And I thought that the Wi-Fi space could be fast moving ... It seems like every time I turn around of late, there is yet another mobility management vendor with a story to tell. Given that one analyst report after another hammers us with the fact that mobile devices are taking over the world, it makes sense that the management of these devices is a growth market unto itself. The latest player in this space that I've gotten wind of is Trellia Networks. Like its competitors, Trellia answers many of the mobile device management questions that not enough network and security admins are asking yet, as we collectively come to grips with both the advantages and the more worrisome side of having highly mobile workforces.
I'd be lying if I said I was overly impressed when I spoke with Trellia's VP of product management, Raffi Tchakmakjian, about Trellia's capabilities. Nor was I unimpressed, as strange as that sounds. After recent introductions to Mobile Iron, Zenprise, Antenna's Volt and other solutions that largely have the same ultimate goals, Trellia's story is just not that unique. And that's actually good--it means that this market is maturing, and a de facto feature set (or at least an approach) has taken root among vendors in this space. I certainly consider myself in the camp of those network managers who need some help realizing the many dimensions associated with managing a variety of mobile devices being used both for personal and business use. Heck, just realizing that these devices are a game changer still hasn't happened for many of us, and the "Trellia, et al." story helps those of us slow on the uptake to comprehend that we should be worrying about managing mobile devices rather than just putting up with them.
So what does Trellia do? Like its contemporaries, Trellia does mobile device security. Lose your iPhone when traveling? Remote wipe to the rescue. Or remote password reset, or remote device lock. Need to push new device policies? Yeah, Trellia and others do that, too. Apps are king these days, and Trellia also controls rule-based app sets for different groups of users. And like its contemporaries, Trellia keeps you out of trouble when international roaming might otherwise ring up big bills, and it does asset tracking duty. All of this is handy, but hardly unique.
Again, no Trellia bashing intended here. I just don't see any huge differentiators that stand out when I peer across the mobile management space. (Well, Trellia doesn't yet provide Android support--it won't until later this summer--but that's nothing to build an ad campaign around.) Antenna's HTML 5-based Volt is a bit different (see my past blog), but still not earth-shaking in its uniqueness. I guess if I was shopping for a solution from this niche right now, I'd want to kick all of the tires a bit to see what felt right for me.
Would I tolerate being cloud-based? Would my control dashboard need to stay on my own network? Do I need to truly support every mobile OS out there, or am I pretty much married to one mobile platform? Is my own little custom app distribution center a must-have? What do I really care about when it comes to managing smartphones and tablets? You almost need to play with a few of these solutions to even know how to start figuring out your requirements, now that the mobile device undertow is pulling us out to the deep water. As we welcome Trellia to the party, I do realize that I still have a lot to learn about discerning the true gems in this growing space. Stick around, as I have a feeling we're all going need a mobile management solution sooner or later.Lee is a Network Engineer and Wireless Technical Lead for a large private university. He also teaches classes on networking, wireless network administrtaion, and wireless security. Lee's technical background includes 10 years in the US Air Force as an Electronc Warfare ... View Full Bio