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Use OTA to provision your devices

May 15th, 2009 by Mark Wright, Principal Systems Consultant | Tags: , ,


Enterprises today are looking for any way they can to reduce workload and extra costs in order to save time and money.  In the past companies that were going to utilize mobile devices always had to provision devices with the needed applications, the needed connection settings, the correct user settings and more before the device ever got to the user.  If they didn’t provision the device before giving it to the user it meant spending the time on the phone with them, or in some cases even going to the user in order to set the device up correctly.  These processes included using SD Cards, or connecting to ActiveSync and copying files over, or E-Mailing files to the user and having them copy the files.  Some companies may still do this as it’s the process that they put into place.  To ease the provisioning process and to get the users up and running and connected to Afaria so that applications can be deployed, inventory collected and security applied, use Afaria’s OTA deployment so that the device can go directly to the end user and the only thing the help desk has to do is send and SMS message to the user.

What are some of the benefits of Afaria’s OTA

1.  One click installation of the Afaria client.
2.  Afaria download sent to the device either via SMS or e-mail
3. Send a configuration file, based off of Configuration Manager, along with the Afaria client install file to provision the device before the device ever connects to the Afaria Server.
4. Deployment tracking, which includes if the package was delivered, if it was installed, who received the package and more.
5. Installation of software without the device being brought out of the field.

Afaria’s OTA supports installing the OTA Deployment Center on either Apache or IIS.  Both use PHP as their underlying components.  Details about setting up OTA on Apache and IIS can be found on the support site, but in general it is relatively straight forward.  One will put the required PHP and PCLZip files onto the deployment center server and then run the OTA install that ships with the Afaria install.  Once the deployment center is installed you’ll configure Afaria to connect to the OTA deployment center, by entering in the correct URL’s.  Add user’s to the Address Book and you can now provision devices using Afaria’s OTA. 

The OTA Deployment Center can be installed anywhere on the network as long as it’s accessible by the Afaria Server, it’s not necessary that be accessible but deploying the packages to the deployment center is made easier if it is.  An external IP or DNS that can be reached by the devices to download the client will be needed as well.  Many customers will put the OTA Deployment Center in their DMZ, so that devices don’t have to come into their network initially to download the client.  Let’s take a look at the architecture.  In most cases the deployment center is installed in the DMZ as depicted in the below diagram.  This gives the best access for the device to download the client.



As one can see OTA is a component to Afaria that is going to save an enterprise time and will also make it much easier to set up a device that is in the field.

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  1. Samuel
    August 17th, 2009 at 20:24
    Reply | Quote | #1

    Do you guys have any detailed information regarding how to setup OMA DM together with Afaria ?

  2. August 18th, 2009 at 06:59
    Reply | Quote | #2

    Yes, there are detailed instructions of setting up Afaria and OMA DM in the release documentation for Afaria 6.0. You must have the latest Feature Pack installed in order to get OMA DM support.

  3. August 18th, 2009 at 07:11
    Reply | Quote | #3

    The best place to get OMA setup data is from our suppor site. Once you have logged in, select documentation in the right hand corner and select Afaria 6.0 in the following menus. There are two docs that will be of particular interest.
    1) Afaria Reference Manual- Platform. Start on page 125 – this will guide you through server setup and deployment.
    2) Afaria FP2 Documents – This will give you the latest data on OMA DM that was recently released.

    Hope this helps.

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