Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Blackberry Newbie

I wasn't terribly excited about the prospect of getting a Blackberry server especially at this technically "crowded" time of my life but now I'm fairly convinced about the technology.

Before I join the converted and start spouting the virtues of the blackberry system, I first want to go over some of the bad bits - chances are I'm not likely to look back at them.

The Bad Bits
The Telstra people who sold us the system told us that you could use any pc running the Lotus Notes Client - this is wrong... Beware: The Blackberry Enterprise Server is expensive, though not necessarily in terms of the Blackberry software.

In order to run Blackberry Enterprise Server (for Notes/Domino) you will need;

  • A reasonably powerful PC or Server, they recommended 4GHz but realistically it can be a little lower in spec.

  • Lotus Domino Enterprise server - yup - now that is a serious extra expense if you don't want it running on your production server

  • A fair amount of hard drive space. The C: Drive on our domino server is tight because the Windows updates have resulted in Win2003 server bloating to over 3 times it's original size - even if you install Blackberry on a different drive letter, it still takes up a lot of system drive space with its DLLs

  • A Decent internet connection - most systems will already have this.

  • Access to unblock ports on your firewall - there's a bit of configuration involved.

  • A good backup/DRP strategy - because putting Blackberry on our main domino server pretty much invalidated ours (ie: the multi-platform ease of moving Domino from one piece of hardware to another disappears once you start dumping DLLs everywhere and modifying registry settings.

I must say though, once the blackberry server is setup and working, the devices work really well. I've been accessing my Notes Email and Notes calendar via the device.

I've also installed Gmail and Google Talk on the device and am currently looking at a remote desktop product. I'll let you know as more happens.

1 comment:

Kevin Pettitt said...

Gavin, interesting article overall, but what caught my eye was your mention of the disk space bloat relating to Windows OS updates. I wrote a piece a few months ago which mentioned a tool for removing all those old hotfixes and updates from Windows XP:

I suspect the XP tool will work on Windows 2003 server just fine, but you may want to investigate a little more to see if there is a more targeted version. My insomnia is wearing off or I would go looking for it myself :-).