IBM Brings MEAP to All its Platforms

Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms (MEAP) are increasingly popular. With mobile as a strategic initiative IBM  is making its Mobile Development Lifecycle Solution v4.0 available on each of its platforms, from A (AIX) to Z (z/OS) and everything in-between (mainly Power and System x), including non-IBM platforms like HP, Mac, and Oracle (Sun/Solaris)

And IBM isn’t the only vendor to try to capture the mobile platform wave. The HP Enterprise Mobility Platform is intended to communication service providers. Of course, Oracle is there with its Mobile Rapid Application Development Platform that works on every platform by using HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript for a true device agnostic solution. A smaller, lower cost player is Vervivo. An early, open standards-based player is KonyOne.

The IBM Mobile Development Lifecycle product, however, enables collaborative, mobile lifecycle management capabilities integrated with an enterprise-grade, standards-based, mobile application platform that is based on IBM Worklight for effective team development of mobile applications.

As mobile usage continues to grow worldwide—by the end of this year mobile transactions will have increased 50%–developing for mobile usage becomes an increasingly important consideration for organizations. Companies need to move beyond the initial one-off mobile projects that started them down the mobile path. Going forward they require a strategic approach that encompasses more than mobile device application coding and testing, just two aspects of the overall mobile app dev lifecycle.

Now the challenge is to ensure mobile apps are delivered on-time, with high quality, and meet business objectives. For this organizations need an approach that goes beyond the device SDKs. They need a comprehensive, team-based mobile app dev approach that provides not just a runtime infrastructure for deploying and running mobile applications for myriad devices but also an infrastructure to support rapid change, development, and delivery of quickly evolving mobile applications for business-critical data and transactions.

The mainframe, for its massive scalability and extreme high availability, can play a particularly important role in an organization’s mobile initiative, especially as the volume and value of mobile transactions increase. Already the System z mainframe is a leading platform for secure data serving and, according to IBM, the only commercial server to achieve Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 5+ security classification, providing the confidence to run many different applications containing confidential data on the mainframe. And the mainframe is where much of the data users want to access from mobile devices will reside.

In particular, the newest mainframe, the new zEC12 builds on this with innovative security and privacy features to help protect data .Specifically, the zEC12 includes a state-of-the-art, tamper-resistant cryptographic co-processor, the Crypto Express4S, which provides privacy for transactions and sensitive data. It also incorporates transactional memory technology that IBM adapted to better support concurrent operations among a shared set of data, such as financial institutions processing transactions against the same set of accounts.

Making this all the more important is the anticipated growth of mobile transactions. According to Juniper Research, the value of remote transactions conducted via mobile devices is expected to exceed $730 billion annually by 2017. While Juniper sees major brands and retailers driving mobile transaction activity, IBM sees other types of transactions, such as flight check-in, client loyalty programs, employee self-service, the signing of legal documents, and other kinds of transactions that will drive the demand for mobile transaction security. Transactions, mobile and otherwise, are where the z excels.

IBM has pulled together a diverse set of capabilities to support the entire mobile lifecycle. The main pieces include IBM Worklight, IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices, and IBM WebSphere Cast Iron (Hypervisor edition). It is supplementing the core with tools like Tealeaf CXMobile, support for mobile app testing, support for mobile agile methodologies, and more.

Worldwide smartphone sales grew by 47% last year to 147 million units during the final quarter of 2011, according to Gartner. IDC estimates global downloads of mobile apps will reach 76.9 billion by 2014. It’s apparent the mobile wave is not diminishing anytime soon.

Enterprise data centers should expect to support an increasing amount of mobile traffic from new and different devices. This will present, at the least, significant new security and capacity challenges.  The z, and especially the zEC12with its recently updated software, previously covered by DancingDinosaur here, and enhancements like the Crypto Express4S, should be able to handle the challenges in stride, maybe with nothing more than some rethinking of MIPS consumption and assist processor usage.

Finally, one favor: Please take a moment to fill out this short survey. It is from Waterstone Management Group, a tech-focused management consulting firm that is attempting to gather a unique set of benchmarks and insights from a broad group of software industry professionals with the goal of sharing the summary with everyone who participates.  The scope of the survey is enterprise-wide but the respondent self-selects the areas they have responsibility for (one or more) and only answers questions specific to their area.  Each section contains 15-16 questions and should take no more than 10 min. Again, please click here for the survey.

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