Sybase enhances mobile management package

Pitching tighter integration for ease of use, Sybase Inc. has repackaged its iAnywhere line of mobile software products to make e-mail, security, application and device management more interoperable.

The Dublin, Calif.-based company is positioning its Information Anywhere Suite as an all-inclusive mobility maintenance engine that integrates management and security into a single console.

iAnywhere’s asset management features support a range of handheld devices and e-mail servers, with remote software configuration and deployment, updates and upgrades, as well as security capabilities like password protection, network access control and data encryption.

The Information Anywhere Suite is made up of four components — heterogeneous e-mail delivery, device management, mobile security and enterprise application enablement — and brings together a scope of technologies the company has collected through acquisitions within its subsidiary, iAnywhere Solutions Inc.

Non-proprietary e-mail support, for example, is made possible by a product called OneBridge from Extended Systems Inc., while the security and management features are courtesy of XcelleNet’s Afaria software.

This type of integration makes the iAnywhere Suite an attractive option for IT administrators, says Warren Wilson, an analyst with Boston, Ma.-based Summit Strategies Inc.

“When you integrate things like e-mail and security and you have a pre-tested solution, you’re probably better protected than if you buy e-mail and security separately,” he says.

“The integration will continue over time, but with each added step of integration, the user gets greater ease of deployment, management and maintenance.”

Wilson says Sybase has packaged these capabilities more extensively than similar offerings from Microsoft and IBM, for example. “They’re generally quicker to deploy and provide a faster time to benefit.”

Neil McGovern, Sybase’s director of unwired products, says most of the company’s development takes place in Waterloo, Ont., where application development is focused on making sure information in mobile devices is safe and making it easy to transform back-end applications into mobile-friendly interfaces.

OneBridge Mobile Groupware pushes e-mail and other data like calendar and contacts from Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes or Novell GroupWise onto the mobile device and supports 130 mobile operating systems, according to McGovern.

He says this is an underlying principle of Sybase iAnywhere. “We make sure our products work with a wide range of devices and not just a BlackBerry or with Windows. There’s no tie-in to the hardware or operating system.”

The integration of Afaria with SQL Anywhere Studio and M-Business Anywhere helps to ensure that software, data and content on mobile devices is up to date and secure.

It creates a bridge of system control, user support and information flow between the frontlines and the enterprise, according to Sybase. Upgrades, patches and configuration all take place in the background.

“Security and device management certainly go hand-in-hand,” says McGovern.

“Security is making sure the information on the enterprise device is encrypted and that if the device goes missing, there’s a kill pill on it and you can switch off or erase the device.

“And management is about knowing what devices are out there, what’s on them and provisioning them remotely. So if you want to add a new application or upgrade an application, you can do it over the airwaves from a central location.”

McGovern says systems integrators can also use iAnywhere’s Unwired Accelerator to quickly and easily take a back-end application and repurpose it for a mobile device.

Enterprise application enablement means developers can build custom software that extends databases and other enterprise applications directly to mobile devices.

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