Review: BlackBerry Enterprise Server, express or deluxe?

Extensive BlackBerry Enterprise Server will be indispensable to some, but free BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express is good enough for most

By Mike Heck, InfoWorld |  Mobile & Wireless, BES, BlackBerry

Most organizations will be satisfied with the basic controls in BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express, while those who need lots of fine-tuning will find it in BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Where BES Express can either allow or prohibit the use of a feature (MMS, SMS, Bluetooth, camera, media card, modem, Wi-Fi, USB/serial, internal network connections, and so on), BlackBerry Enterprise Server can control exactly how the feature is used. For example, BES lets you control whether Bluetooth can connect to BlackBerry Desktop, be used for device discovery or dial-up networking, exchange contacts, or transfer files. You can set a minimum encryption level for Bluetooth connections and even ensure that the LED connection light flashes whenever the BlackBerry is connected to a Bluetooth device.

The one policy area where BES Express matches BES is application control. In both editions, "listed" applications (such as the BlackBerry Java applications you choose to include in your company's repository) can be made optional or mandatory, or they can be prohibited based on a user's permissions. Similarly, "unlisted" applications can be allowed or blocked; if allowed, these applications can be prevented from using device storage or limited in the types of connections they can establish.

The new Web-based BlackBerry Administration Service (above) makes it easy to assign IT policies and software configurations to users. With the Web Desktop Manager (below), admins can let users configure their phones, install applications, and handle backups and restores.

Both BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express automate operating system and application updates, but BES has additional tools to make the whole software management process more reliable. That's because you can check for any software dependencies that need to be installed first. It's even possible to trigger a software upgrade based on a device's hardware or wireless carrier. For instance, if you have a BlackBerry Storm 2 user on Verizon, you could specify a Verizon-specific version of BlackBerry OS 5 for the Storm to be installed. Again, that sort of precision isn't available with Express.

In both editions, application and IT policy updates can be pushed during off-peak hours to minimize disruptions to users. While BlackBerry Enterprise Server allows devices to be activated over the air, initial provisioning is a manual process in BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express. But with the Web Desktop Manager, users can handle it by themselves.


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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