Red Bend Stepping Up Its Game In Mobile Virtualization Space


Red Bend Software, a Waltham, Mass.-based company that for years has supplied carriers and handset makers with technology for updating customers' devices, is now branching out into mobile virtualization.

Mobile virtualization is attracting more attention as companies grapple with the security and management implications of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend. Red Bend's vLogix Mobile 5.0 product, launched last week, addresses these issues by enabling two operating systems to run simultaneously on a mobile device using virtualization.

vLogix Mobile 5.0 is aimed at Android OEMs and carriers that are looking to increase sales to business users. It includes a type 1 hypervisor, which is more secure and creates a stronger partition between the business and personal segments of a device, according to Richard Kinder, vice president of technology for Red Bend.

"This gives IT departments the confidence that the applications that go on the device are isolated from the employee's personal data," he said in an interview.

Type 1 hypervisors typically take longer to implement than type 2 hypervisors, but vLogix Mobile 5.0 can be integrated in weeks as opposed to months, allowing OEMs to get their devices on the market more quickly, Kinder said.

Red Bend was founded in 1999, and its update technology for mobile OEMs has shipped on more than one billion devices since 2005, Kinder said. Red Bend added mobile virtualization to its portfolio with its September 2010 acquisition of VirtualLogix, Santa Clara, Calif.

"In the firmware update and software management market, we've demonstrated an ability to take complex technology and package it in a way that allows customer to deploy it on a massive scale," he said.

vLogix Mobile 5.0 uses Red Bend's software management technology to allow for easier deployment of mobile virtualization, said Kinder.

"From a management perspective, we enable provisioning of the virtual machine images down to the device, using the same compression technology we use in software updates over wireless network," Kinder said.

One of the big opportunities in BYOD is for network operators to offer value-added services. Red Bend, as a member of the Open Mobile Alliance, is working to establish standards for mobile services. The company is proposing the Virtualization Management Object (VirMO) standard, which seeks to create a common method for managing virtualized mobile devices.

"We're trying to create a platform for long-term differentiation, to enable our customers on the mobile handset side to offer BYOD ready device, and operators to offer value-added services," he said.

Kinder declined to name specific customers and licensees, and while he said it's possible that vLogix Mobile 5.0 will be available in devices this year, he wouldn't confirm this, noting that the timing will depend on OEMs and carriers.