Cool Solutions

GroupWise: ActiveSync Device Support

Dean Lythgoe

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December 2, 2009 4:00 pm

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We are making great progress on the Gradenko and ActiveSync Connector technology. This last week we released BETA2 of Gradenko and expect to release BETA3 next week. We also expect to release an Alpha/BETA of ActiveSync before the December Holiday break. In our testing, we have successfully synchronized on all major mobile device platforms. Note: ActiveSync is an ‘over-the-air’ solution. Not a desktop sync solution.

So – Will your device be supported? We hope to provide you enough information to answer that question! Including a ‘known’ device support list and a known ‘unsupported’ list.

So let’s walk through some of the logic….

Do you have a BlackBerry device? Then your device is supported using the BES solution from RIM. These devices are NOT a target for the ActiveSync solution.

Now onto ActiveSync….

The first question to ask is: Does your mobile device state that it ‘supports connecting to Microsoft Exchange 2003 SP2 or later?’

If your answer is YES, then your device is supported and will work with the new ActiveSync connector technology.

The more common answer will probably be “I DON’T KNOW”….

If this is your answer, then the next question will be: “Does your phone/device run on one of these mobile operating systems?”

- Apple OS 2.0, 3.0, 3.1 or later
- Symbian Series 60 3rd-5th Edition or later
- Windows Mobile 5.0, 6.0, 6.1, 6.5 or later
- Palm OS with VersaMail or Exchange ActiveSync Update software
- Palm webOS
- Android 1.5 and 1.6 with additional software OR 2.0
- Maemo Internet Tablet OS 5.0

If the answer is YES, then your device is most likely supported.

We will ‘certify’ several devices including:

- Apple iTouch and iPhone
- Nokia e62, e71, N97
- MotoQ
- Samsung Intrepid
- HTC Pure
- Palm Centro and Pre
- T-Mobile G1
- Motorola Droid

These devices represent a cross-section of mobile device operating systems. We also have a list of 12 other devices that we also intend to ‘certify’, but the list above is the initial pass.

We believe that our testing and certification will validate the initial supportability of roughly 250 unique smart phones.

We will publish a Device Support Matrix and Flow Chart so that our customers will be able to easily tell if their device is supportable.

Even if your device is not supported using BES or ActiveSync, we will provide other email synchronization options that include POP/IMAP and WAP access to your GroupWise mail through your mobile device.

This information will also be available in a WIKI format that will allow easy updates and contributions from partners, customers and end-users to help communicate the best ways to get GroupWise email, calendar and contact data from GroupWise to your mobile device – no matter which device you currently own or which device you purchase.

We expect to publish all of this information when the ActiveSync solution goes to Public BETA or at least by the time we release the technology.

I hope this information is useful and look forward to your feedback and questions.

Dean

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Disclaimer: This content is not supported by Novell. It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test it thoroughly before using it in a production environment.

47 Comments

  1. By:markusernst

    Is this public or authorized beta ?

    Thanks
    Markus

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    • By:dlythgoe

      This is Alpha :) It will only be available to authorized sites. We are still discussing the Alpha or BETA designation, but it will only be for authorized sites.

      Dean

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      • By:skapanen

        Dean,

        So there is not going to be any public release of ActiveSync now? whether it would be called beta, technical preview or whatever..

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      • By:dlythgoe

        Sorry for the confusion…

        The first ‘public’ eyes, outside of Novell, will be Alpha/BETA, but we are absolutely planning a public beta before our final release.

        We want to get as much exposure to this code/solution before final release as we can.

        So…

        Authorized BETA
        Public BETA
        Final Release….

        All of these are steps…

        Dean

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      • By:skapanen

        2010 is here – Happy New Year!

        I guess we should see the public beta pretty soon?

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    • By:anh2lua

      When will I be able to get a hold of this and test?

      Thanks

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  2. By:MHGlenn

    We will publish a Device Support Matrix and Flow Chart so that our customers will be able to easily tell if their device is supportable.

    Yay! Thank you!
    :)

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    • By:dlythgoe

      Glad you think this will be useful. The difficulty, obviously, is keeping it up to date. New devices seem to appear daily. It will definitely be a work in progress and will need constant maintenance. So please help us by reporting back your experience.

      What devices do people have the most?

      Dean

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      • By:skapanen

        Hope your schedule for Jan/Feb holds..

        for devices, Finland is a Nokia/Symbian country.
        We have about 200 Nokia E-series at the moment, other devices are not allowed. Older models work fine with GMS, but latest models don’t.. so we are waiting :-P

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  3. By:Magic31

    Hi Dean,

    That’s great news!

    As for your question what type of devices are being used, it’s a tough one to answer…
    We see lots of WM 6.x HTC’s & luckily GMS can still do the job for those devices.
    iPhone and Android have been taking a flight here, mainly customer demand to include iPhone support seems to put the greatest pressure on release of this conector asap. The general ActiveSync device support you mention will only help strengthen the solution once again. :)

    Thanks for all your (and team) efforts to get this on track!

    Cheers & regards,
    Willem

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  4. By:dlythgoe

    I received the following email and thought it would be great to share this more broadly.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    In one of your recent posts about GroupWise Activesync device support, I noticed that you have the Pre (Palm) listed under the devices that will be certified, however you do not have the Palm Pre’s operating system listed in the OS section. The Pre and now Pixi from Palm run Palm’s webOS operating system. Different than the PalmOS which is used by their other devices.

    From all that I have read, webOS supports the activesync protocol, therefore all webOS devices (Pre/Pixi) would be able to run with this new GW sync software.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Thanks for the question. Here is some clarification and I will update my blog post.

    We will support several Palm devices. Palm does support a variety of mobile OS’s including Palm OS, webOS and Microsoft Windows Mobile OS. We will support those devices where the ActiveSync protocol is supported. This does include webOS.

    Hope that is helpful!

    Dean

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  5. By:sjalife

    Hi,

    It is hard to determine a narrow field on the devices standpoint, because till date, most users are allowed to choose any of which they prefer, yet I can tell you that Windows Mobile 5.x, 6.x, iPhone, Blackberry and Palm are definitely BY FAR the most used ones.
    Personally I would love to see iPhone support.

    Cheers

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  6. By:Locksmith_Seattle

    Hope when the public version is released, all devices like iphone and PDAs can support this.

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    • By:dlythgoe

      iPhone will absolutely be supported. If you have a specific PDA you are curious about, let us know and we will communicate support.

      Dean

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  7. By:bigdog

    With the promised love of ActiveSync, what does happen to the traditional Palm os support?

    While iPhone’s are cute and have all their cute little “apps”, the traditional business group that is still using GroupWise will most likely have older devices such as “old school” Palm Os devices.

    Please don’t suggest that support will end for such…..

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    • By:dlythgoe

      If your device is currently working with the GroupWise Mobile Server (GMS), then that solution will continue to work. We are not removing that solution. Although that solution is not moving forward. Nokia will not be adding support for new devices . Therefore, new devices will be supported using the ActiveSync solution or one of the many other solutions already referenced in the original blog post.

      Hope that makes sense.

      Dean

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  8. By:arosink

    Hi Dean,

    Is there a schedule for supported Server OSs? (Or a priority-list or something)

    Will there be support for all current GW8 Server OSs?
    Novell Open Enterprise Server (NetWare® or Linux version)
    Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 (NetWare or Linux version)
    NetWare 6.5
    SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server 10
    Windows 2003 Server or Windows 2008 Server

    Thanks in advance!

    (Most wanted: Windows Mobile 6.x-Standard and Professional, iPhone, Android and Maemo5 – support)

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  9. By:dlythgoe

    Great question…

    With the initial release, our current plans are to support the ActiveSync solution on SLES 11 64-bit.

    After the initial release, we will expand this server OS matrix to include 32-bit SLES and OES2-Linux.

    We are not planning on support for NetWare. With Windows and SLES 10, we are still evaluating the demand for these server OS within our customer base.

    We are also looking at virtualization and appliance options as possible release vehicles.

    More information will be provided as we get into BETA.

    Dean

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    • By:acollins1

      We currently have Intellisync Mobile running on a Windows 2000 relay server. We are going to replace the relay server soon with a newer version of Windows, but want the old software and the new solution to work. Are you saying there may not be support for Windows servers at all with the new solution?

      We have multiple people waiting for the new solution, as I’m sure other organizations do. Hope we don’t have to make our network fit your solution as opposed to ActiveSync fitting right in!

      Thanks!
      Aaron

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  10. By:ruchd

    Dean-
    Thanks for the info in supported OS’s.

    How about Groupwise versions? Will the new activesync solution work with Groupwise 7?

    Thanks
    Dave

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    • By:dlythgoe

      Another great question….

      GroupWise 8 will be required for the ActiveSync solution. Dependencies on the GroupWise POA (SOAP Protocol), make this requirement necessary. Currently, GroupWise 8 SP1 HP1 will be required – but that may change to GroupWise 8.0.2 or GroupWise 8 SP2. This would be for the server components (POA, MTA, GWIA, GWINTER). Updating the clients to the GroupWise 8 version would not be a requirement. The POA is the only real dependency, but I mention all of them in case some of you are running more than one agent on the same machine. All agents on a particular machine need to be the same version.

      ActiveSync will not support GroupWise 7. GroupWise 7.0.4 will ship in the next few months and will be the last support pack for the GroupWise 7 code base. The end of life process will then begin for GroupWise 7 and it will enter into ‘extended support’.

      Dean

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  11. By:wbro1

    When will the public BETA be released? Is it this month ?

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    • By:dlythgoe

      We are not prepared to publicly announce a BETA date or release data yet for the Mobility Pack.

      We do expect to be in Alpha by the end of this month and we believe it will take us 3-4 weeks to get to BETA. So generally speaking, we estimate that Authorized BETA will be late February or early March.

      This week has seen some significant break throughs on the Mobility Connector side and so there is encouraging progress.

      Dean

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      • By:tmstone835

        I am dying to get my hands on the Mobility Connector. I have seen one client move to Google Apps and one move to Exchange in the last 3 months. Their reasons haven’t completely relied on mobile connectivity but it gave them yet another excuse to justify their actions.

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      • By:jeffwallis

        We applied for the authorized beta – and apparently did not make the cut. We have been waiting for this functionality for about 1 year. All of our senior management have iPhones and currently are not able to sync their calendars. They are pushing us to switch to Google Apps. I have been holding them off with the hopes of having at least something they can test. But it looks like this functionality is too little too late. And once we swtich away from GroupWise it will only be a matter of time before we switch away from OES as well. I love Novell products but if they cannot offer these basic services that others can then it makes it hard to continue to use them.

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      • By:gburg

        There are “ways” to sync the calendar, without the upcoming solution by Novell.

        Check out http://iphone.gwcheck.com and this blog post – http://www.gwcheck.com/wpml/?p=1759

        Gert
        GWCheck.com
        Novell Knowledge Partner

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      • By:jeffwallis

        We have had several users try different applications (paid and unpaid) to try to sync – including companionlink (which is supposed to be one of the best). None of them worked correctly. The best solution so far is to start using a gmail calendar and delegate appointments to gmail and then sync with the iphone. But of course this provides only one-way synchronization – so some users have stopped using the Groupwise calendar altogether and are only using gmail.

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      • By:sjalife

        Hi,

        I am currently an user for Notifylink, and it works flawlessly with the iPhone.
        But I do have to admit the whole process has it’s drawbacks:
        1.- Slow Push response
        You have to sync the message to a server somewhere, then that server has to locate your device, which in turn has to download the message.
        It usually takes about 5-10 mins… Not much, but a heck of a lot slower than Blackberry.
        2.- Service Cost
        If you just have 1 or 2 users, it’s fine. But when you want to have 10+ users, it’ll almost cost u as much as the Novell license in the first place!!!, that is just not fair…
        3.- Administration
        I now have a separate control panel to monitor, administer, and configure, FOR EACH USER.
        It’s jut to painful

        This is why I can tell you guys from Novell one thing:
        This implementation is sure to be VERY widely accepted.

        Since I am a current user on another solution, I would like to enroll on the testing for this.
        Where can I signup?

        cheers

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      • By:dlythgoe

        We have not started BETA yet for the Mobility Pack. We will notify those who were selected as soon as we are ready. Please see Alex Evan’s blog for more details on the selection process and where things are at.

        Dean

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      • By:sjalife

        Hi Dean,

        Thanx for your reply…

        I have looked everywhere for Alex’s blog with no luck.
        I have found some other stuff written by him, but not the Beta one…
        Can you point me in the right direction, (URL).

        thanx

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      • By:dlythgoe

        I know why you had such a hard time finding it….it was posted in NGWList, not on his blog – it was only referred to in his blog.

        Here is what he said:


        We have hit a number of issues delivering beta, and I am not comfortable delivering something that is unstable. Until those issues are resolved we will not be releasing the product. Our first goal is to give a pre-beta to our current Gradenko beta customers, followed by rolling out to a broader closed beta group. I expect that to happen in the next few weeks. That will help us assess gaps and quality and give us a better idea of release dates for public beta and FCS. I anticipate that to be at least 3 months out.

        A number of our customers are using NotifyLink, Toffa and Companion Link, or rolling out Blackberries in the interim.

        I can assure you that this is a top priority for us right now and everyone who can is assisting in getting this shipped. I wish I had better news and I am sorry.

        Alex

        It was referred to in this blog:

        http://www.novell.com/communities/node/9496/groupwise-mobility-update

        Still somewhat vague – as all software delivery dates tend to be – but it does give you an idea of what we are working towards.

        Dean

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      • By:johnnyv5

        Unfortunately we are in the same boat. The delay in getting this mobility solution implemented has caused the higher ups to force us to Exchange. And to make things “easier” for me, we are moving from OES to AD. Shame that it has come to this, but maybe its for the best. It will make Novell stay on top of technology instead of following……

        jv

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  12. By:robw

    Hi, I have a Palm Pre and it’s great, but I have concerns over the use of Activesync over Agent based sync. For example, my understanding is that Activesync is a PC to Device sync tool, which is OK if your in the office everyday. What about sync over the internet (3G/WiFi) – will there be server based Agent support for Calendar/Chat/eMail/Contacts any time soon. Or will we have to use Google or Yahoo instead of Groupwise (see the danger here!). I’ve spoken to lots of people who really believe CLOUD is the way to go, but there are risks & technical issues – not everyone wants to ditch in house colaboration tools like Groupwise. My point is that Devices like Palm Pre/iPhone and Google OS devices etc will want to hook into corporate ‘data’, and surely for Groupwise isn’t this a big deal?

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    • By:dlythgoe

      This is an excellent point to clarify.

      Microsoft has overloaded their term/product ‘ActiveSync’. When it was first introduced it was only about PC to Device synchronization. This is NOT the solution we will provide.

      ActiveSync has evolved beyond desktop synchronization software. It is now an ‘Over the Air’ synchronization protocol. No desktop software, client or cable needed. Desktop synchronization is almost completely outdated. It was all the rage before we introduced the GroupWise Mobility Server – several years ago.

      This new solution – based on the ActiveSync protocol – is an ‘Over the air’ solution. It is a server, that connects to your post office and through your mobile service provider synchronizes email, calendar and contacts automatically to your device. No cables, no PC, no USB, no desktop software needed. Once activated, there is no further interaction needed on your device to get it to synchronize. This solution will function very much like GMS today and BES today.

      I hope that clarifies exactly what we mean by ActiveSync.

      Dean

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  13. By:sfoss99

    You mention it will function very much like BES…will ActiveSync allow a remote wipe of a device that is Syncing OTA? If so, will that feature be for all ‘certified’ devices?

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    • By:dlythgoe

      We are limited by the feature set of ActiveSync 2.5, which does not have a lot of device management features. However, it does support the concept of a ‘kill pill’.

      All interaction with devices is OTA – including the kill pill. When later versions of ActiveSync are supported, we will add additional administrative features as they become available.

      The kill pill will be supported on all certified devices.

      Dean

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  14. By:tmstone835

    All of these devices should work fine regarding GroupWise but there are many vertical market applications requiring a wired sync (automotive, insurance, and moving companies are ones that I have run into). Many of those apps were designed for Blackberry, Palm OS, or Windows Mobile but are starting to appear on iPhones, and other new devices. Their technology advancement is slow along with their software development. In addition, their quality control is pretty dodgey.

    Wireless Activesync shouldn’t interfere with the tethered sync but we need to make sure that we don’t break something when deploying the new solution.

    Tom Stone

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    • By:dlythgoe

      Tom,

      This is a good comment and a good point of clarification. Novell is not providing or planning on providing a tethered solution. This mobility solution will be exclusively ‘Over the Air’.

      As Tom says, there are lots of ‘desktop synchronization’ solutions that allow you to sync devices with a cable between your device and your PC or computer. This can be confusing because Microsoft overloads the product ‘ActiveSync’. There are ActiveSync-based solutions that provide a desktop synchronization solution. As we have said before – this is not the ‘Mobility Connector’ Novell is providing. We are providing exclusively an ‘Over the Air’ solution….just like GMS.

      Dean

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      • By:ecyoung

        You must be referring to GMS3, because GMS2 was not exclusively an over the air solution. GMS2 (still supported by Novell) supports cradle sync.

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      • By:dlythgoe

        I must be confused or maybe we are talking about different things.

        GMS has never provided cradle sync support for email, calendar and contacts. It has always been an over the air solution.

        There was only one product that Novell supported that worked through cradle sync and that was a product called PDAConnect.

        Now you could install an email client on your device using three methods….hit a web site, through a SMS message or through cradle sync. This was just to get the client installed on your mobile device.

        Did I understand or am I still confused?

        Dean

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      • By:ecyoung

        Dean, check out TID’s 3620170 and 3942143. Then also the GMS 2 documentation for Palm’s:
        http://www.novell.com/documentation/groupwise_mobile_2/pdfdoc/palmusers_guide/palmusers_guide.pdf

        In a way, it’s a bit sad to see that you were not aware of this. Either way, it sounds like it’s pretty safe to say that the new Mobility solution will be a downgrade from GMS2, at least in this respect.

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      • By:dlythgoe

        I apologize for the mis-information. GMS did, at some point in its history, support a cradle sync.

        Thank you for calling me sad…some days I am or maybe I am just getting forgetful as I get older :)

        Dean

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  15. By:tmstone835

    I can’t remember which, GMS1 or 2, came with the desktop wired Intellisync product. It was kind of buried down in the CD but it was there.

    Tom

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  16. By:tmstone835

    GMS1 or GMS2 included the stand-alone Intellisync product. It was kind of buried on the CD but it was there.

    Tom

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  17. By:rmyers1968

    Hi, many people are using VM server or ESX. It would be nice if you could make available a VM of the ActiveSync server when it becomes available. If the VM users do not experience the problems other do, you know the problem has more to do with the installation of the OS or the ActiveSync…

    Also, it makes for faster adoption and deployement.

    Ray

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  18. By:martinpas

    Hi, Blackberry UDS and BDS use only activesync to conect devices. Did you try the connector with them?

    Regards

    Martin

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