There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are six sure strategies for managing mobile storage needs. Here they are:

• Store data on the server. To ensure everyone has access to the same data and to guard against loss, it’s vital to get business-critical information onto a central server.

Data entered in the field may have to reside on a mobile device for a short time, but don’t rely on that longer than necessary. Mobile workers may be gathering customer orders, recording service calls and capturing other important information. “”Anything that important to the company has to be stored on the server,”” says Bill North, research director for storage software at International Data Corp. in Framingham, Mass.

• Make sure data is always available. “”If you’re going to replace a paper and pen process where that’s always available, you have to make sure that what they’re moving to is also always available,”” says Mike Paola, senior group product manager with iAnywhere Solutions, Inc., a maker of storage middleware for mobile applications.

• Let workers update data while on the move. For Nerds on Site Inc., wireless access means technicians in the field can enter information while it’s fresh in their minds, says Loralee Wettlaufer, chief administrative officer. “”They probably record more consistently instead of coming home at the end of the day and having to record the whole day.””

• Suit mobile technology to the application. “”Depending on the amount of data that’s required and the type of data, that determines the type of mobile computing,”” says Marcel Mudryk, POSSE team leader at the City of Edmonton. For some applications the city stores data on mobile devices which synchronize with a central server at intervals. For others, it uses Citrix Metaframe software and a Web-based connection so applications execute on the server and data is always stored centrally.

• Set up back-end systems that can support multiple devices. The variety of hardware and operating system platforms available in the mobile world makes supporting mobile devices more complex than dealing with their stationary counterparts. Database applications or middleware that can connect a single database to multiple mobile clients make things much simpler, says notes Kyle Foster, business unit executive for storage at IBM Canada Ltd.

• Don’t depend on users to protect the data. Mobile devices are more susceptible than desktops to a number of hazards such as loss, theft and breakage, Foster notes. If you rely on mobile users to back up their data, in many cases it won’t happen. Automatic synchronization, or applications that store their data centrally, will let you sleep better at night.

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