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Monday, February 14, 2005


Blackberry Enterprise Server upgrade to BES 4.0

Posted by Bharat Suneja at 10:48 AM

If you are running BES 3.x, the upgrade to 4.0 should theoretically be a simple one, but here are things to do before you click setup.exe:
1) If running MSDE 7.x, upgrade to MSDE 2000 (shows up as MSDE 8.x in the admin tool). This is done by running setup.exe with upgrade=1 switch. Before you upgrade the database, make sure you have a backup.
The download page for MSDE 2000 Rel A states it should NOT be used for upgrades from MSDE 7. Use SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine SP3 (sql2kdesksp3.exe) instead.
2) Upgrade to MDAC 2.8.
3) Make sure you're running the latest service pack of BES 3.6 (i.e. SP3).
4) Export Blackberry users and servers from the Blackberry admin console.
5) Upgrade BES by running setup.exe.

What if the upgrade fails?

1) If an upgrade goes wrong (which it did for me last week), it's a good idea to simply uninstall and reinstall BES. (The RIM support tech I worked with informed me he helps about 3 customers a day with failed upgrades.) When reinstalling, you need to make sure the name of the BES server is exactly the same as the old one. (This is provided during BES setup, not the computer's name provided during Windows OS setup).

2) Once this is done, you can simply import users exported to a text file earlier.

Will users need to be activated again?
One fear during such a procedure was whether all users will need to activate their handhelds again - but if the users are exported, BES starts forwarding messages to them when imported again.

Once all users are imported again, allow sufficient time for BES to synch with all mailboxes. You will see messages being forwarded to each user one by one - may take 30-60 minutes for this to happen.

How does Enterprise Activation work?
Enterprise Activation - a killer feature worth upgrading for - lets you activate a user's Blackberry handheld over the air, wirelessly. With earlier versions, you would do this by either having the user install the Blackberry Desktop client app on their computers, and connect the handheld using a USB (or serial cables/cradles for really old ones). The client app detects the handheld, and communicates the PIN and the encryption key to the server.

With Enterprise Activation in BES 4.0, the admin can generate a one-time password (automatically, or set it manually) and email it to the user - a one-step process from the BES console. The user gets the email and instructions on how to activate the handheld.

The user goes to Options Enterprise Activation menu on the handheld, enters his/her email address and the one-time password. Voila! The handheld is activate. Takes a few minutes to synchronize with the server and download the initial data - last XX messages / calendar / contacts / tasks / notes. If the user quits the Enterprise Activation screen during the process, an Icon is placed in the main menu that keeps the user informed that initial synch/Enterprise Activation is currently in progree. After all data is downloaded, the icon disappears.

If you've just upgraded/installed, and imported a bunch of users, it will take a while for the activation to complete because the server is busy checking and synching imported user's mailboxes. Best tried after that initial wave of snychronization is complete.



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