EMA recently studied WAN Optimization technologies, publishing an EMA Radar Report on the topic last month, and in the process compared 13 major solution suppliers. Part of that investigation included an assessment of each supplier’s mobile solutions, for helping to establish optimal application and service performance for endpoints that may or may not be able to take advantage of a remote campus/branch WAN Optimization Controller. Most of the solutions we studied offered mobile capabilities, but interestingly this is still very much an emerging area. While all those offering mobile WAN Opt clients support Windows-based systems, few had support for other end user platforms. Riverbed offers support for MacOS in Steelhead Mobile in addition to Windows, but that is about the full extent of the diversity we saw.
One of the more intriguing and disruptive factors for these types of solutions is the growing popularity of smart phones and tablets such as iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. These consumer-led devices are showing up with increasing regularity in enterprise settings, and are one of bigger headaches driving the conversations about how to deal with Enterprise Mobility. I keep asking both practitioners as well as purveyors of management tools whether or not they are hearing demand for help with accessing enterprise applications from these new classes of devices. And while there has not been an overwhelming tidal wave of demand in this regard, I personally don’t see how it can be avoided.
Well – the wait may be over, at least in part. WAN Optimization vendor Circadence this week announced that they have made a mobile WAN optimization client available for Android-based devices. Circadence has introduced this in part due to their heritage within the government sector, recognizing that Android-based tablets are becoming an important part of both civilian and defense agency projects. And with Android now representing over 1/3 of the smart phone market place and regularly jockeying with iPhone/iOS for the market lead, there seems to be no slowing the platform’s momentum.
Will other WAN Opt vendors follow? Perhaps. But they will need to deal with the challenge of fitting a WAN Opt client app into the compute/memory constraints of these types of devices. There’s a nice discussion of this in a TechTarget article that came out today.