Feeds

Sun quietly sets mobile middleware bait

Who's biting?

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Yes, Apple has a lot to answer for. Having hooked the iPhone into Microsoft's Exchange email server, so business types can now read corporate emails horizontally, more tried-and-tested enterprise vendors are revisiting the concept of mobile business computing.

Sybase last week began pushing the latest version of SQL Anywhere. IBM has done what it does best: announce a consulting practice - Mobility@Work - along with more new software, this time for mobile hook ups. IBM is also giving Sprint users even more reason to abandon that company's network as Sprint and AT&T certified IBM's Lotus Notes Traveler software for wireless replication of Notes on selected smartphones.

There's a definite whiff of desperation in the air. It's no surprise, then, that Sun Microsystems - a vendor with more claim than most to being a provider of systems for telcos - has also jumped on the mobile enterprise computing bandwagon.

Sun has quietly released version 1.0 of its Mobile Enterprise Platform (MEP) that it slipped into beta at JavaOne in May.

Sun can claim at least one advantage over the competition: the components of MEP are downloadable free - although there are the usual associated costs for support plans.

Based on a stack of tried-and-tested Sun Java technologies including the GlassFish enterprise application server, MySQL and Java Mobile Edition (Java ME), the MEP aims to link mobile devices such as RIM's Blackberry and Palm's Treo to enterprise products such as SAP and Siebel.

Sun presumably hopes to ride what is predicted to be the next wave of enterprise computing where access moves away from PCs towards smart mobile devices. It has singled out telecommunications carriers who want to offer enterprise application services as potential adopters of MEP. The company said "field service, logistics and sales force automation" are the main markets for MEP-based applications and it has included high-level security protection based on SSL and Triple DES encryption to reassure enterprise users that their data will be secure.

On paper, MEP has something to offer: a framework for building mobile applications synchronized with enterprise databases. The framework sits between a Java-based client front end, deployed to a mobile device, and a traditional server application.

It takes care of the communication between the mobile device and the application using openly available technologies such as data synchronization from the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), and CLDC and MIDP from the Java Community Process (JCP).

Developers can use the Java ME client SDK to build applications for the MEP. It enables bi-directional data synchronization via an API called the Mobile Client Business Object API (MCBO).

While it is not difficult to see why Sun has decided to join in the mobile enterprise market at this time - it's hip and cool thanks to Apple's iPhone - it is hard to see quite who will pick up on MEP when there are already established candidates serving strong, existing user bases - or "seats".

In addition to Sybase, which claims ten million SQL Anywhere seats, and IBM's more than 120 million Lotus Notes seats, there's Microsoft's Mobile Client Software Factory to build business applications on Windows Mobile that talk to back-end systems over a network, and - yes - the internet's number-one search company Google is getting in on the act with its OneBox to trawl enterprise information via your Google search appliance.

As ever, Sun is putting its middleware out there in the hopes downloading it will be the first phase in a cycle that leads to development, use and support. Sun's got the credentials among telcos with Solaris and its identity and directory server software. The challenge lies in convincing people they need MEP to hook up enterprise applications rather than using middleware from those ISVs who provide applications or are already connecting them.®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.