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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

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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