprise mobility.

Figure 1:  Traditional Enterprise Mobility Model

Without going into too many details of each one of the technical components illustrated in the previous figure, we can quickly identity some major challenges with the previous model:

  • Complex: With current technologies, implementing this model requires assembling a fairly complex infrastructure in your corporate network in order to enable the capabilities listed below.
  • Hard to Scale Globally: Given its dependencies on on-premise infrastructure, the traditional enterprise mobility model is designed to work within the same network, or tightly connected networks, but it's almost impossible to enable it across disparate geographic locations.
  • Proprietary Frameworks: Most of the existing enterprise mobility platforms require the use of proprietary, and not highly popular, IDEs and frameworks in order to leverage the capabilities of the platform.
  • Unfriendly to HTML5: HTML5 is completely changing the way we think of and develop mobile applications. At the same time, most enterprise mobile frameworks are almost exclusively based on supporting native applications and provide very limited functionalities to embrace HTML5.
  • Complex to Update: Given the nature of enterprise mobile applications, performing updates to the underlying platform will result in major challenges for the users and applications relying on it.
  • Closed to Third-Party Applications: With the proliferation of mobile development communities, it's very common for companies to want to adopt applications developed for third parties as part of their portfolio. However, this is completely impossible given the closed nature of traditional enterprise mobility platforms.

In order to address some of the aforementioned challenges, we need a simpler, more open model that removes the constraints of proprietary frameworks and infrastructures. The rapidly emerging set of cloud computing services and infrastructures offer a unique set of capabilities to address these challenges and enable the next generation of enterprise mobility solutions.

A Better Model: Taking Enterprise Mobility to the Cloud
During the last few years, cloud infrastructures have pushed the frontiers of software development to areas never imagined before. In the context of enterprise mobility, the cloud computing model and services present a unique model to simplify the challenges of the traditional enterprise mobility model and to open new possibilities in the space.

Conceptually, an enterprise cloud mobility platform removes the complexities of the mobile enterprise server from your corporate network by placing it in a cloud infrastructure where it can leverage various cloud services to enable its native capabilities. Figure 2 illustrates this concept.

Figure 2: Enterprise Cloud Mobility Platform

Even though the previous model might seem a bit futuristic, we can quickly identity some major advantages compared to traditional enterprise mobility solutions.

Simple
A cloud enterprise mobility infrastructure represents a higher simpler model from the infrastructure standpoint than its on-premise counterpart. Think about it, with this new approach, the components of the mobile enterprise server will reside in a cloud platform that won't require any infrastructure behind the firewall. More specifically, in this model organizations will only be responsible for deploying the portion of the applications that interact with the on-premise data such as web services and message queues.

Globally Available
Using a cloud-based infrastructure will guarantee the global availability of our enterprise mobile server. This capability will allow organizations to expand their mobile capabilities across different divisions potentially located in different geographic regions.

Elastically Scalable
Scalability is one of the biggest limitations of traditional enterprise mobility platforms. Leveraging a cloud infrastructure will inherently make our enterprise mobile server elastically scalable. This means that we will be able to add computing, storage and other functional instances as needed in our enterprise mobile solution.

HTML5 Friendly
HTML5 is highly supported by the majority of, if not all, Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions. This capability enables our cloud enterprise mobility platform to take full advantage of HTML5 websites as a complement to native applications.

Transparently Updatable
A cloud-based enterprise mobility platform will inherit all benefits of the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. Among those benefits is the ability to perform continuous updates without the need to install any on-premise software, which will make a significant difference in a rapidly changing context such as mobile computing.

Open
As any other cloud infrastructure, a cloud enterprise mobility model should be automatically open and interoperable with heterogeneous applications. The reason openness is a relevant concept when it comes to enterprise mobility is simply because it facilitates incorporating third-party applications as part of the enterprise mobile platform.

Economically Affordable
Given the economic characteristics of cloud platforms, an enterprise cloud mobility platform can be offered at a really affordable price to small business or big enterprises. This highly contrasts with the almost prohibitive cost of most traditional enterprise mobile platforms, which frequently limit its adoption to very big enterprises.

Enterprise Mobility in the Cloud: Dream or Reality?
As explained in the previous section, leveraging a cloud infrastructure to enable enterprise mobility capabilities presents significant advantages over traditional models. However, as with any software paradigm we have to challenge the feasibility of the solution. Is a cloud-based enterprise mobility model really achievable? Could we truly enable an enterprise mobility foundation using cloud services?

The answer is absolutely yes. If we think about it, the key to a solid enterprise mobility platform, whether on-premise or on the cloud, is centered around a series of foundational capabilities in areas such as identity, security, messaging, analytics and other aspects that power the rest of the platform. In today's cloud technology ecosystem, we can find incredibly robust service platforms that enable those different capabilities. Figure 3 illustrates this concept.

Figure 3:  A Robust Service Platform Enables the Needed Capabilities of a Mobile Enterprise Platform

The keys to enabling this platform are:

  • Identity Services: In an enterprise mobility platform, it's important to authenticate users from their mobile devices against directory services in your corporate network. Federating user identities between cloud and on-premise environment is a common practice in today's cloud solutions. Technology platforms such as Okta, OneLogin or the Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control Service offer a seamless and highly interoperable model to achieve this functionality.
  • Data Storage Services: Data storage is a fundamental element of an enterprise mobility platform. In the cloud technology ecosystem, Platform as a Service(PaaS) platforms such as Windows Azure, Heroku or even Amazon AWS offer both relational and non-relational storage models.
  • Messaging Services: Message and data exchange are an essential aspect of any enterprise mobile application. The ability to exchange messages or consume data from on-premise or cloud environments in a mobile device is, arguably, the most relevant element of an enterprise mobility platform. Today, technologies such as PubNub, Pusher or the Windows Azure AppFabric Service Bus offer simple cloud-based messaging platforms to broker the communication between different endpoints that it's one of the most important.
  • Business Intelligence Services: Reporting and analytics are fundamental to a great enterprise mobility experience. Technologies such as GoodData, Chart.io or even SQL Azure Reporting deliver great BI experiences leveraging cloud infrastructures.

Leveraging the Economics of the Cloud
The benefits of a cloud-based enterprise mobility model extend way beyond the technology aspects with an economic model that is impossible to emulate with an on-premise alternative. Essentially, a cloud model will natively inherit the scalability benefits of dozens of cloud services that improve almost on a daily basis. The economies of scale of that model simply outperform any on-premise alternative in which a single vendor is providing the complete infrastructure for your solutions. In simple terms, your enterprise mobility infrastructure will naturally evolve with the cloud services its using.

Summary
Nowadays we are experiencing a deep contradiction between the importance of enterprise mobility and the severe limitations of the most products or technology stacks in the space. The traditional model to enterprise mobility is, conceptually, based on the RIM model, which simply fails to deliver the required agility in a world in which building mobile applications is becoming mainstream. Cloud computing infrastructures offer a unique opportunity to enable a simpler, better and more agile approach to enterprise mobility. In addition to its numerous technical benefits, a cloud-based model to enterprise mobility can leverage the economics of scale that, at the end, have made cloud computing the most important technology movement of a generation.

More Stories By Jesus Rodriguez

Jesus Rodriguez is a co-founder and CEO of KidoZen, an enterprise mobile-first platform as a service redefining the future of enterprise mobile solutions. He is also the co-founder to Tellago, an award-winning professional services firm focused on big enterprise software trends. Under his leadership, KidoZen and Tellago have been recognized as an innovator in the areas of enterprise software and solutions achieving important awards like the Inc 500, Stevie Awards’ American and International Business Awards.

A software scientist by background, Jesus is an internationally recognized speaker and author with contributions that include hundreds of articles and sessions at industry conferences. He serves as an advisor to several software companies such as Microsoft and Oracle, sits at the board of different technology companies. Jesus is a prolific blogger on all subjects related to software technology and entrepreneurship. You can gain valuable insight on business and software technology through his blogs at http://jrodthoughts.com and http://weblogs.asp.net/gsusx .

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
A look across the tech landscape at the disruptive technologies that are increasing in prominence and speculate as to which will be most impactful for communications – namely, AI and Cloud Computing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Curtis Peterson, VP of Operations at RingCentral, highlighted the current challenges of these transformative technologies and shared strategies for preparing your organization for these changes. This “view from the top” outlined the latest trends and developments i...
Automation is enabling enterprises to design, deploy, and manage more complex, hybrid cloud environments. Yet the people who manage these environments must be trained in and understanding these environments better than ever before. A new era of analytics and cognitive computing is adding intelligence, but also more complexity, to these cloud environments. How smart is your cloud? How smart should it be? In this power panel at 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, paneli...
Hardware virtualization and cloud computing allowed us to increase resource utilization and increase our flexibility to respond to business demand. Docker Containers are the next quantum leap - Are they?! Databases always represented an additional set of challenges unique to running workloads requiring a maximum of I/O, network, CPU resources combined with data locality.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datanami has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datanami is a communication channel dedicated to providing insight, analysis and up-to-the-minute information about emerging trends and solutions in Big Data. The publication sheds light on all cutting-edge technologies including networking, storage and applications, and the...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EnterpriseTech has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. EnterpriseTech is a professional resource for news and intelligence covering the migration of high-end technologies into the enterprise and business-IT industry, with a special focus on high-tech solutions in new product development, workload management, increased effi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SourceForge has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SourceForge is the largest, most trusted destination for Open Source Software development, collaboration, discovery and download on the web serving over 32 million viewers, 150 million downloads and over 460,000 active development projects each and every month.
In this presentation, Striim CTO and founder Steve Wilkes will discuss practical strategies for counteracting fraud and cyberattacks by leveraging real-time streaming analytics. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Steve Wilkes, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Striim, will provide a detailed look into leveraging streaming data management to correlate events in real time, and identify potential breaches across IoT and non-IoT systems throughout the enterprise. Strategies for processing massive ...
"Our strategy is to focus on the hyperscale providers - AWS, Azure, and Google. Over the last year we saw that a lot of developers need to learn how to do their job in the cloud and we see this DevOps movement that we are catering to with our content," stated Alessandro Fasan, Head of Global Sales at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We focus on composable infrastructure. Composable infrastructure has been named by companies like Gartner as the evolution of the IT infrastructure where everything is now driven by software," explained Bruno Andrade, CEO and Founder of HTBase, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
What's the role of an IT self-service portal when you get to continuous delivery and Infrastructure as Code? This general session showed how to create the continuous delivery culture and eight accelerators for leading the change. Don Demcsak is a DevOps and Cloud Native Modernization Principal for Dell EMC based out of New Jersey. He is a former, long time, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, specializing in building and architecting Application Delivery Pipelines for hybrid legacy, and cloud ...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
"Tintri focuses on the Ops side of the DevOps, which basically is pushing more and more of the accessibility of the infrastructure to the developers and trying to get behind the scenes," explained Dhiraj Sehgal of Tintri in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We do one of the best file systems in the world. We learned how to deal with Big Data many years ago and we implemented this knowledge into our software," explained Jakub Ratajczak, Business Development Manager at MooseFS, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.