As wireless technology earns its place inside the corporate infrastructure, software vendors in the system management software space are extending their enterprise solutions to engage mobile devices.
Next week, Altiris Software, based in Salt Lake City, will announce mobile management products for its eXpress management platform. The suite of management applications that will be upgraded to manage wireless devices include the Altiris Deployment, Inventory, Software Delivery, and Application Metering solutions.
In addition, Altiris is extending its Carbon Copy product, previously used for remote control of desktops, to support handheld devices over wireless connections. By putting the help desk console on the administrator's handheld, Carbon Copy on a Pocket PC device will be able to connect back to the server console to remotely view and control individual handhelds.
The Suite supports any IP-based system and includes WAN, IEEE 802.11x, and Bluetooth support.
Using the same technology for desktop management, the remote management features include the ability to track performance for compliance with service-level agreements, set policies on handhelds, and send automatic notifications back to the console if a handheld is in non-compliance.
An automated Help Desk Solution can also generate a trouble ticket if a user is having difficulty installing an application.
The Application Metering Solution tracks software usage on the handheld, thus allowing an administrator to delete and not pay for a rarely used application or alert the administrator if an unauthorised application is installed.
Altiris supports Pocket PC 2000 and 2002 and will add support for both Palm and Research in Motion later this year.
One industry analyst said that although wireless deployments have not been as aggressively deployed in the enterprise as the vendors would like, the vendors are setting the stage for the burst in wireless that is sure to come.
But that deployment will not take place, said Tim Scannell, president of Shoreline Research in Massachusetts, until IT believes it can control handheld devices.
"They don't want to deploy all these things to the four winds with no control. Every user directly impacts the central resource. These mobile apps cause change, and when you do something remotely it makes something happen at the central resource. They have to be tracked and virus free," said Scannell.
This week, Wavelink, based in Kirkland, Washington, will also add a wireless component to its management software. Avalanche 3.0 will give administrators centralised management of all wireless devices over either WLAN or WAN.
Avalanche 3.0 will manage thousands of devices either directly or for enterprise-level companies with hundreds of remote locations in a two-step process. The Avalanche Management Console will poll the local agent console for status reports on data asset management and software downloads and upgrades on handheld devices within a local workgroup.
For local area wireless networks, Avalanche 3.0 will allow the network administrator to create a profile and push it out to each AP rather than configuring each access point individually in a staging area.
"We discover the AP and force them to accept the profile," said David Bullis, CEO of Wavelink.
Avalanche 3.0 is shipping this week and is priced at $US1,500 for the central console and $80 per device with volume discounts available.
The Altiris Client Management Suite with mobile wireless features will ship in beta this month and ship in volume in August. The suite is priced at $69 per node for 10 to 99 nodes with volume discounts available.