Blackberry without BES?

Blackberries are great but BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server) can be an Exchange administrators nightmare..   One example being the significant load that BES can place on an Exchange Server.  As an example, a Blackberry device synchronising via BES version 4 would place two to four times the equivalent load of an Outlook user on your mailbox role servers.  This is significant particularly when you consider the I\O your storage subsystem has to then sustain.    For example, if you were planning to deploy 4,000 mailboxes per mailbox role server but 50% of those mailboxes are associated with a Blackberry device then you might need to size for up to the equivalent of 12,000 mailboxes..

Of course a number of factors influence this load including how each device is used and the version of BES that you’ve deployed.  BES 5.0 (Argon) is not far away I believe and I’m not sure how this changes the game but suffice to say for the moment it’s very important to account for Blackberry device usage when you design for Exchange 2007 and BES is likely to have a significant impact on your design and its cost.

...and just for comparison Microsoft's Exchange synchronisation protocol; Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) is considered to have an extremely light load.  As a guide you would not need to take EAS into account when sizing for storage and I\O against the mailbox role servers.  Of course you would consider the impact on CAS of a large EAS estate but the actual impact would be relatively minor.  Current guidance suggests that a single EAS device would place a similar load as an Outlook client (OA for example) on CAS.

So a combination of a Blackberry device synchronising via EAS sounds like the perfect combination and has been possible for a while now, but I’ve never seen it so I had a dig around and found a couple of solutions that might be worth looking at:

  1. NotifyLink for Microsoft Exchange from Notify Technology
  2. ActiveSync for Blackberry from AstraSync

And if it was me this is what I’d be looking out for?

  • How do you manage the devices?  How does it work if presumably there is no on-premise hardware?
  • Security – can you apply security policies and if so are all the policies you want to use applicable?
  • What’s the impact on battery life
  • Functionality – do I get the full functionality I’m looking for?
  • How do the costs compare with BES hardware, deployment and licenses?

So in conclusion I’m really not sure if it is a viable solution but in the current environment any way to reduce costs has got to improve your chances of getting any IT project approved – have a look at some more ideas here.

Comments (13)
  1. Outlook Live screenshots: upon first glances Microsoft's Exchange 14 adds cross-browser support and

  2. Walt Brannon says:

    As messaging manager of a major university I am always looking to improve performance. Hence, I did try NotifySync.

    1) It does not run ActiveSync native on Blackberry. It runs as a separate app providing mail sync.

    2) Drain on the battery was very high, I got 1/3 the battery time as with BES.

    3) NotifySync locked up the Blackberry any time connection was lost — had to do a battery remove to restart — this happened three or four times a day.

    4) The view and presentation was not the normal BB view.

    After a three week test, I returned to BES.

    Walt Brannon

    Manager, Messaging Systems

    University of New Orleans

  3. Thanks for the update…

  4. ..and coincidentally ‘BlackBerry Enterprise Server – Voted Readers’ Choice Award Winner – Exchange Mobility & Wireless’ @

  5. VICKI GENTRY says:

    I have a question. We have and older version of blackberry and were able to set up two BES on the at blackberry for receiving emails from two different accounts. We now got in about 9 new blackberries and are not able to do this they say we can only have one BES. Is there anyway around that so that we can set up to receive both email accounts.

    Thank you.

  6. Bit confused by your questions Vicki.. but either way not really my field.  Try RIM for problems setting up the devices andor the BES server…


    you could try a comment on  ??

  7. robert says:

    I believe Notifylink can co-exist with BES. The easiest way is to sign up for a Notifylink "on demand" account …

  8. Lee Walton says:

    Just wrote a whitepaper on deploying BES with Exchange 2010 in greenfield of new environments. Send me a req to if you want a copy.

  9. Ted says:

    Does anyone know how you can setup a blackberry to sync without BES?  I have a user who just joined our company, we have no BES and he is able to sync mail, contacts, calendar to his blackberry with no other software.  This is a bit confusing to me.



  10. doris says:

    Muy buenas tardes.

    tengo un servicio de exchange a traves de owa en mi blacberry, este permanecio en servicio hasta hace 20 dias, y no veo mis correos de exchange en blackerry. aque se puede deber esto.


  11. Jack_Strut says:

    Guys no need for BES or Enterprise server.

    Out the box Blackberry with BIS and Exchange 2010.

    On BB

    go Setup

    Go Email Accoutns

    Go Internet Mail Account

    Go Setup another email account

    go Other

    fill in email address

    Fill in Active Directory password

    go Continue

    Done Deal easy as pie no activesync no webmail settings no Blackberry Enterprise server.

    But cannot figure out how to wipe device remotely.

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content