Google App Engine Helps MokiMobility Simplify Mobile Device Management

MokiMobility used Google App Engine to build a cutting-edge, cloud-based mobile device management (MDM) platform for managing iPads, Android tablets and other mobile devices. Companies using these devices as point- of-sale tools and for other purposes need to be able to update settings and add and remove apps remotely. Google App Engine gave the Lehi, Utah- based startup a way to create a robust, dependable management system at a fraction of the cost of developing it in-house.

Challenge

Thomas Karren, co-founder and CEO of MokiMobility, wanted to avoid investing heavily in IT infrastructure when developing the new service. Buying and managing hardware would be costly and would take time away from building the platform. Infrastructure-as-a-service solutions posed a similar problem because they also required extensive setup and management.

“We wanted something that would be easy to manage and that would scale automatically as we grew,” Karren says. “Building the service would be quite an undertaking, so we wanted to just focus on getting it up and running.”

Solution

Google App Engine was an excellent option since Karren and his team had already built a few successful applications on it. App Engine was powerful enough to support the richly featured system they imagined, yet easy enough to manage with a small IT staff.

“Google App Engine created a scenario where we didn’t need a platform expert or network person,” he says. “We simply had to create our application and upload it to the cloud.”

“Google App Engine created a scenario where we didn’t need a platform expert or network person. We simply had to create our application and upload it to the cloud.”

Thomas Karren co-founder and CEO, MokiMobility

Using App Engine as the back end and HTML and JavaScript for the client- side application, Karren and his team created a highly scalable system that enables users to manage mobile devices directly from a web-based dashboard. They rely on several App Engine features to improve the service, including:

  • Auto-scaling capabilities – to seamlessly handle increases in users and devices
  • The High-Replication Datastore – to provide reliable, geographically redundant storage for the service’s data
  • Task Queues – to organize the complex offline processes needed for the service to run smoothly

App Engine allows the team to add new features quickly and continually refine the service. They can deploy multiple versions of their code in parallel and test new features before they go live.

“We love how easy it is to modify our application with App Engine,” Karren says. “With other solutions, we’ve had to make sure changes are applied to multiple servers. With App Engine, we just roll out a change to one place and specify which version of the app we want to apply.”

Results

Using Google App Engine, the company built MokiMobility for a tenth of the cost of building it in-house. Karren estimates that his team reduced the development time by half because they were able to avoid the overhead of managing servers and databases.

“We have a sign in the office that says, ‘My other server is Google App Engine,’ ” he says. “It’s a way to remind ourselves that we don’t have to worry about servers and the associated costs.”

MokiMobility launched in May 2012 and currently supports around 200 customers and thousands of mobile devices. App Engine has scaled to manage the growth effortlessly.

“We anticipate that we’ll ultimately be able to handle hundreds of thousands or even millions of mobile devices,” Karren says. “Thanks to Google App Engine, we won’t have to worry about provisioning server or database resources.”