Monday, May 10, 2010

BES Express upgrade from BES 4.1

The good the bad and the ugly:

No upgrade path for the free version.

  1. Good: It's FREE! A nice new version of BES, administer via a web browser. You can downgrade your data plan to use a simple data plan instead of a BES data plan from your carrier - but you lose over the air activation. The web site says the downloaded software includes one free tech support call (which you'll probably need :-).
  2. Bad: Product confusion - BB Tech support thought there was no wipe handheld feature, but they researched it and found the feature... Under manage users, you need to click on the PIN number to show the feature.
  3. Ugly: Takes an entire day to install and then you'll want to call BlackBerry to resolve the issues you have left. But reading and following the docs is the hardest part. Ugly: Users requested that I load some back email to the devices and there is a feature limited to 14 days and 200 messages. I didn't get that to work properly.

Having a VM with the 4.1 BES installed on it, I went through the following process to upgrade my installation:

  1. Create a snapshot of the existing machine.
  2. Check the requirements documents. Note that 9/10 of the requirements are the same between 4.1.6 and 5.0. Had some confusion over the CDO version 1.21 - the install document recommends installing a new file version that is not applicable to Exchange 2003. In this case the existing CDO file version 6.5.7654.12 is the correct one. The requirements doc leads me to believe that I need 1.5GB RAM for my base configuration - 8 users. But it continues to run fine with 700MB RAM, on Windows Server 2003 SP2.
  3. Remove BES, Remove SQL Express.
  4. Walk through the installation process.
  5. BES Express is up and I can access it - Yay!
  6. Troubleshoot remaining issues: Set an activation password and enter it on the device, the email is sent and I can see it in OWA. However the BES is not picking it up. Turns out that while I was uninstalling BES 4.1.6 - the email account information for my BESAdmin account was removed from Active Directory. Set up the account for Exchange access and made sure it was not hidden from the GAL. Then checked the ability to manage a user's mailbox using c:\program files\research in motion\blackberry enterprise server\iemstest.
  7. Create a user, delete the user and can't re-create the user. Had to debug the download from corporate directory feature (the BESAdmin account issue). Also the user interface is confusing - if you delete a user and are trying to recreate it - the best thing to try is to go under create user, and search with no entries. You may get back a list of entries in the Global Address List. Check the user in that list. If you try to create a user who is already in the 'Corporate Directory' which has been imported from GAL - then you will get an error message.
  8. Voila! All is running.


Rich Snow said...

The number of back emails that can be pre-poulated on a phone wipe has increased in subsequent versions. I have to say that RIM is certainly committed to upgrading this software! It seems like there is a release every other week...

Rich Snow said...

BES we knew ya well...
In the post Blackberry world we are limited to ActiveSync. In the same sense that Apple controls both their hardware and software environment - RIM also had more control over the synchronization environment. So there are some glitches to synchronization - and push email is not universal. But Activesync against Exchange 2010 is a viable option. Just have to give up recurring appointments - those are a nightmare!