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Thread: Native BES for Zimbra on Linux from RIM

  1. #1
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    Default Native BES for Zimbra on Linux from RIM

    Hi,

    I attended the Zimbra Mobile webinar last week. Although the ActiveSync works fine, and I'm sure a lot of people, myself included, will be very keen on using the upcoming iPhone 2.0 with ActiveSync support built-in, a lot of my current and potential customer have BlackBerries and are likely to stick to them. I've successfully implemented BlackBerry Professional Software (BPS) on a limited basis through ZCB Beta. Generally it works fine, but I have had some issues similar to what many others here on the forum are describing.

    A native BES/BPS would be great. Perhaps Yahoo!/Zimbra can create some kind of online "petition" to show RIM that the Zimbra community really wants a native BlackBerry solution for Zimbra on Linux?

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    I would love to see BES for Linux. I had offered to collect people's interest in this and then try to work with Zimbra to present a case to RIM, but I got about 3 responses.

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    I only just now got to the point where I have been authorized get a ZCS Network Edition licence after 18+ months with the Community Edition.

    The upcoming Blackberry connector was a major selling point.

    Now I started to look into implementation and it seems we would need to have a Windows server to run BES. The Blackberries would connect to the Windows box that runs BES, which would in turn talk to the ZCS NE server that's running CentOS.

    Seems messy. I, too would much prefer running one Linux box with ZCS NE and BES on it, or perhaps two Linux boxes. Anything but having to introduce a Windows server.

    I also found out that apparently ZCS NE isn't officially supported on CentOS, only on "real" RHEL. Another hurdle.

    Seems the status quo today to get Blackberry functionality is that one needs to buy a ZCS CE licence, buy a RHEL licence and a Windows server licence and buy BES.

    I think we'll end up staying on community edition and wait until Zimbra officially recognize CentOS as a supported platform and I can get Blackberry functionality without needing a Windows server licence.

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    Now I started to look into implementation and it seems we would need to have a Windows server to run BES. The Blackberries would connect to the Windows box that runs BES, which would in turn talk to the ZCS NE server that's running CentOS.
    As far as I can tell, that's just the way BES works...regardless of what you are syncing the Blackberry devices to (Exchange, GW, Zimbra, etc....). The only "extra" piece required for Zimbra is the ZCB.

    I don't think the Blackberry devices themselves ever talk directly to the BES server. When they register, an email goes from the device to RIM servers, then to their Inbox. BES/ZCB picks the registration email out of the Inbox and activates the device. Everything is pushed from BES to the device.

    I also found out that apparently ZCS NE isn't officially supported on CentOS, only on "real" RHEL. Another hurdle.
    There are users running NE on CentOS...out of "official" support of course...but they say it works fine.

    Seems the status quo today to get Blackberry functionality is that one needs to buy a ZCS CE licence, buy a RHEL licence and a Windows server licence and buy BES.

    I think we'll end up staying on community edition and wait until Zimbra officially recognize CentOS as a supported platform and I can get Blackberry functionality without needing a Windows server licence.
    If I had to guess, you'll be waiting a looooong time before BES ever runs on anything other than Windows. Their biggest market is Exchange.... I don't like Windows much either, but there are some things that only run on Windows...and the "important" users with Blackberry devices aren't much into waiting for something that may never happen.

    Matt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chewie71 View Post
    As far as I can tell, that's just the way BES works...regardless of what you are syncing the Blackberry devices to (Exchange, GW, Zimbra, etc....). The only "extra" piece required for Zimbra is the ZCB.

    I don't think the Blackberry devices themselves ever talk directly to the BES server. When they register, an email goes from the device to RIM servers, then to their Inbox. BES/ZCB picks the registration email out of the Inbox and activates the device. Everything is pushed from BES to the device.



    There are users running NE on CentOS...out of "official" support of course...but they say it works fine.



    If I had to guess, you'll be waiting a looooong time before BES ever runs on anything other than Windows. Their biggest market is Exchange.... I don't like Windows much either, but there are some things that only run on Windows...and the "important" users with Blackberry devices aren't much into waiting for something that may never happen.

    Matt
    well said. even if RIM decided to start a linux port of BES, how long do you think that it would take to perform the engineering and QA along with setting up the infrastructure for tech support and training everyone on how to deal with the new platform? that doesn't even include the connector portion for ZCB which would have to be rewritten (not ported) to linux once a stable enough development BES is available on that platform. i understand the reasoning for hoping for a linux port but it doesn't make a lot of business sense to hold out until that happens...especially since RIM has not even agreed to it. i know of one very large enterprise that wants to push for a linux port but they are biting the bullet and bringing up a ZCB instance on a windows machine (the only windows machine in their intranet) so that their employees can immediately start using blackberry devices.

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    OK so my only remaining obstacle will be that we'd be running ZCS NE on CentOS and it would be irritating if the need to ask for support were to arise and we'd be told

    "Oh you are running CentOS. Sorry, can't help you until you pay for a RHEL licence".

    With regard to BES, if all it does it sort of activate and manage the blackberries and act as a licensing server, would it need Windows 2003 server or could one run it on Windows XP desktop ?

    I have a pretty useless 1U Dell server on the rack and an unused XP licence that could be used.

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    It needs Win2003, but it can run on fairly low hardware specs.

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    I think I have a Win2k3 server license I can use from our NFR pack. I'll just take the plunge and see how I go.

    First I will have to upgrade the ZCS CE to ZCS NE and then migrate it off the VM it sits on at the moment and to it's own box. If I survive all that I will hit the BES connector docs.

    Wish me luck

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