The Consumerization of IT is an unstoppable force where employees are bringing every kind of mobile device imaginable into the office expecting to be productive. Over the course of the next 20 articles, I’ll describe how IT professionals can use the principles of Gartner MEAP to connect any type of mobile device to Microsoft’s On-Premises and Cloud servers.
Gartner specifies the following Critical Capabilities that must be addressed in order for a given product or stack of products to be considered a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP):
- Integrated Development Environment
A dedicated environment or plug-in for composing backend server and client side logic, including UI and UX
- Application Client Runtime
The client runtime logic for the application, either in native format or packaged within a container.
- Enterprise Application Integration Tools
Tools for integration of mobile server with back end systems, both bespoke and purchased apps or application suites.
- Packaged Mobile Apps or Components
Self standing mobile applications or components.
- Multichannel Tools or Servers
Tools that allow for “write once, run anywhere” thick or rich mobile clients, cross compilers or environments or platforms that allow business logic to be supported across thin, thick, and rich mobile architectures.
- Management Tools
Tools for provisioning, supporting, debugging, updating or decommissioning mobile applications.
Tools for ensuring the security and privacy of enterprise data on board the device, while transiting through wired or wireless networks, through peripherals, and with backend systems and integration packages.
The ability to host all development, provisioning, management functions, and optionally corporate data.
- In this first 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 an On-Premise Microsoft infrastructure:
As you can see from the picture above, Windows 7:
- For the Management Tools Critical Capability, Windows 7 uses System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2007 for on-premises 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.
- 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+VPN, data in the database via RSA/AES, & Authorization/Authentication via Active Directory.
- For the Enterprise Application Integration Tools Critical Capability, Windows 7 can reach out to servers directly via Web Services or indirectly via SQL Server or BizTalk using SSIS/Adapters/Sync to connect to other enterprise packages.
- The Multichannel Server Critical Capability to support any open protocol directly, via Reverse Proxy, or VPN is facilitated by ISA/TMG/UAG/IIS. 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 Server AppFabric Caching.
- While the Hosting Critical Capability may not be as relevant in an on-premises scenario, Windows Azure Connect provide an IPSec-protected connection to the Cloud and SQL Azure Data Sync can be used to move data between SQL Server and SQL Azure.
- For the Packaged Mobile Apps or Components Critical Capability, Windows 7 runs cross-platform mobile apps include Office/Lync/IE/Outlook/Bing.
It should come as no surprise that Windows 7 has a compelling and complete MEAP story to address the issues surrounding the Consumerization of IT (CoIT) when an employee walks in the door with a wireless Windows 7 Slate device.
Next week, I’ll cover how Windows 7 connects to the Cloud.