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Mobilize Your Workforce with BlackBerry

Experience the Evolution of Mobility with BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.1 for Novell GroupWise

Written by Ken Baker

Business can happen any time at anyplace; you need to be just as productive on the go as you would be in the office. Research in Motion (RIM) in collaboration with Novell further enhances mobility for GroupWise users with the recent release of BlackBerry Enterprise Server V5.0.1 (SP1) for Novell GroupWise 8.

“Our main goal is to fully, securely and efficiently mobilize GroupWise users,” says Slav Koziarski, Product Manager for Research In Motion. “Both RIM and Novell are committed to continue working closely together and provide our customers with high-quality products which address their mobility needs. Our product management and development teams have worked very hard to make this release the best to date.”

Both RIM and Novell are committed to continue working closely together and provide our customers with high-quality products which address their mobility needs.

More features for Mobile Users

Fully supporting BlackBerry smartphones running wide range of BlackBerry Handheld Operating Systems including version 5 and 6, BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) 5.0.1 for Novell GroupWise delivers an array of new features to help your GroupWise 8 users and administrators as well as your BlackBerry users be more productive while mobile. One of these new features allows you to synchronize multiple GroupWise address books with your BlackBerry smartphone, a feature that has been widely requested from the user community. In the past, you only had the ability to synchronize a single address book. But now if you have personal address books in addition to your business address book, you can synchronize them too, giving you convenient access to all your contacts.

This version of BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Novell GroupWise also provides users with remote access from their BlackBerry devices to files stored on their office servers. (See Figure 1.) Specifically, the “Files” feature allows you to securely retrieve, view, edit* (Requires additional editing software such as Docs To Go) and email documents stored behind your firewall on your Windows network file shares. So, if you’re running to a meeting and realize you need to look at a certain file stored on your network, you can now access it from your BlackBerry smartphone. Or, if you are a frequent road warrior and need access to certain files while away from the office, you can leave those files on your network share and access them from your BlackBerry device as needed* (minimum device code version 5 needed).

The attachment file support in this latest release of BlackBerry Enterprise Server for GroupWise has been expanded as well. It now lets you open and view any word processing document, spreadsheet or presentation that you might receive as an Open Document Format (ODF) e-mail attachment on your BlackBerry. This includes documents created with OpenOffice.org applications.

Additionally, if you have the BlackBerry Presenter peripheral, you can run a whole PowerPoint or PDF presentation directly from your BlackBerry handheld. This reduces the need to carry your laptop around to meetings just so you can give a presentation. You can leave your laptop back at the office and just bring your BlackBerry.

BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.1 for GroupWise now lets you forward calendar meeting invitations including those invitations that contain file attachments, directly from your BlackBerry smartphone. (See Figure 2.) It also gives you the power to create, move, browse, rename and delete your GroupWise e-mail folders from your BlackBerry just as you can from your GroupWise client. All of these new features empower your mobile users, ensuring they have the right tools to drive business on the go. After all, there is no need to always have your laptop with you.

Now if you have personal address books in addition to your business address book, you can synchronize them too, giving you convenient access to all your contacts.

Simplifying Mobile Management

The enhancements to BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.1 for GroupWise not only address the wish lists of the BlackBerry and GroupWise user community, but this release also addresses several key requirements of the IT administrator community as well. As a primary example, the product is now much easier to install and manage. To help you get a feel for the ease of installation, you can take a virtual installation walkthrough by visiting this tutorial provided by RIM.

In terms of ease of administration, RIM has introduced the BlackBerry Administration Service (BAS), which offers dynamic, Web-based administration. BAS provides admins with centralized management of your BlackBerry Enterprise Server, letting you manage user accounts; assign user groups, administrative roles and software configurations; and apply IT policies to user accounts from any browser on your network rather than having to go to a specific server. (See Figure 3.)

As a replacement for the BlackBerry Manager Console, the BlackBerry Administration Service has a new design and layout, but these changes are designed to make administration more intuitive and simple from a browser-based environment. To give you a feel for how simple it is to carry out certain administration tasks, you can visit RIM’s interactive tutorial for the BlackBerry Administration Service.

RIM has also incorporated some new functions into the browser-based administration service. One of these is the addition of new IT policies that give you more control over what your users can and cannot do. For example, you can use these IT policy rules to manage security and behavior features of your BlackBerry devices in relation to encryption, user passwords and passphrases, protection of user data, and control of device resources (i.e., cameras and GPS capabilities) that are available to third-party devices. There are over 450 IT Policies in total.

The BlackBerry Administration Service also lets you create roles for your administrator accounts, allowing you to assign different levels of access and permission to different administrators. It comes with pre-defined roles that determine what tasks administrators can perform. For example, it has pre-configured roles for security managers, enterprise-wide admins, senior helpdesk engineers, junior helpdesk technicians, server admins, and even a role with limited permissions that allows individual users to manage their own devices. In addition to the pre-defined roles, you can create custom roles based on your unique needs. Roles can be assigned to individuals or groups.

To further simplify management of your BlackBerry devices, the new browser-based console also provides monitoring dashboards that give you instant visibility into performance and health metrics such as number of devices contacted recently, user statistics and the status of various BES components. In addition to at-a-glance statistics, you can drill down further into areas such as system health monitoring, which provides a unified, color-coded view of your BlackBerry environment as it relates to potential server or user issues. You can also monitor the health of your BlackBerry environment from a BlackBerry device by leveraging the new Web-based handheld dashboard.

But the feature that will likely simplify administration of your BlackBerry environment the most is the new Blackberry Web Desktop Manager. This new tool lets you introduce self-service into Smartphone administration, allowing your users to address some of the most common device management tasks on their own. For example, it allows users to create activation passwords so they can activate their BlackBerry devices over the wireless network without having to contact your helpdesk. You can also give users the ability to use the Web Desktop Manager to configure how their address books and calendars are synchronized, as well backup and restore settings for data on their devices.

Enhancing Mobile Management

Another enhancement that will appeal to IT administrators is that BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.1 for GroupWise now fully uses the SOAP protocol to interact with Novell GroupWise servers. This fundamental architecture change results in improved stability, increased performance and better scalability. It also eliminates the need to install the GroupWise client on your BES servers.

In terms of improved scalability, testing indicates that a server running BlackBerry Enterprise Server for GroupWise can accommodate up to 500 users per server under a fairly heavy load. Capacity of previous BES versions varied based on certain environment configurations and therefore may have required additional BES servers to accommodate larger deployments. Upgrading to BES 5.0.1 will allow you to do some server consolidation—saving both hardware and licensing costs. And to help with that server consolidation, RIM provides the Enterprise Transporter tool, which allows you to effortlessly move users between BES servers without having to delete the user account on the original server and then reactivate it on the new server. Not only does this save you administrative effort and time, but the consolidation is completely transparent to the end user.

With the use of the SOAP protocol, you’ll need to make sure that you have turned on SOAP at all the GroupWise Post Office Agents (POAs) where you have BlackBerry users. Additionally, if you use a proxy server when configuring the SOAP port, make sure your proxy server is transparent.

BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.1 for Novell GroupWise also has built-in high availability to help you reduce the risk of downtime. It lets you set up a standby BlackBerry Enterprise Server that your primary BlackBerry Enterprise Server server can fail over to if certain customizable thresholds are reached. (See Figure 4.) It also gives you the option to do load balancing between your primary and standby servers for some shared service components. Finally, you can perform a manual failover to your standby server to allow you to carry out planned maintenance tasks without affecting service to your BlackBerry smartphones.

The enhancements to BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.1 for Novell GroupWise not only address the wish lists of the BlackBerry and GroupWise user community, but this release also addresses several key requirements of the IT administrator community as well.

Secure, Scalable and Reliable Mobile Access

The commitment between Novell and RIM to further improve GroupWise mobility has led to the release of a BlackBerry Enterprise Server for GroupWise v 5.0 SP1 product that lets you give your mobile users secure, scalable and reliable access to their critical business information. It also simplifies and enhances your administrative efforts while delivering the system-wide scalability and availability you need. To learn more about how you can mobilize your GroupWise users with BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Novell GroupWise, visit http://na.blackberry.com/eng/services/business/server/full/ .

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