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Hi there, my name is Eric Berg and I am the director of product management for System Center. My team is responsible for the future product planning and current product marketing of the System Center products. I get a lot of our customers asking me about how they should be thinking about managing mobile devices in their environment as part of their overall systems management strategy so I wanted to take some time today to explain how System Center is evolving our support for those mobile devices over time.

In the past, with SMS 2003, we delivered device management capability for Pocket PC and Windows CE devices as an add-on with the Device Management Feature Pack (DMFP). With Configuration Manager 2007 we have improved the set of mobile device management features in the product and I think we have a great product for customers who want to manage all of their clients and devices from one, integrated solution. At the same time,  we have been working internally with the Windows Mobile team to deliver System Center Mobile Device Manager, a product that allows us to deliver some interesting new capabilities, like support for Mobile VPNs and hardware disablement, associated with managing future versions of Window Mobile devices.   

Our goal with Config Manager 2007 was to deliver a single solution for deploying, updating and managing the configuration of your desktops, servers and mobile devices. Unlike what we did with the device management feature pack for SMS 2003, with Config Mgr we tightly integrated mobile device management as a first class capability.  One of the biggest requests from SMS 2003 customers was for the ability to manage devices “over the air.” Config Mgr delivers that capability with expanded support for the all of the latest versions of Windows Mobile from Windows Mobile 2003 to Windows Mobile 6 as well as Windows CE devices running on ARM or x86 processors. Also, the over the air support makes it very simple to upgrade from the SMS device management feature pack agent to Config Mgr ’07 agent. Finally, we will have a great set of  partner solutions for Config Manager to extend our capability both on Windows devices and for managing non-Windows devices like RIM, Palm and Symbian.

The new addition to the family, System Center Mobile Device Manager, delivers some forward looking innovation for managing future versions of Windows Mobile devices and provides a compelling alternative to the stand alone management solutions that you see today from Nokia and RIM for their devices. Mobile Device Manager is targeted at customers who need Mobile VPN capabilities, advanced security features such as HW disablement and application allow/deny and do not have a need to integrate management of these new Windows Mobile devices with the Config Manager infrastructure they use for their desktops and servers or other mobile device platforms. Today this is a great solution for green field deployments of future Windows Mobile devices and for customers  that are migrating from RIM and Nokia to the Windows Mobile platform. 

Going forward, device management is definitely a key investment area for us within System Center and our goal is to provide rich functionality that customer can use stand alone with Mobile Device Manager or as an integrated part of their Configuration Manager solution. For Config Manager, we will provide tighter technical integration of the Mobile Device Manager functionality, much as we did with software updating in Configuration Manager 2007 by integrating Windows Server Update Server (WSUS) as essentially a server role that could be administered from the Config Manager admin console. For customers who are interested in a rich Windows Mobile device management experience outside of Configuration Manager, Mobile Device Manager will continue to be a great solution.

I hope you found this update on our mobile device management strategy helpful and I look forward to hearing back from you on our direction here and across the board with our System Center products.



Eric Berg