Sybase Afaria [EOL] Review

It helps with for device provisioning and enforcing enterprise level security for BYOD devices. The admin UI should be simplified to be able to add features/policies with a wizard like workflow.


Valuable Features

Integration with SAP Products like SAP Mobile Platform, SAP Business Objects Mobile and ease of integration with enterprise security standards such as AD, Certificate services, reverse proxies.

Improvements to My Organization

My current organisation doesn't use Afaria, but organizations I have worked with on implementing Afaria typically s that are used to store enterprise data such as email.

Room for Improvement

Integration with app management functions like geofencing, wrapping, etc. Admin UI should be simplified to be able to add features/policies with a wizard like workflow.

Use of Solution

I've used it for three years.

Deployment Issues

It did not support Oracle DB after release of v7.0, only SQL server and SQL Anywhere. Customers who have invested in failover and disaster recovery systems via Oracle Dbs could not use Afaria on such a large scale deployment.

Customer Service and Technical Support

SAP Support is excellent with their support of this product. That being said, the product itself is slower than their competitors in responding to changes from the mobility market (such as a newer release of iOS changing how the GUID works which happened with iOS7).

Previous Solutions

Afaria has superior support for rugged device OS's such as Windows Mobile 5.x, 6.x as well as Blackberry devices. In my experience though, customers who needed an MDM for BYOD strategy(primarily iOS & Android today) and who had discounts on licensing Afaria due to their investments in other SAP software were the ones who usually implemented Afaria.

Initial Setup

Initial setup is straightforward with the wizard type setup files. The complexity is in the fact that you must be aware of all pre-requisites (like db authorizations needed, certificates and passwords, AD access) prior to running the setup. Also, some features only work during install even though the installer says it can be completed later.

Implementation Team

Make sure to document every step of the install.

ROI

ROI is only in terms of productivity savings, such as being able to reduce service desk calls about how to install apps. Also, big gains in terms of securing enterprise data, most enterprises do not lock down mobile access to email due to concerns about accessibility of email to temp employees or contractors. Pricing is on the lower side for most customers who run SAP ERP/other SAP software.

Other Advice

Make sure you gather requirements and have a reference architecture with all the boxes you will need. Make sure you install a high availability cluster in a production environment, no matter how small the customer.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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