What is Blackberry Enterprise Server?

BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) is the name of the middleware software package that is part of the BlackBerry wireless platform from Research In Motion. BlackBerry Enterprise Server connects to messaging and collaboration software (Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino, Novell GroupWise) on enterprise networks and redirects emails, and synchronizes contacts and calendaring information between servers, desktop workstations, and mobile devices. Some third-party alternatives or connectors exist, including Mobiso, Scalix, Zarafa, Zimbra, and the Google Apps BES Connector, but these are not supported by RIM.

Different Versions of Blackberry Enterprise Server

Following are the versions of Blackberry Enterprise Server:

  • 2.2: BES for Domino
  • 3.6: BES for Exchange
  • 4.0: BES for Exchange, Domino, and GroupWise
  • 4.1: BES for Exchange, Domino, and GroupWise
  • 5.0: BES for Exchange and Domino

Previous to v4.0, Blackberry Enterprise Server was largely two separate codebases: the 2.2 version for Domino and the 3.6 version for Exchange. In version 4.0 and beyond, much of the code is integrated, but separate distributions still remain for each mail platform.

Version 4.1.2 introduced a new type called BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Applications. This provides a secure wireless gateway for BlackBerry devices without requiring the device owner to possess an email account.

What are Blackberry Enterprise Server Components?

Blackberry Enterprise Server consists of a set of Windows services that carry out the basic operations of the system. These Windows Services can include (additional services may be installed depending on configuration):

  • BlackBerry Alert
  • BlackBerry Attachment Service retrieves and converts attachments to a format specific for BlackBerry device. For documents with file extensions .doc, .xls, .ppt, .pdf, .wpd, and .txt, the Attachment Service renders the content into the Universal Content Stream format for viewing on the device.
  • BlackBerry Collaboration Service provides IM services
  • BlackBerry Controller monitors the status of the BlackBerry services. Services are started if failed or stopped up to ten times in a row.
  • BlackBerry Database Consistency Service
  • BlackBerry Dispatcher: All communication between the BlackBerry components passes through this service
  • BlackBerry Instant Messaging Connector
  • BlackBerry Messaging Agent performs wireless calendar synchronization. It generates initial encryption key and provides email and lookup services
  • BlackBerry MDS Connection Service push requests from intranet applications
  • BlackBerry MDS Services – Apache Tomcat Service sends and receives internet/intranet web browsing to device through BlackBerry Dispatcher service. It is used for data flow with 3rd party Java applications on device
  • BlackBerry Policy Service pushes wireless IT policies to devices. It performs new Encryption Key Generation and sets command for device locks and remote wipe
  • BlackBerry Router routes all data to wireless device. Link between BES (can be installed on same server) and SRP host
  • BlackBerry Synchronization Service performs OTA backup and synchronization of all PIM data (contacts, tasks and notes) except calendar
  • BlackBerry User Administration Service (Only 3.6 and BlackBerry Resource Kit (BRK) in 4.0 and 4.1)

Blackberry Enterprise Servers also produces a set of log files during operation called the BES Event Log. The log files include (for a BES v4.0 and 4.1 system connecting to Microsoft Exchange):

  • ALRT – BES Alert
  • BBIM – BlackBerry Instant Messenger (4.1)
  • BBUA – BlackBerry User Administration Service (BRK)
  • CBCK – Backup Connector
  • CEXC – MS Exchange PIM Connector
  • CNTS – Lotus Notes/Domino Connector
  • CMNG – Management Connector
  • CTRL – BlackBerry Controller
  • DISP – BlackBerry Dispatcher
  • MAGT – BlackBerry Mailbox Agent (aka BlackBerry Messaging Agent)
  • MDAT – Mobile Data Services
  • MDSS – MDS Services (4.1)
  • MDSS-DISCOVERY – MDS Services (4.1)
  • POLC – Policy Service
  • ROUT – Router
  • SYNC – BlackBerry SyncServer
  • PhoneCallLog (4.1)
  • PINLog (4.1)
  • SMSLog (4.1)

How is the Blackberry Enterprise Server managed?

Blackberry Enterprise Server is typically deployed and managed within the enterprise by messaging administrators (for example, individuals already responsible for managing Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino, or Novell GroupWise) or sometimes a dedicated IT person, usually called the BlackBerry or BES Administrator.

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