In my Consumerization of IT Collides with MEAP article last week, I described how to connect a Windows Phone device to Microsoft’s On-Premise infrastructure. In this week’s scenario, I’ll use the picture below to illustrate how Windows Phone utilizes many of Gartner’s Mobile Enterprise Application Platform Critical Capabilities to connect to Microsoft’s Cloud services in Azure:
As you can see from the picture above:
- For the Management Tools Critical Capability, there is no Cloud-based device management solution for Windows Phone. Targeted and beta software distribution is supported through the Windows Phone Marketplace via Windows Live ID’s and deep links.
- For both the Client and Server Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and Multichannel Tool Critical Capability, Windows Phone uses Visual Studio. The free Windows Phone SDK plugs into Visual Studio and provides developers with everything they need to build mobile applications. It even includes a Windows Phone emulator so developers don’t have to own a phone to develop apps. On the Cloud side of things, the Windows Azure SDK plugs into Visual Studio and provides developers with everything they need to build Cloud applications. It 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 Phone uses the Silverlight flavor of .NET 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 Phone provides security for 3rd party application data-at-rest via AES 256, data-in-transit via SSL, & Authorization/Authentication via the Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control Service (ACS).
- For the Enterprise Application Integration Tools Critical Capability, Windows Phone 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. Cross-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. 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 handled by 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 Phone runs cross-platform mobile apps include Office/Lync/IE/Outlook/Bing.
As you can see, Windows Phone meets many of Gartner’s Critical Capabilities, but is missing cloud-based device management and isn’t as strong as Windows 7 in areas of full-device security.
Next week, I’ll cover how Windows Embedded Handheld (Windows Mobile 6.5.3) connects to an On-Premises Microsoft infrastructure.