Microsoft Mobile Information 2001 Server, Part 4

In the past few issues of Mobile & Wireless UPDATE, I've discussed various features and steps for deploying Microsoft Mobile Information 2001 Server (MMIS). Because planning is the key to a successful MMIS implementation, I want to conclude this series by outlining a few points that will help you during the planning stages. Because most of these ideas aren't MMIS specific, you can use them to help you plan for most types of wireless middleware platforms.

When you're still in the planning stages, you have several options for hosting MMIS, including enterprise-hosted, wireless application service provider (WASP)-hosted, and carrier-hosted implementations. An enterprise-hosted MMIS deployment is the traditional way of implementing enterprise infrastructure. This type of hosting typically provides the highest level of security, performance, and overall control. However, in addition to the required hardware and software, enterprise-hosted solutions require knowledge of the solution and support issues, through either internal or consultant resources.

WASP-hosted and carrier-hosted solutions share similar characteristics. Both are based on an ASP-hosted solution, but the WASP-hosted option involves a wireless carrier. As the average revenue per user (ARPU) decreases with new and better service plans, carriers will begin offering enterprise-level solutions. These externally hosted solutions feature lower initial costs and quick setup, and often include Service Level Agreements (SLAs). However, for midsized and large companies, WASP-hosted and carrier-hosted solutions can become expensive.

In addition to choosing a hosting option, you have several other decisions to make before you deploy MMIS. Keep the following considerations in mind during the planning stages:

  • Users and regions—Microsoft recommends that you set up a new MMIS machine for every 4000 users or at every WAN separation point. If you plan to support users in different regional offices, Microsoft recommends an additional MMIS system for each region.
  • Microsoft Exchange Server location—Plan to place MMIS near the Exchange server (e.g., in the same data center). Also, if you have multiple Exchange servers in different regions, you also need multiple MMIS servers to support users.
  • Security model—For security purposes, MMIS is best located in an enterprise demilitarized zone (DMZ). Make sure you understand the various types of available security and include wireless security as part of your enterprise security policies.
  • Hardware requirements—Microsoft recommends a 200MHz Pentium II system with 128MB of RAM and 50MB of free disk space. Because MMIS provides proxy-type functionality, you must optimize the hardware and software to support concurrent connections.
  • Platform requirements—If you're using Outlook Mobile Access, Microsoft recommends Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 (SP2), Microsoft Message Queue Server (MSMQ), and Exchange. I haven't heard anything about Windows XP support, but I assume Microsoft will include this support with .NET Server.
  • Impact on Active Directory—Deploying MMIS involves several changes to the Active Directory (AD) schema. When you're planning for MMIS, make sure you test and include these changes in your implementation plan. For information about these AD changes, visit the following URL:

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