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Taking Your Enterprise on the Road

Virtually every enterprise today faces a paradox -- their workforces are becoming increasingly mobile, while their enterprise applications are inherently immobile. The typical application today is centralized in a data center and can only be accessed by workers on the company network or by remote workers who have uninterrupted Internet connectivity.

For mobile users, being away from connectivity can mean being away from their applications and data.

It was assumed that persistent broadband wireless connectivity would solve the problem of application access. With a "wireless everywhere" infrastructure and an Intel Corp Centrino-enabled notebook, workers anywhere were supposed to be able to connect to their centralized applications. Aside from the scattered hotspots in Starbucks and airports, there simply is not the economic motivation for service providers to build out the additional infrastructure required for more widespread access.

So, the ball is firmly back in the court of the application developer. Without the assumption of persistent connectivity to the centralized data center, applications must be designed to sustain "roaming" in and out of constant connection. Applications should store updates locally and intelligently synchronize with the data center when connected. So instead of populating the user screen with error messages or making the application unavailable, the enterprise application is brought on the road. With most key business processes supported by critical enterprise applications, it makes little sense for them to be unavailable or unstable when used in mobile capacities.

Moving forward, application architectures must adapt to the new realities of the enterprise and become inherently mobile. These "mobilized" applications will enable workers constant access to their applications, independent from the state of network connectivity. This architecture also ensures that remote offices are not affected by technical issues in the network, or the corporate data center, so they can stay up and running at all times.

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