In late 2007, researchers reported that worldwide mobile device penetration had reached 3.3 billion, and that number has been steadily climbing since. That amounts to billions of handheld devices capable of communications and, increasingly, sophisticated computing.
“Mobile devices today far outnumber PCs,” says Robbie Higgins, vice president, Security Ser vices at GlassHouse Technologies, a technology consulting firm based in Framingham, MA. “We reached that crossover point a few years ago.”
Imagine billions of devices more powerful from a computing standpoint than 3270 terminals; granted it’s 30- year-old technology, but it’s still a workhorse in many mainframe shops. Expect the users of these mobile devices to demand access to mainframe data and applications.
In January 2009, TMCNET reported on this trend, noting that there are more corporate users of mobile devices at all levels of the enterprise, not just top executives checking their email and calendar. Although corporate email and calendar applications typically are the first to go mobile, it doesn’t stop there. TMCNET reports that more transaction- oriented applications—such as sales-force automation, field-force automation, fleet management, inventory management, supply chain management, and wireless Customer Relationship Management (CRM)—are taking hold. Often, these involve mainframe applications, but even when they don’t, it’s likely they contain mainframe-based data. Collaborative applications and social networking will further complicate the mobile issue for mainframe managers. Mainframe CICS transaction data on Facebook, accessible from an Apple iPod, is an imminent reality.
“Mobile phones outnumber everything else out there,” says Scott Searle, IBM’s marketing manager for enterprise modernization and mobility. “It’s the way the world communicates. The workforce is more mobile than ever, and it will have to get to CICS data; and it will do it via the mobile phone.”
For the mainframe staff, this emerging mobile device-equipped workforce will present an enormous challenge, especially in terms of security, which has the potential to become a nightmare. However, before we address security considerations, let’s explore three key software systems that are enabling mainframes to take their rightful place in the movement to mobile communications:
• Host Access Transformation Services (HATS)
• Lotus Notes.
Host Access Transformation Services