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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Blackberry: Optimizing Blackberry For Enterprise Class Environments


Blackberry has become a very popular application providing mobile messaging services. In this article, I will go over how to design and optimize your Blackberry environment in conjunction with Exchange.

Blackberry is a very time sensitive application. Each second of latency from your BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server) to your Exchange server has an exponential affect in delivery times for messages. Therefore it is critical that your BES server and Exchange server are in close proximity (LAN) with ping response times of less than 35ms. In BES environments, the following holds true, "One bad apple ruins the bunch." What this means is that if your BES server communicates with multiple Exchange servers and one of those Exchange servers is on a high latency link above 35ms, then everyone suffers the latency affect. Therefore; follow the best practices below.

1. Configure your BES servers to communicate with the fewest number of Exchange servers as possible. For example, if you have 3 BES servers and 3 Exchange servers, configure BES1 to only host users on EX1, BES2 to EX2 and BES3 to EX3, rather than a full mesh environment.

2. What about if you hosts many Exchange servers which are geographically dispersed? Ideally you want to host your BES server in the same LAN as the Exchange server it hosts. However, if your organization hosts all it's BES servers in one location say HQ, and has Exchange servers geographically dispersed, design your BES according to the following:

Classify your Exchange servers in 3 tiers based on ping times from the BES servers. Classify your low latency Exchange servers <35ms in tier1, >35 to <60ms tier2, >60ms tier3. Now you want to follow the "One bad apple ruins the bunch" approach. Therefore, have one of your BES only hosts tier1 Exchange servers, another BES only host tier2 Exchange servers and another BES host tier3 users.

Depending on the size of your environment, number of BES servers and Exchange servers, you can classify the tiers anyway that suits your environment as long as you follow the "One bad apple ruins the bunch" approach.

James Chong
MCSE M+, S+, MCTS, Security+

How useful was this article? Want to see a tip not listed? Please leave a comment.


Blogger Conrad said...

very useful info

6:47 AM  
Blogger rebel_on_loose said...

Hi James, Thanks a lot for that useful information.
I have a requirement...I want to configure an email account to recieve emails ONLY from blackberry devices (and not users sending mails through their outlook email accounts)
So I want to configure my exchange server to recieve emails only from the BES(enterprise server).

Basically I have gone through the SMTP Connector with Delivery restrictions set to the Blackberry users group, but then the same users can still send mails w/o using their devices.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

4:15 AM  
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