Android, Windows Mobile, and iPhones sync directly with an email server. Blackberry’s sync with a Blackberry Enterprise server. With all of the iPhone, windows Mobile, and Android devices being released over the past couple of years, RIM decided to create a free version of their Blackberry server to help compete with the free syncing of the other smartphones. But is the free Blackberry Enterprise Server Express software really free? Kinda.
The program itself is free and includes one free support incident. Not bad at all and it does work very well. The other advantage to the free version is that the data plan with the cell carrier just needs to be the basic one and not the Blackberry Enterprise plan. Usually this translates to switching users from a $45 a month plan to $30 and that can add up if you have a lot of Blackberry users.
Does it makes sense to move from the current Blackberry server to the free one? In many cases the answer is yes. Just keep some things in mind before embarking ion the adventure
- The system can be installed directly on your email server or any server for that matter, but expect to add 2 gigs more RAM since you will need it.
- Time – the download is free but the server install is a bit complex and expect to spend a couple of hours. Then you need to switch users over from the old server to the new server which takes anywhere from 10 minutes to hours per person depending on the users needs (do they need to backup all of their old emails to then be put back on?).
- The old Blackberry server and the new one can run in parallel making it easier to switch users over on their schedule. Both systems cannot reside on the same server though.
- There is no over the air activation using the free Blackberry Enterprise Server Express. You need to plug the phone into a computer using a usb cable and then you pull up the servers web page to do the activation. Easy enough to get done. Just not as elegant as doing it wirelessly on the Blackberry only.
We have found that clients have switched from the old server to the free one with no real user impact. A project for us to get this done may cost them $3,000, but the monthly cell plan cost savings make up for the consulting fees pretty quickly not to mention the fact that new users can be added with no cost and the server platform is the latest and injects additional reliability in to the equation.
Official details on the Blackberry Enterprise Server Express software http://us.blackberry.com/apps-software/business/server/express/?CPID=STCUSNAUSFY11Q3000000128200001600041001CUS012 BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express offers IT control and security features you can trust even for employees that choose to bring their own BlackBerry smartphones into your business. Download this free license to support up to 75 users on your existing Exchange Server