On Monday iAnywhere Solutions, a division of database management system company Sybase, announced a partnership with database rival Microsoft to integrate the Afaria mobile management suite into Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003.
The partnership is part of iAnywhere's upgrade to Version 5.3 of the Afaria product line, which was obtained through the acquisition of Xcellent last year.
The joint development with Microsoft will extend SMS 2003 support to handheld mobile devices previously unsupported by SMS.
"From within SMS itself users can now manage non-Microsoft mobile platforms," said Joe Owen vice president of engineering at iAnywhere.
Owen also pointed out that without Afaria, SMS does not support some of Microsoft's own mobile solutions such as SmartPhone and Pocket PC Phone edition.
"Afaria picks up where Microsoft falls down," said Steve Drake, program director at IDC.
The other major enhancement coming with Version 5.3 is push management support. Push management will give mobile managers the ability to push out software updates for changes in security policy, for example. While push management for persistent networks has always been available, this is the first remote mobile push management solution for a cellular network, according to Owen.
The third major enhancement in the new version of Afaria is the addition of a security module for encryption, authentication, and remote kill.
Device support is also being upgraded to include support for new releases of Windows Mobile 2003 2nd Edition, StrongArm Thumb processor, Symbian 7.0 Series 80, and Windows Mobile 5, code-named Magneto.
Drake said as the enterprise begins to deploy mobile-enabled solutions and roll out thousands of new seats, they now recognize that they have to administer, manage, and secure all these systems quickly.
"The announcement speaks to the idea that enterprises are looking to mobile enable and do administration and security at the point of deploying a new application," said Drake.
Afaria 5.3 is shipping now. Pricing ranges from US$30 per device to US$100 per device, depending on the type of device and the number of modules deployed.