Aternity Goes Beyond Simple MDM
Lee H. Badman
April 03, 2012
Better network management products have always been about rapidly boiling down complex environments into words and graphics that network administrators can easily draw accurate conclusions from. Server admins and router jockeys alike know the value of good management frameworks for end-user experience measurement, and now Aternity looks to bring the same philosophy and deep views to the mobile device realm.
If you’ve been in networking for awhile, you know when you’re looking at a good management tool. Wired or wireless, application performance or device management--when the tool being used is so onerous that it becomes it’s own problem to solve, the reasons why you invested in it become frustratingly pushed aside. But sit down at the console of a really effective management suite that tells you all you need to know quickly, simply, and reliably, and the differences between so-so and the better management products are glaringly obvious.
Aternity has built its portfolio on what it calls Frontline Performance Intelligence (FPI), which can be considered marketing-speak for exposing anything and everything about networked devices that system administrators and maintainers would ever want to know. But recognizing that information overload provides little value to anyone, Aternity is adept at boiling down big and complex to concise and easy to understand, while artfully leaving nothing out. That’s the nickel intro to a cool end-device monitoring and management portfolio that is about to unleash new capabilities aimed at companies who use mobile devices as critical endpoint resources, where there is little room for tolerating decreased performance from mobile devices that may or may not have issues.
Having looked at a range of 'Its-Time-You-Managed-BYOD'-type platforms over the last several months, I’ve become impressed in general at an industry that has sprung to life rather quickly to tame the BYOD phenomena that has arguably exceeded even the most daring futurists’ predictions. But Aternity is different from the pack. It has deeper roots and a pedigree that becomes obvious the first time you get a look at the End User Experience Unplugged dashboard (and the accompanying $75K starting price tag.) What is being monitored and managed across corporate Android and iDevice fleets goes far beyond the offerings of typical BYOD management portals, by an order of magnitude.
With instrumentation that monitors a raft of device resources including battery, storage, CPU, and memory health, Aternity’s new Mobile Frontline Performance Intelligence sees all. On the wireless side, device status for roaming, in call state, incompatible operating systems, slow networks, signal strength, poor transmission rates,and obsolete firmware, are all reported on and trended. Apps (including HTML 5-based) are reported on regardless of delivery method, and developers are afforded a rich SDK environment for hooking into Aternity’s latest. Root cause analysis for poor user performance correlates remote-end connection characteristics with application transactional metrics, for end-to-end analysis of every device in the flock. There is a lot to see here, but at the same time time, Aternity has made it easy to look at as it turns every mobile device into a self-monitoring, self-aware monitoring point.
Given the budget dollars invested in mobile endpoints and that pricey employee data plans are becoming crucial tentacles for mobile workforces, it was just a matter of time before a big-league performance monitoring platform emerged. Sure, controlling device security settings and doing remote wipes are important, and thus have become emblematic of the BYOD management space. But Aternity’s MFPI goes so much further in keeping things as they should be for large fleets of important mobile devices. This really is one of those frameworks that everyone with an interest in network device monitoring and management should see at least once. Even if it's not the right fit for you, Aternity's latest signals a new seriousness for performance monitoring of the mobile space. It's powerful, cool, and a product whose time has come.
I have no Aternity relationship.