For this update to our mobile device management (MDM) roundup we took another look at the most current version of Baramundi Management Suite, priced at $11 per device annually. We were hoping to see some of the features we’d identified as missing in our earlier review now implemented, but, unfortunately, we were disappointed. The product still suffers from a job-oriented paradigm that adds steps you don’t need when using its competitors to many common MDM tasks. For this reason, it remains behind our Editors’ Choices in this space,
VMware AirWatch and IBM MaaS360.
One additional task you’ll be faced with immediately is that the Baramundi Management Server requires an external database for storing all management data. You’ll be able to choose from Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle database products, including smaller versions, like the SQL Express Edition. The company does recommend that you only use SQL Express Edition for environments with up to 250 endpoints. Beyond this, Baramundi recommends you purchase a commercial database license, which can add significant cost to the solution, placing it well behind the cheapest solution in our roundup, AppTec360.
Installation and Device Enrollment
Just like the last time we reviewed Baramundi, the company provided us with access to a virtual machine (VM) that its engineers had provisioned for use in our testing. That instance resided in the Microsoft Azure public cloud. Opening a remote desktop session with an RDP file allows the user to connect into a Windows Server-based environment. What’s nice about using a VM is that it makes it easy to deploy everything you need to a variety of cloud providers, or even to your local servers should you choose. It should be noted here that the company does not provide the product for sale as a VM, but once purchased, it’s relatively straightforward for VM-savvy IT professionals to virtualize the environment themselves and gain these benefits. However, virtualization isn’t a requirement as you can also simply deploy Baramundi to its own physical server as well.
As with most of the other products, Baramundi supports sending an enrollment email with specific instructions for the appropriate platform. The process is initiated from the Environment tab by either right-clicking on the container you wish to provision the device into or clicking on the New+ button. This will bring up a form where you select the appropriate device type and username of the device owner. Once complete, a Quick Response Code (QR code) containing the server and account information is presented on the management screen. The same code is included in the registration email as well.
We were able to register an iOS phone and a Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone with no issues. For those who have standardized their mobile devices, know that the Baramundi Management Suite supports both the Samsung Knox platform as well as Android Enterprise. We chose the Android Enterprise option for the Galaxy S9, which is what’s typically used for company-owned devices. The platform also supports the Apple Device Enrollment Program for provisioning new devices right out of the box.
Opening the Baramundi Management Suite console presents a dashboard that shows the status of all managed devices. Unfortunately, as we found in our first review, the graphics displayed are static, meaning you can’t click an image and drill down for further details. That’s disappointing not only because competitors like SOTI MobiControl or ManageEngine support this capability, but also because it’s simply so intuitive that most users will expect the functionality to be there and it’s actually frustrating to find that it isn’t. Additionally, you can’t modify the dashboard screens in any way, which also goes against the grain of modern management interfaces that nowadays stress customization.
Baramundi uses the concepts of “building blocks” to collect related settings into groupings. New additions to this capability include restrictions for Apple iCloud, authentication and data separation, plus specific Android for Work settings. This is all documented on the Baramundi docs site, which thankfully has been significantly upgraded since our last review. The content is much easier to find using the search tool and includes ample amounts of examples.
The job approach remains the primary action mechanism even in the latest release we reviewed. That means Baramundi still doesn’t have the ability to right-click on a device and perform an action such as lock or wipe. While the jobs paradigm makes sense in a large device management context, it doesn’t make the task of quickly responding to a panicked user any easier. The platform also still doesn’t support any type of geolocation-based services, which seems like a rather large oversight in this day and age. Another problem was that during our testing, once we initiated the wipe process, it took over 10 minutes to execute. We reported this to the company and it was determined to be due to a connection issue.
Viewing individual devices lets you see pertinent information about the device and perform specific tasks such as Assign a Job or Edit the owner details. A Device Actions menu item on the page only lets you deactivate the device. To do anything else requires a job. Creating a new job happens under the Jobs section. The Baramundi Management Suite includes standard jobs to do things such as take a Hardware and Software inventory or distribute an app. Initiating a device wipe requires a number of steps to first create the job and then assign it to a specific device. It’s not a difficult process to learn, but the amount of needless effort expended here, when compared to its competition, means many administrators will quickly find Baramundi tedious, especially after the first few device wipe requests.
A So-So Price
The base price for a single Baramundi Management Suite device per year is $11. A perpetual license costs $27.90 per device plus a yearly maintenance cost between $4.50 and $6.50, depending on contract length. While still fairly low cost at the software level, the need for on-site hardware or ongoing virtual cloud infrastructure costs plus the cost of an additional back-end database, keeps Baramundi from being the lowest costing solution we tested.
Overall Baramundi remains a functional and well-priced mobile device management system that can also do well at managing desktop systems across both PCs and Macs. However, the Baramundi Management Suite really only provides basic MDM capabilities, lacks customization, and is missing some other key features found in more expensive competitors. Unless you really need desktop as well as mobile device management in a single, on-premises platform, most users will want to look at our Editors’ Choice winners, VMware and IBM.