Extending Mobile Management Solution with Workflow
IMPORTANT NOTE: The videos attached to this article were created prior to the introduction of MMS 7.1 SP1 and as such use a different web service (called DemandCommandWS.asmx). This web service still exists on each MMS server but should not be called directly. When using the DemandCommandWS it was necessary to pass a number of input parameters to the webservice - this is no longer required with DeviceActions.asmx - we now only require the device GUID.
The downloadable project and report have been updated. The name of the report has changed.
One of the significant advantages of using Symantec’s Mobile Management Solution (MMS) is the ability to extend the capabilities provided ‘out-of-the-box’. We can do this by leveraging the common services made available through the Symantec Management Platform (SMP) - on which MMS is installed.
There is no license cost to the SMP or the common services that it provides. These services include obvious capabilities like the web console, reporting engine and automation policies but also some less obvious capabilities such as an SDK (for programmatic access to SMP and solution functions), data connector and the feature we’ll be focussing on in this article, Symantec Workflow.
In my example, I’ve used Workflow to create a simple administrator portal for mobile management that allows an admin to perform three tasks and importantly, to do this against multiple iOS devices as required. The administrator can:
- Lock one or more devices
- Update the policies on one or more devices
- Show one or more devices on a Google Map image
Mobile Management Web Service
This is all made possible through the DeviceActions web service which is probably the best kept secret of the Symantec Mobile Management Solution. This web service is installed by default with MMS 7.1 SP1 and later and provides the API to drive the iOS tasks from outside the SMP console. If you have installed Symantec MMS, you will find these web services by browsing to http://SMPservername/Altiris/MobileManagement/SSC/DeviceActions.asmx. You should see a page that highlights the various methods available for iOS and Android control.
I could spend the next week adding new and wonderful capabilities to my admin portal, however the intention here was to provide a very simple example of what’s possible so you can then let your imagination decide where you go next. Here are a few thoughts on other scenarios that could be created:
- Add/remove a device to/from filters which in turn are referenced by policies. This would allow you (or one of your users) to change configuration profiles for a device without touching the SMP console.
- Add remote wipe, update inventory and other functions
- Use Workflow to send notifications to managers e.g. One of your staff is currently roaming
- Use Workflow to report and act on exceptions – e.g. Notify users when their device is running low on disk space
- Build in management approvals for any process
- Wrap all of the above and more into a self service portal
- Create a restricted console so certain groups can only perform certain functions - without the need to open up access to the SMP console.
- Run a Workflow on a scheduled to Update Policies on all or selected mobile devices more frequently than the default 60 minutes (You should consider the potential performance impact this could have).
Installing the 'Mobile Bulk Actions' sample Workflow process
So back to the example at hand. I have attached the necessary files to this article to enable any existing (or potential) Symantec Mobile Management customer to implement the Mobile Bulk Actions sample workflow process. If you are new to Workflow, I would recommend viewing the referenced videos in steps A, B and C at the very least before trying to do anything with the files attached to this article.
A) Demo - Extending Mobile Management Solution with Workflow- Video covering a general overview of the Mobile Bulk Actions process and a deeper dive into the underlying Workflow and how it hangs together.
B) Performing a simple install of Symantec Workflow - This video covers off the process to perform a basic installation of Workflow under the Symantec Management Platform. I also recommend looking at www.workflowswat.comfor additional information regarding Workflow install and usage. There are a large number of videos on this site - Browse to 'Learn' | 'Videos'.
C) Importing and Configuring the Mobile Bulk Actions workflow project - This video shows how to import the SMP report and also covers the process to import the attached Workflow package and publish this to IIS.
D) Mobile Device Summary with Geo Info.xml (9KB) - This is referenced in the videos as 'WF DemandCommandWS Report.xml' - The SMP report used in step (c) above.
E) Mobile Bulk Actions - 7.2.zip (2MB) - This is the Workflow process that will be imported into the Workflow designer under step (c) above. Note that you need to unzip this first.
If you would like to learn more about Workflow, please contact your local Symantec account manager. There are a variety of training options available and I would highly recommend that anyone embarking on Workflow design undertake one or more of these courses to ensure you are armed with the right information to maximise the toolset.
Disclaimer: The attached workflow process is neither produced nor endorsed by Symantec. It was knocked together for demonstration purposes only. That said, Workflow is an important part of the Symantec story so keep an eye out for official Symantec MMS workflow processes in the medium-term future.