Sun Gives Enterprises a New Mobility Option

Enterprises that run applications on Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA) servers can now give their mobile workers access to those applications, using Sun’s Mobile Enterprise Platform (MEP). Sun has made MEP available, a little more than two months after it put the platform out to beta at Java One in May.

MEP 1.0, announced on Sun’s blog with little fanfare, enables synchronization with enterprise applications for mobile devices and smart phones including RIM’s (NASDAQ: RIMM) BlackBerry and Palm’s (NASDAQ: PALM) Treo. It “lets enterprises give their distributed workforce access to the application they’re building with the rest of our stack,” Paul Hinz, director of Sun’s application platform group and Java enterprise systems, told

The platform is based on open standards, and is built around Sun GlassFish Enterprise Server, MySQL and Java ME . It provides two-way data synchronization with security, device management and offline access features for enterprises with Sun servers in their infrastructure.

“MEP’s an end to end solution that can integrate data from a wide range of back end applications such as CRM, logistics applications or whatever … massage the data and make it mobile ready, and transfer it onto your mobile platform,” Satish Hemachandran, product line manager with Sun’s application platform group, told It is a device-agnostic platform that has out-of-the-box support for a “vast library” of connectors, he added.

The move is a logical one for Sun. “A lot of the big guys have done this on the PC side, building enterprise platforms for IT, and they now realize the growth is within the mobile enterprise,” IDC analyst Ryan Reith told “They need to make sure that information goes securely across virtual private networks and follows IT security policies.”

MEP 1.0 provides secure transmission of corporate data throughout the chain of transmission, Hemachandran said. It supports SSL for the transmission to and from mobile devices, uses 3DES, or Triple DES , encryption on the device, and lets system administrators wipe mobile devices that are lost or stolen. It also lets administrators lock lost or stolen devices so data on them cannot be accessed.

The 3DES encryption standard consists of a three-step data encryption algorithm based on the Data Encryption Standard (DES) . It encrypts data in three steps and uses three keys instead of one.

At 168 bits, 3DES keys are three times the size of DES keys, which are 56 bits. NIST considers 3DES to be appropriate security through 2030. Although 3DES is being replaced by the Advanced Encryption Standard , which is faster and more secure, 3DES is still widely used within the electronic payments industry and so will be around for quite a while.

MEP supports synchronization of enterprise data between mobile phones using Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) Data Synchronization and databases, enterprise information systems (EIS) or enterprise application integration (EAI) systems. The OMA is a standards body, which develops open standards for the mobile phone industry.

Sun’s MEP uses Sun JCA Adapters, which read and write data in the native form of specific databases or EIS/EAI systems. It provides adapters for SAP ERP, Siebel EAI, JDBC and Oracle out of the box

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