In my Consumerization of IT Collides with MEAP article last week, I described how to connect a Windows 7 device to Microsoft’s On-Premises servers. Whether you’re talking about a Windows 7 tablet or laptop, I showed that you can follow the Garter MEAP Critical Capabilities to integrate with our stack in a consistent manner. Remember, the ability to support multiple mobile apps across multiple mobile platforms, using the same software stack is a key tenant to MEAP. It’s all about avoiding point solutions.
If you need a refresher on the Gartner MEAP Critical Capabilities, check out: http://robtiffany.com/meap/consumerization-of-it-collides-with-meap-windows-on-premises
In this week’s scenario, I’ll use the picture below to illustrate how Mobile versions of Windows 7 in the form of slates, laptops, and tablets utilize some or all of Gartner’s Critical Capabilities to connect to Microsoft’s Cloud infrastructure:
As you can see from the picture above:
- For the Management Tools Critical Capability, Windows 7 uses Windows Intune for Cloud-based device management and software distribution.
- For both the Client and Server Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and Multichannel Tool Critical Capability, Windows 7 uses Visual Studio. The Windows Azure SDK plugs into Visual Studio and provides developers with everything they need to build Cloud applications. It even includes a Cloud emulator to simulate all aspects of Windows Azure on their development computer.
- For the cross-platform Application Client Runtime Critical Capability, Windows 7 uses .NET (Silverlight/WPF/WinForms) for thick clients. For thin clients, it uses Internet Explorer 9 to provide HTML5 + CSS3 + ECMAScript5 capabilities. Offline storage is important to keep potentially disconnected mobile clients working and this is facilitated by SQL Server Compact + Isolated Storage for thick clients and Web Storage for thin clients.
- For the Security Critical Capability, Windows 7 provides security for data at rest via Bitlocker, data in transit via SSL, & Authorization/Authentication via the Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control Serivce (ACS).
- For the Enterprise Application Integration Tools Critical Capability, Windows 7 can reach out to servers directly via Web Services or indirectly through the Cloud via the Windows Azure AppFabric Service Bus to connect to other enterprise packages.
- The Multichannel Server Critical Capability to support any open protocol is handled automatically by Windows Azure. Crosss-Platform wire protocols riding on top of HTTP are exposed by Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and include SOAP, REST and Atompub. Cross-Platform data serialization is also provided by WCF including XML, JSON, and OData. Cross-Platform data synchronization if provided by the Sync Framework. These Multichannel capabilities support thick clients making web service calls as well as thin web clients making Ajax calls. Distributed caching to dramatically boost the performance of any client is provided by Windows Azure AppFabric Caching.
- As you might imagine, the Hosting Critical Capability is knocked out of the park with Windows Azure. Beyond providing the most complete solution of any Cloud provider, Windows Azure Connect provides an IPSec-protected connection with your On-Premises network and SQL Azure Data Sync can be used to move data between SQL Server and SQL Azure. This gives you the Hybrid Cloud solution you might be looking for.
- For the Packaged Mobile Apps or Components Critical Capability, Windows 7 runs cross-platform mobile apps include Office/Lync/IE/Outlook/Bing.
As you can see from this and last week’s article, Windows 7 meets all of Gartner’s Critical Capabilities whether it’s connecting to Microsoft’s On-Premises or Cloud servers and infrastructure. They great takeaway from the picture above, is Windows 7 only needs to know how to integrate its apps with WCF in the exact same way as is does in the On-Premises scenario. Windows developers can focus on Windows without having to concern themselves with the various options provided by Windows Azure. Cloud developers just need to provide a WCF interface to the mobile clients.
When an employee walks in the door with a wireless Windows 7 Slate device, you can rest assured that you can make them productive via Windows Azure without sacrificing any of the Gartner Critical Capabilities.
Next week, I’ll cover how Windows Phone connects to an On-Premises Microsoft infrastructure.