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SAP offers mobile device management on Amazon's cloud

A number of enterprises don't want to deal with implementing their own device management infrastructure in-house

SAP's Afaria mobile device management tool is now available on Amazon Web Services' cloud, offered as a way to make it easier to start using the platform, SAP said at the Sapphire conference on Monday.

The availability of Afaria 7.0 server on AWS gives enterprises a fast and simple way to buy and implement an enterprise-ready mobile management platform, according to SAP.

"We have a number of customers that don't want to deal with and implement their own device management infrastructure in-house, because they view it as non-core, and instead they want a cloud-based offering," said Kevin Ichhpurani, senior vice president, Ecosystem and Channels at SAP.

With the cloud version of Afaria 7.0, administrators can just go to Amazon's Marketplace, enter their passcodes and start provisioning it.

Choosing to go with Afaria in the cloud, as opposed to installing it in a data center, comes with a significant cost advantage for most IT shops, according to Ichhpurani, who wasn't able to detail how much cheaper it would be.

SAP thinks the outsourcing of mobile device management is an emerging trend that will continue to grow, and the company is also working with telecommunications operators and system integrators on other offerings, according to Ichhpurani. For example, an operator could offer devices, data plans and management in one integrated package, he said.

Afaria 7.0 was originally launched at Mobile World Congress earlier this year.

It has a new user interface for simplified administration. It can now be used on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari, in addition to Internet Explorer, and the touchscreen-enabled tablet version of the Afaria app also has been improved, the company said at the time.

Enterprises that have licenses for earlier versions of Afaria can use them to run Afaria 7.0 on Amazon's cloud.

Enterprises without existing licenses can get one that allows for a 14-day free trial, according to SAP. While testing the product they will get help from SAP's mobile consultants, who will guide the IT staff throughout the process, it said.

For Amazon, getting more applications to use its cloud is very important, according to Terry Wise, director of Worldwide Partner Ecosystem at the company.

"The more we can do on the pre-configuration and packaging side, the easier we make it for customers to buy and deploy end-to-end solutions," said Wise.

But there is still more to be done.

"Really, any software product that runs on Windows and Linux we want to make sure runs on AWS, and runs well," Wise said.

One of the real drivers at the moment is Amazon's global footprint, which allows a software vendor in the U.S. or Europe to go global overnight, according to Wise.

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