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Old 07-17-2006, 02:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Wireless Calendar HELL! You will wannna read this!

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Well with no thanks to RIM, the magic disappearing Wireless Calendar Sync issues has been solved.

Even if you don't have this problem now, you very well may, so you might want to read this whole post to make sure you don't fall into the trap of reading RIM's documentation!

THERE IS NO FIX ONCE THIS PROBLEM STRIKES YOU, SO BEWARE! (If there is, please enlighten me!)

Back about 2 months ago, when me and my department were having problems with our existing BES hardware, we decided to replace it with new hardware and so began the hellish process.

I won't give you the whole background but basically, after attempting an install of the new hardware, we were unable to get BES going and reverted to the old system and back to the drawing board. On the following Monday, one of our helpdesk staff alerted us that none of the calendars (150+) in our companies blackberries were set to wirelessly sync anymore. Baffled, we started looking for reasons, posting everywhere, seeing if anyone else had experienced the same problem. Low and behold, a single admin posted a reply saying the exact same thing had happened to him (280+ BB's) and had to go through the painful process of manually re-enabling the option on every blackberry (as there is no option to do this through IT policy).

We decided that the only thing in common between our situations was that the BES server was unavailable for about an hour (during the upgrade), and perhaps that is what caused the problem.

We with that in mind, I decided to try a BES Hardware Migration again. This time, making doubly sure that I don't leave the services off for more than 5 minutes. To do this, I decided to create a standby server from the new hardware, as per RIM's wonderful instructions, and bring it live beside the existing BES without the services running.

Here is where RIM drops the ball.

Following the instructions CLEARLY laid out on page 38 of RIM's Wonderful MAINTAINENCE GUIDE, I began the process of bringing the server up. The entire server was created and was awaiting the databases to be recovered into it.

So, I recover the CONFIGURATION DATABASE [blackberrydbrestore.exe] (Step 2), onto the new hardware, and then restore the USER DATABASE [blackberrybackup.exe] (Step 3) on the new hardware. Keep in mind, ALL OF THE SERVICES ARE OFF ON THE NEW HARDWARE!. Once the databases are recovered, WHAMO! All of the wireless calendars in my organization turn off about 10 minutes later.

Explain that?!

So, now that all of the bloody calendars are off again, I figure now is the time to test this stupid problem. So I tell a few of my admins to re-enable their wireless calendars. Now I have 5 or so users with Wireless Cal Sync enabled and I revert back to the pre-database recovery state. I restore the databases again, as per RIM's docs, and again, the sync turns off. So now I am pissed. Is there no way to bring a standby server online without screwing up the wireless cal sync? I decide I am going to do it my way. I revert the server back to the pre-database recovery state, and I recover the databases backwards on nothing more than a hunch. I start with the USER DATABASE [blackberrybackup.exe] and then the CONFIGURATION DATABASE [blackberrydbrestore.exe]... and guess what... THE WIRELESS CAL SYNC STAYED ON. FOREVER.

Ok, so here is my problem. How in the hell does a server WITHOUT the services running, mange to tell every Blackberry in your organization to shut off the wireless calendar sync? Sounds like shady software to me. And in case you think this may be a fluke, we tested this over the course of 3 days, with 10+ recoveries. Tried it with dud SRP identifiers, with the actual SRP (even though it shouldn't matter, as the services are off). You name it, we tried it. If those databases got recovered in the order RIM says to do it, it happens. It is not a fluke.

Oh yeah, if you recover the USER DB, then the CONFIG DB, then recover the USER DB again for any reason, the wireless cal sync shuts off.

SO, if you are ever planning on putting redundancy in place to prevent things like this from happening, please realize that doing so may actually make the disaster happen.

You think RIM would add the ENABLE WIRELESS CALENDAR SYNC option to the IT Policy already.

I hope this helps you because it has been a rough couple of months for me!