Red Bend – Mobile Device Virtualization for the Enterprise

The mobile device management market has exploded over the past five years with solutions coming from “traditional” mobile management, security and specialty software vendors and fueled by the rapid consumer and corporate adoption of smartphones and tablets.  Followers of the Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) space are tracking companies such as AirWatch, MobileIron, Citrix, Good Technology, SAP and nearly three dozen other vendors who provide competing products.  Corporate implementers are trying to find the right balance between allowing individuality of a users owned device and the security of corporate data that may be accessed on it.  The majority of solutions provide a secure layer, or container, for which the corporate data resides.  These layers can, and do, have an effect on the usability of the devices.

Mobile Device Virtualization

Mobile Device Virtualization (MDV), just as it is with Desktop Virtualization, comes in both type-1 (bare metal) and type-2 options.  I would categorize the mainstream MDM/MAM solutions as type-2, as they require an underlining OS to be running for them to provide services.  The type-1 solution provides the capability of running multiple instances of the device OS, providing both isolation and integration of applications and features.  Running two instances of the operating system can address the requirements of allowing a personal use while maintaining strict control over corporate apps and data.  One would think that this method would be common practice, but its adoption has been limited because it can only be leveraged on Android based devices.  Apple continues to not license or support the abstraction of their IOS from the hardware.

Who is Red Bend

Red Bend has been providing solutions for the mobile device market since their inception in 1999 with manufactures including Intel, Motoral, Panasonic and Samsung, enabling service providers the capability of managing devices on their network.  Their products include vRrapid Mobile for Firmware Over-the-Air (FOTA) updating of device firmware, vDirect Mobile for device and application management,  vSense Mobile for mobile device software analytics and vLogix Mobile for Mobile Virtualization.  These combined products are also offered in a solution that they label TRUE for BYOD.

How Device Virtualization Works with vLogix

Courtesy of Red Bend
Courtesy of Red Bend

The Red Bend Virtualizer is Type-1 hypervisor installed directly onto the mobile device that manages access to shared hardware services such as file systems and network interfaces between operating environments. System memory, CPU and storage are also partitioned for isolated use by each of the virtual machines.   The Virtualizer manages the interaction of the guest operating systems with the specific hardware services on the device like 2D/3D graphics hardware acceleration, Wi-Fi andGPS without the guest directly accessing the hardware.  This ensures that each of the isolated operating systems has full access to all the features of the hardware without conflict or performance degradation.

The Isolator module  enables the device to run an untrusted, open platform OS totally isolated from the other OS instances.  The Secure Enterprise Domain, a fully virtualized instance of the Android OS provided by Red Bend that can be used by corporate IT to deploy over the air to their user’s personally owned devices.

The final module is the Management Domain which is its own virtual machine “running on a limited or JeOS (“just enough”) operating system. It provides performance monitoring, device management and over-the-air deployment of applications and virtual domains, including their full OSes, through Red Bend’s vSense Mobile™, vDirect Mobile® and vRapid Mobile® products. Customers benefit from end-to-end, standards-based management of both the virtual mobile device and the applications inside them.”

End User Experience is Key

MDM solutions are often met with resistance by users because they change the way they interact with their smartphone or tablet. Limiting, if not removing, the capability of installing personal applications or accessing features of their devices.  vLogix’s device virtualization allows a user to have complete access to a personal instance of the OS where there are no limitations while maintaining the integrity of the corporate image where only approved applications and services are enabled.  vLogix and the TRUE BYOD solution also ensures that all device features are available to the user, regardless of which guest, or domain, the user is actively using.  For example, if the user is in the corporate domain and they receive a text message from within the personal domain, the message notification is brought through giving the user the ability to quickly switch to the personal domain to retrieve the message.  This integration gives the end user the best personal experience without affecting usability or performance.

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