Sybase Expands IT Management for iPhone

Sybase launched new product offerings for the iPhone with an eye toward increasing the smartphone's enterprise functionality. Among the features are administrative policy lockdown control and bidirectional synchronization between iPhone and database. Throughout 2009, Sybase has been increasing its reach in enterprise mobility, porting its offerings onto not only Apple's iPhone, but also BlackBerry and Windows Mobile.

Sybase introduced new product offerings for the iPhone on Nov. 3, including policy enforcement and database synchronization, designed to help integrate Apple's smartphone more firmly into the enterprise sphere.

The offerings come courtesy of Sybase's Afaria 6.5 with iPhone support, available in mid-November, and SQL Anywhere for iPhone, whose beta program is now open and can be found at this site. The updated Afaria provides device management and policy enforcement for the iPhone, while SQL Anywhere for iPhone brings database and synchronization technology to the device.

Capabilities of the combined solutions include over-the-air provisioning and certificate-based policy enforcement; enforceable administrative policy lockdown control, through passwords, installation restrictions and the like; accurate compliance reporting; and device authentication to a corporate directory.

The new database and synchronization features include bidirectional synchronization between the iPhone and Sybase ASE, SQL Anywhere, Oracle, SQL Server, DB2 and MySQL databases. In addition, enterprise-caliber data management and synchronization technologies, designed to operate in heterogeneous environments without regular on-premises IT maintenance, have been integrated into the offerings.

Sybase is also offering a mobile banking iPhone application through the Sybase mBanking 365 platform.

Sybase was motivated to design a more enterprise-robust collection of features for the iPhone, company executives told eWEEK in an interview, after internal data suggested that more and more enterprise workers were bringing their personal devices-many of which were iPhones-into a business environment with the expectation of full functionality.

"We are significantly expanding our iPhone offerings with advanced enterprise-ready features that are consistent with Apple's direction," Raj Nathan, senior vice president and CMO of Sybase, said in a statement. "As an increasing number of consumers bring personal smartphones into the enterprise, there is a greater need to extend high levels of application performance, functionality and security to a wider range of mobile devices."

In June, soon after the launch of Apple's iPhone 3G, Sybase announced the Sybase iAnywhere Mobile Office application for porting wireless e-mail, calendar, contacts and task information onto the device. The application, which also worked on smartphones using either the Windows Mobile or Nokia Symbian operating system, started off by including on-device encryption and push capabilities.

In addition to the application, Sybase released an iAnywhere Mobile Office server, available through the App Store at a starting price of $200 per user.

Sybase had previously partnered with Research In Motion, creator of the BlackBerry line, an unsurprising move, considering both companies' focus on the enterprise market. But Sybase's continual positioning of itself within the iPhone market speaks to the increased prevalence of Apple within the business mobile device market.

In September, Sybase announced a partnership with Siemens Enterprise Communications Group, with the two collaborating on an enterprise platform that integrates both mobile and fixed-line voice and data, while allowing mobile devices to be managed within a heterogeneous environment.