Taking Back IT


October 26, 2011  9:11 AM

Citrix to offer cloud storage, collaboration services

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By Bridget Botelho, Senior Site Editor

Citrix Systems has shed some light on its plans for ShareFile, a cloud storage provider the company acquired earlier this month.

At Citrix Synergy in Barcelona this morning, the company said it will use the ShareFile platform to build services that allow users to share files across multiple devices and access them from any location. These services, called Follow-Me-Data Fabric, will provide features such as data sync, send and collaboration capabilities, user authentication and more.

Citrix acquired ShareFile after Box.net rejected its $600 million acquisition offer earlier this year. Although ShareFile is not as popular as Box.net or Dropbox, it does give Citrix a product in the cloud storage and collaboration market, where competitor VMware is actively acquiring similar technologies that detach customers from PC dependency.

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October 21, 2011  12:35 PM

Early iPhone 4S sales top 4 million: News in brief

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By Julia Anderson and Colin Steele, Editors

Apple sold more than 4 million iPhone 4S devices in the three days after its launch, the company reported. AT&T and Sprint also reported record sales on the first day their customers could purchase the iPhone 4S in stores.

More than 25 million devices are now running iOS 5, the latest iPhone, iPod touch and iPad operating system, Apple said. In addition, more than 20 million people have signed up for iCloud, Apple’s new cloud storage service. Both iOS 5 and iCloud debuted just last week.

Skinny Cow...in mint...Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich debuts

With Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google is unifying its smartphone and tablet operating systems.

The current smartphone-specific OS is Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and the tablet OS is Android 3.0 Honeycomb. But Android 4.0 is designed to run on both kinds of devices, which should quiet some of the complaints about Android device fragmentation.

Ice Cream Sandwich features a new user interface, with separate home screen tabs for apps and widgets. There’s also improved management of notifications and application-level controls over data usage. And for business users, the OS offers new security and VPN APIs.

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October 20, 2011  9:43 AM

Time capsule: Mobile virtualization in 2008

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

In doing research for my story on yesterday’s VMware mobile virtualization news, Keith Kessinger and I came across some articles from 2008, when VMware first announced its Mobile Virtualization Platform. Some of the predictions and comments about the mobile market in those articles are pretty entertaining, either because they’re way off the mark or they’re really dated. So we thought we’d share them with you:

Srinivas Krishnamurti, VMware’s director of product management and market development … cited a prediction from Stamford, Conn.-based research firm Gartner Inc. that 50% of smart phones will ship with a virtualization layer by 2012.

We’re two and a half months away from 2012, and that number is close to 0%. Either mobile virtualization is going to set all sorts of holiday sales records, or this prediction is not coming true.
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October 20, 2011  7:42 AM

VMware mobile virtualization arrives, but with baggage

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

VMware is finally bringing mobile virtualization to market, but it’s far from a slam-dunk solution to bring-your-own-device problems.

The VMware Horizon Mobile service will become available on Verizon Wireless smartphones within months, the companies said at VMworld Europe this week. Horizon Mobile is designed to keep corporate data and applications segregated and protected on personal smartphones, but issues around device compatibility and management may hamper IT adoption, experts said.

For one, Horizon Mobile will be available only on Android devices.

“You need more device and more OS support to make [mobile virtualization] valid at an enterprise level,” said Brian Katz, director of mobility at a major pharmaceutical company.

How Horizon Mobile works

Horizon Mobile relies on the Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP), a mobile phone hypervisor that VMware introduced  in 2008. MVP creates two environments on the same smartphone — one for personal use and one for business. IT administrators can monitor, secure and deploy applications to the business environment using the VMware Horizon Mobile Manager portal.

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October 14, 2011  7:51 AM

Admins Anonymous: A BYOD support group at Dell World

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

By Bridget Botelho, Senior Site Editor

AUSTIN, Texas — A session here at Dell World on the convergence of endpoint devices turned out to be a support group for administrators dealing with the consumerization of IT and bring-your-own-device policies.

About 100 IT folks weighed the pros and cons of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies and shared their experiences of begrudgingly supporting personal smartphones, iPads and other tablets in addition to corporate-owned PCs.

Part of the problem is that the BYOD concept goes against the ideals of platform standardization in corporations. Tablets are convenient, but they have limitations, so end users can’t ditch their PCs entirely.

“Users can’t use their iPad to run AutoCAD, but they don’t care,” one attendee said. “They still want one. All we can do is be flexible and suggest specs and configurations, but we see the gamut of devices anyway.”

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October 13, 2011  3:31 PM

BYOD: It’s about voice, too

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

As the bring-your-own device phenomenon grows, so do the options for separating personal and business communications on the same device.

TelephoneDesktop virtualization delivers self-contained business operating systems and applications to smartphones and tablets. Technologies such as VMware’s Mobile Virtualization Platform and AT&T’s Toggle let users essentially keep two phones — one for business use, one for personal use — on the same device. And with a new release from ShoreTel, employees can securely tap into their companies’ unified communications (UC) systems from their mobile devices.

“We’re starting to see a lot of interest in companies that want to make the mobile device the primary method of communication,” said analyst Irwin Lazar, a vice president at Nemertes Research.

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October 13, 2011  9:24 AM

BlackBerry outage brings global disruption: News in brief

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

A massive BlackBerry outage has left users with limited email and messaging services for much of this week.

The BlackBerry outage began Monday for users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and it spread to North America on Wednesday. Research in Motion (RIM) has blamed the BlackBerry outage on the failure of one of its core networking switches — and the subsequent failure of its backup system.

The BlackBerry outage comes at a terrible time for RIM. Once the only game in town for mobile email, its market share is eroding as consumer devices running Apple iOS and Google Android take hold. RIM still offers the strongest enterprise management capabilities, but that matters less and less, thanks to the consumerization of IT. And its enterprise reputation will definitely take a hit with this extended BlackBerry outage.

Late Wednesday night, RIM said service levels were improving. And today, co-CEO Mike Lazaridis posted this message on YouTube:
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October 11, 2011  10:30 AM

BYOD drives WLAN sales

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

Sales of wireless LAN equipment jumped 19% last quarter, according to Infonetics Research.

SearchNetworking.com reports that bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies are driving that growth, because there are a lot more devices that organizations need to support on their networks. Networking professional Andrew vonNagy tells the site that wireless is becoming “the primary means of network access for a lot of employee workloads.”

This shift will likely drive organizations to redesign their wireless LAN infrastructures.


October 7, 2011  12:06 PM

Interop reporter’s notebook

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

NEW YORK — Some interesting tidbits picked up while covering the consumerization of IT at Interop this week:

  • From Chris Hazelton, research director with the 451 Group: It took 20 years to sell the first 100 million PCs. It took six years to sell the first 100 million smartphones. It will take 20 months to sell the first 100 million tablets.
  • Android didn’t get much love at the show. Mark Lowenstein, managing director of Mobile Ecosystem, said Google’s OS is six to 12 months behind Apple iOS in terms of enterprise management and application delivery capabilities. And several attendees mentioned security problems with Android, which are limiting enterprise support for those devices.
  • From Andrew Borg, senior research analyst with the Aberdeen Group: “Although people are looking at the Amazon Kindle Fire as a consumer play, many people said the same thing about the iPad. Enterprises beware.”
  • And there were some differing opinions on the cost of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives. Craig Mathias, principal with Farpoint Group, said, “It costs more to have a mobile worker than a non-mobile worker.” And Brian Katz, director of mobility with pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis, said, “If you think BYOD is about saving money, it’s not. It saves you CapEx. It does not save you OpEx.” But Sean Ginevan, solutions architect with management vendor Mobile Iron, argued that BYOD can reduce OpEx, because users have ownership of their devices and take the initiative to solve problems themselves.


October 7, 2011  11:14 AM

Experts to IT: Focus on data, not devices

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

NEW YORK — Many IT managers are scrambling to control the influx of personal smartphones and tablets in the enterprise. But they might want to focus more on applications and data.

That was the message from analysts at this week’s Interop New York conference, where the consumerization of IT was a major topic of discussion.

“The device is just a detail,” said Andrew Borg, senior research analyst with the Aberdeen Group. “The real risk to the security of organizations relates to the data.”

Mobility: ‘At the center of IT planning’

Mobile devices are proliferating in the enterprise in a variety of ways, although most are part of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon: employee-owned smartphones and tablets being used for business tasks. Some organizations will also buy and support specific, corporate-sanctioned devices for employees.

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