During my software engineering years, I read a lot of books on software engineering vs. programming with a healthy dose of managing software development. Some of my favorites included Debugging the Development Process and Writing Solid Code, but I’m certain few would argue the brilliance of The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering. My favorite chapter? “No Silver Bullet”. In the chapter, Fred Brooks argues why there isn’t some single brilliant trick that makes software shine. This, of course, is generally true of most topics.
Application Networking is no different. There are so many factors that determine the performance and security of an application that to say one method is the definitive approach is quite simply wrong. Consider performance: TCP behavior, HTTP protocol “-isms”, transfer size and speed, along with total browser render times are all considerations. The TCP Westwood algorithm, for example, was designed specifically for mobile networks where packet loss could simply mean you walked around a corner. In traditional TCP algorithms, lost packets mean congestion in the network and the reaction is to slow down, but with Westwood the performance quickly speeds back up as it monitors congestion in the network independently of packet loss.
Why is performance an issue in mobility? The root issue stems from expectations — as the throughput on mobile links continues to rise, the latency across the mobile network does not drop significantly. Thus, as application developers hear of performance improvements on bandwidth, their (incorrect) assumption is that they will be able to further stuff their applications with new features without regard to the end-user performance impact. The net result is that performance suffers and end-users comparing your mobile apps to consumer apps that they can install themselves will find a massive disconnect. When given a choice of something that is responsive and quick vs. something that is not, which would you pick?
Similarly, security is equally multi-dimensional as you look at network security, application security, and identity management. No one thing makes the whole. And like performance, it too is an issue in mobility. As users move to being mobile by default, all application access will inevitably turn towards the mobile gateway and expectations of security capabilities for regulatory requirements will rise to be a top of mind issue.
So as we’ve witnessed mobility rise into the mainstream, we’ve inevitably gotten the question: “so what do you do for mobile?”
MobileStream is the amalgamation of the performance and security features necessary for building modern, mobile-ready, application infrastructure. It combines the the latest innovations built just for the mobile world along with well-proven technology that just plain works. The key, of course, is that MobileStream isn’t just one thing. There is no silver bullet. Rather, it is a magazine filled with an array of bullets – each delivering the right technology for the right situation.
As you evaluate how you approach mobility, specifically enterprise mobile applications, be sure to think through the performance and security ramifications of your decision. These two factors will be key towards determining the success of your strategy. MobileStream can help you get there. Just remember, there is no silver bullet.