iOS Helps Drive Virtualization for Vendors

By | Apr 30, 2012

With the iPhone 5 set for release later this year, speculation about its feature set abounds, especially as it relates to business IT and the growing virtualization market. While the iOS still suffers to some extent, thanks to Apple's lockdown mentality about apps and app developers--especially when compared to open source Android options--there's now data to suggest that iPads and iPhones are making significant inroads in the world of virtualization, thanks both to new technology and the stubbornness of medical professionals.

Welcome to the New IT

Business networks are no longer the bastions of technological walls they once were, and IT departments have been forced to change along with the evolving market. With more and more employees choosing to use their own devices, especially Apple products, at home and at work, iPhones and iPads are no longer outliers that admins don't have to consider when setting up virtualization protocols.

A recent Business Insider article discusses tech firm MokaFive, founded by former Apple manager Dale Fuller, which has created an iPhone and iPad virtualization app aimed specifically at IT admins. The app allows employees to access data stored on Windows-based systems from the iOS devices, either via an Internet connection or through a locally stored version of the files created on their device. In addition, the app gives IT departments, midsize or otherwise, control over exactly what users can access and when. Admins can ban copy-and-paste functions, prevent the self-emailing of files, or remotely wipe the app off an iDevice if it is lost or goes rogue. MokaFive is quick to point out this isn't true virtualization, just a bolt-on app, but its securely bubbled package makes it a useful tool for IT.

Paging Doctor Macintosh...

In addition to virtual apps, true virtualization for the iOS is also getting a boost--from stubborn healthcare providers. According to an article at Search Health IT, doctors are driving the adoption of virtualized technology for iPhones and iPads because they are demanding to use the devices in the course of their work and further demanding that they have access to new electronic health record initiatives. Ed Rodriguez, Citrix Systems' director of health care ISV sales, says that because physicians "rule the roost," this trend toward iPad virtualization is inevitable.

The biggest challenge virtualization developers face, according to Tisa Murdock of VMware, is Apple's closed-door policy when it comes to apps and enhancing the user experience in a non-approved way. VMware and other providers are looking for ways to both better virtualize iOS and enhance the user experience, but Murdock says "Apple's not very open to helping us enable those behaviors."

Despite Apple's reticence, it's clear that virtualiztion for their devices is coming, as is the slow decline of their gated community. With app developers like MokaFive providing secure ways to handle the "bring your own device" (BYOD) trend and companies like Citrix and VMware onboard for more robust virtualization features, it appears the iPad and iPhone will make significant IT inroads, even among previously device-agnostic companies.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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