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  • Experiences of ActiveSync apps for Blackberry devices.

    Apologies if this is the wrong forum, but it relates to Exchange 2007. One of my customers has had a fresh outbreak of shiny kit syndrome and decided they want Blackberrys. As far as I know this is purely because "they like the phones" rather than any particular requirement. Suggestions of iPhones, Windows Mobiles, Nokias running Mail for Exchange (E.g. the E72 which is a Blackberry clone near enough) or Android phones have met with deaf ears, despite the fact that there is no hardware or software outlay required other than the phones.

    Anyway I am trying to talk them out of having BES for various reasons, which their IT manager is in agreement with. As an alternative we've discussed ActiveSync clients for Blackberry sych as NotifySync and AstraSync, I'd just like to know what experiences anyone has had with them as regards reliability, cost, user experience etc.
    BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
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  • #2
    Re: Experiences of ActiveSync apps for Blackberry devices.

    So why are you trying to talk them out of BES?
    BES makes ActiveSync look like something from 2001. Microsoft are still playing catch up. Whether Exchange 2010 and Windows Mobile 7 brings them close, remains to be seen. Even so, to get close to BES requires additional applications.

    Is it the cost?
    If so, deploy BESx. It is free. The only limitation is on the number of security policies, but they are pretty much equivilent to what you would get with ActiveSync policies.
    Nothing more to pay - all of the ActiveSync apps for Blackberry are chargable and have various limitations.

    I was looking at the ActiveSync applications for Blackberry, none of them impressed me much. Right now, I am not even bothering to look any more - BESx does what I need.

    Simon.
    --
    Simon Butler
    Exchange MVP

    Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
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    • #3
      Re: Experiences of ActiveSync apps for Blackberry devices.

      Thanks for the reply Sembee. I have various concerns regarding BES, one of which is cost. As a company we don't have much experience of it either, so I'm trying to find out at the moment as well if all accounts need to be on the "local" Exchange Server to where BES is installed. This customer has 3 sites, 2 with Exchange 2007 and one with Exchange 2003 with the latter site being the likely location for BES. AFAIK BES's requirements are small enough to be installed on the Exchange Server with the number of mailboxes we would be using.

      Lastly I have some concerns about the reliability of Blackberry's services. As I understand it all email is routed via RIM's servers and there have been a few major outages recently, although I think they were in the US? I wasn't aware of BESx so I'll have a look into that.
      BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
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      Cruachan's Blog

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      • #4
        Re: Experiences of ActiveSync apps for Blackberry devices.

        Reliability of the service, I see that as a non-issue.
        All services have problems, the only reason Blackberry makes the news is because they admit they have them, and there is a widespread community who report them. I can almost guarantee that there are more issues with your service provider than with RIM.

        It is correct that all email traffic goes through RIM, but if it is good enough for most Government agencies and major conglomorates, then it shoudl be fine for anyone else.

        Blackberry is pretty much set it and forget it. It does have its little qurks, particularly around configuration, but once running it is no hassle at all. I have dozens of BES servers in the field and they just work. Blackberry is a very mature solution, a lot more mature than ActiveSync.

        If you already have the devices, then download BESx, its free, and try it out. At the moment I can sum up all of your concerns to one simple factor - fear of the unknown. You haven't used it, so you are not familar with it, therefore you aren't sure. That may well be blunt, but that is how I see it.

        Only BESx is supported on the Exchange server itself. Full BES is not. Personally I run it in a VM, where it works really well. That allows it to operate quite happily.

        If you are using it in a mixed environment then in my experiences it works best with the older version management tools. Thus if you have mailboxes on both E2003 and E2007 to use BES, then it will need to be on machine with ESM installed - not the Exchange 2007 version.

        Blackberry is expensive to run. The devices, the server, the data packages from the service provider. If you want cheap, run iPhones or Windows Mobile based devices.
        However for that additional cost you get something that simply works.

        Simon.
        --
        Simon Butler
        Exchange MVP

        Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
        More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
        Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
        In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

        Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

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        • #5
          Re: Experiences of ActiveSync apps for Blackberry devices.

          Sembee, have you installed the recently release BESX 5 on an SBS 2008 server? RIM explicitly indicates it is compatible with SBS 2008 but on the Blackberry forums I have not seen anyone with a successful install yet.
          Network Engineers do IT under the desk

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          • #6
            Re: Experiences of ActiveSync apps for Blackberry devices.

            Originally posted by Sembee View Post
            If you already have the devices, then download BESx, its free, and try it out. At the moment I can sum up all of your concerns to one simple factor - fear of the unknown. You haven't used it, so you are not familar with it, therefore you aren't sure. That may well be blunt, but that is how I see it.
            Not blunt at all Sembee, 100% accurate, which is why I'm asking the questions.

            They don't have the devices yet as the existing contracts are coming up for renewal in a month or so, so I want to make sure we have all the facts before a decision is made. Thanks for your help.
            BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
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            Cruachan's Blog

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            • #7
              Re: Experiences of ActiveSync apps for Blackberry devices.

              Originally posted by RobW View Post
              Sembee, have you installed the recently release BESX 5 on an SBS 2008 server? RIM explicitly indicates it is compatible with SBS 2008 but on the Blackberry forums I have not seen anyone with a successful install yet.
              Not yet, it is on the list of things to do.
              I have got it on the same machine as Windows 2008 R2 Exchange 2010 successfully.

              Simon.
              --
              Simon Butler
              Exchange MVP

              Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
              More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
              Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
              In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

              Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

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