This series of articles describe the four zones of success or failure (points of failure) in an end-to-end mobile enterprise infrastructure. In the first part I discussed the enterprise zone—the enterprise back-end, including mail servers, messaging solution and directory services. In the second part I covered the enterprise security zone, consisting of firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs) and reverse proxy.
The third zone in the journey is the zone where the enterprise has absolutely no control, the Internet zone! The Internet zone stretches out, encircling the globe, a mysterious cloud with an army of routers, switches, wires, fiber and wireless carriers that provide the infrastructure and plumbing to carry your data packets from end to end. It’s the big hop between your enterprise and devices.
Within the Internet zone are two key add-ons: push notification services and network operations centers.
Push notification services: Non-BlackBerry solutions require integration and connectivity to the Apple and Google push services for Apple iOS and Google Android device support.
Network operations center (NOC): Some of the mobile enterprise solutions make use of an NOC concept. The two most notable are BlackBerry and Good Technology. In these solutions all traffic related to their solution passes through the NOC. This has the advantage that the enterprise’s security zone only needs firewall rules to the trusted NOC. The NOC integrates all communications from devices on the various carrier networks.
Like any other link, a broken link affects the chain. However, the NOCs are highly redundant, fault-tolerant configurations that are rarely down. They are so reliable that when an incident occurs the disruption often makes the evening news. As far as point of failure, it is far more likely that your local network connection to the NOC will fail rather than the NOC itself.
The second to last leg of the Internet zone is the wireless carriers (that is if the device is not WiFi connected). Interestingly enough 99 percent of the path of a meeting notice going from server to wireless device is not over wireless. The notice will follow the wired or fiber connections of the Internet and wireless carrier until the meeting notice hits the cell tower nearest the intended device. Wireless carriers have a vast array of switches, routers and wired or fiber networks before anything goes wireless.
Once again, any of these elements can create a point of failure in the communication path. The user perception will be that the mobile device or application is at fault and failing again. As in the first two zones, some monitoring and mobile device management (MDM) or Enterprise Mobility solutions provide tools to help determine these issues.
2017 Update: Today various Mobile analytics tools are available to assist in the identification of a failing node in the network, point of failure. Don’t let the term analytics put you off. Often significant data and analysis can be done with just a few lines of code and the tool will do the heavy lifting. Please refer to my article Demystifying Analytics and a short video example
The next and final zone in the series will be the user zone.
I hope this was helpful, Please leave comments below or contact me on Linkedin and stay tuned to finish out the series republication.